The Tennessee Titans (6) and the New England Patriots (3) clash at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night for the second of four wildcard playoff games.
Dear the Tennessee Titans, with the wildcard matchup against the New England Patriots on the horizon (Saturday 8.15 pm ET) myself and a few friends (When I say a few friends I mean the entire landscape of pigskin connoisseurs around the globe) require what you might consider small favour. A victory over the Patriots in Foxboro.
I’m fully aware of the apology owed to you as I aired on the side of caution when asking in one of my articles if the Tennessee Titans were in deed ’contenders or pretenders’. For that, I’m truly sorry and as bitter Jets fan I know I resent others pigskin elation, but the time has come to stop the confetti-filled Patriot joy that haunts the other 31 teams during that first Sunday in February.
”Why you, the Titans?” I hear you say, to me the answer is simple. Should the Patriots overcome their mercurial offense, by dissecting (be nice here) a mediocre secondary (24th overall) that’s been held to ransom due to the lack of pass rush and put the game to bed by the half? Only to be slain by a superior opponent on the road the following week.
The resulting demise would leave us all exasperated via an onslaught of clickbait articles speculating what the Patriots would have done if ’Gronk’ hadn’t retired and so forth. In short the lowest-seeded team needs to set in motion the destruction of the infallible Patriots, which it turn would provide those who’ve endured another year of abject misery that one moment of unbridled joy and elation.
Tennessee need to get the lead early
Granted the same could happen following a defeat by a Tennessee team that’s averaging 31.4 points a game under the stewardship of Ryan Tannehill. The former Miami Dolphins signal caller has been in inspiring form (2742 yards, 22 touchdowns, 70.3% completion rate). But will it be enough to dethrone the Patriots or will the 31-year-old need to conjur up a Titans version of the ’Miracle in Miami? Will the once unpenetrable defense contain the likes of Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown?
A solid argument could be made that DPOY contender Stephon Gilmore will limit the impact of wideout A.J. Brown. The 22-year-old rookie has gone over 100 yards receiving during four of his last six games along with five touchdowns, but faces a stern test against second ranked pass defense. Browns dominance down the stretch could propell the Ole Miss product to the forefront of the discussion for offensive rookie of the year, much to the dismay of Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs.
There is also a silver lining for the sixth overall run defense of the Patriots as the Titans quest to ensure Derrick Henry finished as the 2019 rushing champion could prove to be an oversight resulting in catastrophic repercussions. The Titans unleashed Henry for 211 yards and three touchdowns off a season-high 32 carries a week after the 6ft 3” 247lb back sat out the Saints game with a hamstring injury.
With a downturn in play from the usually reliable Taylor Lewan, the Titans offensive line has struggled throughout the regular season and I fully expect Bill Belichick to formulate an ingenious package of plays designed to expose those frailties. Fronted by the unrelenting presence of Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins along with a generous dose of Chase Winovich in a bid to disrupt the rhythm of Tannehill and the Titans offense.
I’m not sure I can face another Monday awash with highlights of Tom Brady once again defying the aging process as he hits Julian Edelman across the middle for the twelfth time en route to yet another record setting postseason for ther 33-year-old. Better still, I don’t need to relive the moments of a seldom used running back gliding through Titans run defense that surrenders an average of 104 yards per game.
Or even more inexplicable are the tweets smiting the Patriots for trading for Mahammed Sanu rather than Emanuel Sanders, now rehashed with a variety of captions and images depicting Sanu putting the former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan out to pasture as the nations begrudgingly look on.
So please Tennessee, if it’s not too much trouble bring some joy into the New Year.
Regards the rest of the NFL.