With the Buffalo Bills magical season coming to the end, the AFC Divisional round is officially set. The Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers and the Patriots will take on the Titans in a rare matchup between the two. In the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era in Foxboro, the Patriots have a 6-1 record against the Titans. All six wins have come in the previous six matchups between the two teams.
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In particular, Brady has had a ton of success against the Titans. For his career, Brady has a 5-1 record against the Titans. He has thrown for 1,460 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. In a 2009 regular season game, Brady tossed five touchdowns in the second quarter in a 59-0 drubbing of the Titans in snowy Foxboro. In that game, Brady threw six touchdowns and only had five incompletes.
The two teams last met in Week 15 of the 2015 season. The Patriots, behind 267 yards and two touchdowns from Brady, rolled to a 33-16 victory over Zach Mettenberger and the Titans to move to 12-2. It would be their last win of the regular season.
The last time they met in the playoffs was in 2004 when Co-MVP, Steve McNair, led the Titans into frigid Gillette Stadium. The official game temperature was four degrees with a windchill of -10 for the divisional round matchup. The Patriots outlasted the Titans, 17-14, behind a game-winning kick in the closing minutes from Adam Vinatieri. The Patriots would go on to win their second Super Bowl in the three seasons just a few weeks later.
What To Watch For
The Patriots should and will be heavily favored in this matchup. Having lost three of their last four to close out the regular season, the Titans were the consensus “worst” team in the playoffs. With that said, they have now rattled off back-to-back wins against the Jaguars and Chiefs. But facing the Patriots is a whole different story.
The tone of the Chiefs game changed drastically when Travis Kelce left the game with a concussion. At the time of the injury, the Chiefs were rolling and looked to be cruising towards a rematch with the Patriots. Now, the Titans will have to find a way to slow down the best tight end in football, Rob Gronkowski. Former Patriot, Logan Ryan, could see a lot of Gronkowski on Saturday with help from the safeties.
For the Patriots, they must find a way to keep Marcus Mariota from scrambling outside the pocket. All season, mobile quarterbacks have had their way with the Patriots defense. Especially considering their biggest weakness on defense is containing the edge. Whether that be keeping a mobile quarterback in the pocket or preventing a running back from reaching open space on the edge.
The two teams square off on Saturday, January, 13th at 8:15 pm.