The Tennessee Titans (4-4) are coming off of a big win on Monday Night Football against the Cowboys. Their opponent, the New England Patriots, is coming off of a big win on Sunday Night Football against the Packers. This game includes many major storylines including many former Patriots playing against their former team, a rematch of a playoff game last year, and a coaching matchup including Bill Belichick’s former player Mike Vrabel. This is one of the bigger games in Nashville in a while, and could make a big difference in the Titan’s playoff hopes.
Time: 1:00 pm ET
Place: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: CBS, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts
Offensive Player to Watch: WR Corey Davis
There was a lot of noise surrounding the former fifth overall pick after his big game against Philadelphia. His game-winning touchdown and stat-line were everywhere as people expected his breakout game. Since Week 4, Davis has accounted for just 14 catches 139 yards and no touchdowns. The Titans are hurting at wide receiver and they need their top target to step up in this big game. Marcus Mariota could be down another target in Taywan Taylor this week, hurting an already depleted receiving corps. Davis and teammate Tajae Sharpe will both need to produce and help Mariota move the chains to knock off the defending AFC champs.
Defensive Player to Watch: CB Malcolm Butler
Heading into the season, everyone circled this game on the calendar for Butler. After being benched in the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia, he took off for Nashville where he felt wanted. However, his revenge game has lost its glamour as Butler has been the worst statistical corner in football. Now, instead of Titans fans hoping he will make game-changing plays against New England, they are hoping he doesn’t get burnt for another touchdown. The Titans are paying Butler a lot of money, and he needs to start to prove himself. There is no better opportunity than Sunday against his former team. Butler will be fired up to play against the Patriots, and will be looking to prove his worth.
Matchup to Watch: Titans Pass Rush v. Tom Brady
The best way to make a great quarterback struggle is to get pressure. The Titans were able to do that Monday night against Dallas. Harold Landry, Brian Orakpo, and Jayon Brown all made big plays rushing the passer and made Dak Prescott far less effective. Obviously Brady is not Prescott and if the Titans blitz too much, he can pick them apart. It will be crucial for the Titans to get pressure only rushing four. If Landry and Orakpo can cause havoc on the edges with Jurrell Casey collapsing the pocket up the middle, the Titans could rattle Brady. That may be the only way this team pulls off a big win at home.
The Titans have some momentum after playing their most complete game of the season last week. They will be looking to prove themselves as a legit contender and plant themselves firmly in the divisional race. Tennessee will have many reasons to be extra fired-up for this game, while the Patriots have won six in a row and are comfortably in the lead in their division. Obviously every game is important, but the Titans are more desperate and I believe at home, the Titans can pull of the upset.
Titans 24 Patriots 23