If I told you at the end of Week 6 that the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans would be facing off in a 2020 AFC Wild Card game, would you have believed me? The Titans were 2-4, having been shut out by the Denver Broncos, and relying on Ryan Tannehill to save their season. Meanwhile, the Patriots were 6-0 having scored 30 or more points and winning by double digits in five of the six games. However, 11 weeks later and both teams appear to be on different trajectories. The Patriots finished the season 2-3 in the last five weeks, while the Titans won five of their last seven games. That being said, this is playoff football in Foxborough, and that changes a lot, which should make for an intriguing matchup this weekend. Let’s take a look at where we can find value in this Titans vs Patriots clash.
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Time: 8:15 pm EST
Spread: Patriots -5
This game has seen the Titans getting five points for the majority of the week. If you were lucky you may have found the Patriots -4.5 or even laying four points in a couple of places during the week. In terms of the total, we have seen a shift up to 44.5 in the last day or so, thanks to nearly 80% of the money coming in on the over so far.
Bet predictions from Ben Rolfe
As a Patriots fan this game makes me nervous. Derrick Henry is a monster right now and can wear down even the best defenses. Equally, we just witnessed the Dolphins pulling apart the Patriots defense with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The way Ryan Tannehill has been playing at times this season, I could see him putting together something similar this week. However, with all of the stats surrounding Tannehill in Foxborough and first-time quarterbacks in the playoffs, I am not going to back the Titans here.
Instead, I am going to look towards prop bets in this game, as a couple have caught my eye. Henry to have over 90 yards is too much, but on the other side of the ball you can find Sony Michel at 62.5 yards for -112. Here are the stat lines for Michel rushing the ball over the last three weeks of the season; 19 for 89, 21 for 96, and 18 for 74 with a touchdown. That is an average of 19.3 carries per game, with an average of 4.47 yards per carry. The Patriots marched to the Super Bowl last season by leaning on Michel, and I believe we see him get close to that 20 carry mark once again. If he averages just three yards per carry he will almost hit this line, so I am going to put a unit on him to do it.
In terms of potential touchdown scorers, there is one name that stands out immediately to me. Jonnu Smith has made some fantastic plays this season, and the Patriots have shown some recent vulnerability to the tight end position. Patrick Chung is the player that covers tight ends and he has not been as effective since his injury earlier this season. He allowed Mike Gesicki to score the winning touchdown last week and gave up a deep bomb to Dawson Knox against the Bills, which was nearly a touchdown. Smith is as talented as either of those and should have a great chance to find the end zone this week.
As a final outside play, I am going to look towards Ryan Tannehill, who has four rushing touchdowns this season. The Patriots are going to have to focus all their attention on Henry near the goal line and I can see Tannehill sneaking out for a rushing touchdown, or going in on a scramble type play in the red zone. At +700, those odds are just too good not to have a little action.
1u – Sony Michel Over 62.5 rushing yards | -112
1u – Jonnu Smith Anytime Touchdown | +350
0.25u – Ryan Tannehill Anytime Touchdown | +700
Bet predictions from Ryan Gosling
Saturday night we will get our second game of the Wild Card Weekend when the Tennessee Titans travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. New England is currently laying 4.5 points at home. If this game were held on a random week in the middle of the regular season, I’d probably like the Titans. But how can you fade the Patriots in Foxborough in January?
Realistically, I want the Patriots to lose. The Titans have a fun story with an unexpected run to get them into the playoffs. The resurgence of Ryan Tannehill has also been something enjoyable to watch. The Patriots on the other hand look like father time is finally catching up to them. Brady looks old, and Belichick seems to have been figured out: he has been beaten multiple times this year by former coaches on his staff. But again, how many times have we counted New England out before they go on a run and win a Super Bowl?
As great as the Titans offense has looked after their QB change, they haven’t really played any challenging opponents on the road (Panthers, Colts, Raiders, Texans backups). Now they will be going up against one of the toughest home teams around. Belichick knows how to maximize his team’s talents. He sees that his passing game is struggling, which is why four of their last five games they have had their best rushing games of the year. He will lean on the run, take away Derrick Henry and expect Tannehill to beat them. As much as the Pats struggle against mobile quarterbacks, that trend might be voided by the fact that this is Tannehill’s first playoff appearance. It is well known that first-time playoff quarterbacks do not have very good track records.
It pains me to say this, but I lean with the Patriots. It is not enough for me to make an official play, but the warning signs point to an easy Pats victory.
Bet predictions from Jason Sarney
The Saturday evening matchup is a doozy of a storyline. The Titans are the hotter team entering the game, but Ryan Tannehill has never won in New England. Sure, his overall record against the Patriots at first glance makes him seem like a Brady-slayer, but heading into New England with an 0-7 record there is less than ideal. Tannehill has been playing lights out this season, but no matter how well he has been performing, the factors, such as home field, Bill Belichick, and the cold will mean he is likely going to make it 0-8. I do believe the Titans can keep this painfully close, so a cover is in the cards for what has the potential to be a wild game.
1u – Tennessee Titans +5 | -105
1u – Over 44.5 Total Points | -110
Bet predictions from Chris Smith
Not many opportunities to grab the mighty Patriots in Foxborough while fading the public dog at the same time. And yet, here we are with New England currently giving around 4.5 points (I grabbed NE -4) at home to the Tennessee Titans in primetime Saturday Night. I generally like to reference a quick checklist when betting on NFL playoff games. The checklist includes which team has the better coach, quarterback, defense and home-field advantage. Say what you want about the renaissance season Ryan Tannehill has had, he’s still 0-6 lifetime in Foxborough.
On the coaching front, Belichick has a tendency to humble his former assistants, last weekend notwithstanding. And while this season has seen a major tipping point in terms of home-field advantage not meaning nearly as much as ever before, this is still Foxborough on a Saturday Night in January. Joe Public is all over the Titans getting more than a field goal in this game, but I love the Patriots in a buy-low spot here.
1.5u – Patriots -4 | -125
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