The Tennessee Titans head to New England this weekend for a Divisional round playoff matchup, and before they are off the plane, people are already discounting them. Reports of the game being a big blowout, and it being pointless for Tennessee to turn up are well off the mark here, discount the Titans at your peril.
What we saw last weekend from the Titans was a poor first half performance, where they were punished for the mistakes they made, before a second-half performance full of character. Their performance showed that they will not lie down and be beaten by teams, with their quarterback Marcus Mariota being the centre of their resurgence. You could say their performance was almost New England like in the style, which it came about, whatever you want to call it, one thing it certainly was is impressive.
Of course, while the Titans were slugging away in Kansas City last Saturday, the New England Patriots were given a bye into this round. The Patriots are real playoff veterans and they know what it takes to win and control games at this time of year. The Titans have none of that available to them, only what they did last weekend. That, of course, gives the Patriots the edge, and another edge they have is home field advantage, but the victory margin is not going to be the 20+ blowout that many are predicting to happen.
We saw last weekend that when the Titans defence gets going they have the ability to stop players, they limited Kansas City to zero points in the second half of last weekend’s game. They started poorly in all departments, but that can be put down to nerves and their first playoff appearance for a while. From the second quarter onwards, the Titans won that game 22-7, stopping a very talented Kansas City attack.
While the Patriots and the trip to New England will test the Titans, even more, they have nothing to lose here and they can play without any fear. People are expecting to see them roll over but that is not going to happen. The Patriots should win this one, and eventually, I think they will, although the margin is going to be small and this Titans team is going to push them all the way under the guidance of rising star Marcus Mariota.