Here’s your first Patriots-Titans preview as Tennessee looks to stop an ugly losing streak against New England. The Pats aren’t just big favorites in Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff; they’ve owned this team for most of the Tom Brady era.
Brady and Belichick are 6-1 against the Titans since 2002, including a playoff win in the 2003 AFC Divisional round. Since beating the Patriots 24-7 in 2002, the Titans have lost six straight by a combined score of 221-96. As head coach of the Bills, Jaguars, and Titans, Mike Mularkey is a combined 0-6 against Bill Belichick since 2004.
However, the one big difference in all this is Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who gets his first career start against the Patriots. The Titans went 3-4 on the road in 2017. They also enter relatively uncharted territory with cold temperatures expected in Foxboro on Saturday.
Patriots-Titans: How’s The Weather?
Weather.com as of Monday morning has the high temp at 33 degrees on Saturday, which isn’t terrible. But it may not be ideal for Mariota, who’s used to playing in Tennessee. The one cold-weather game that really stands out in Mariota’s young career is last December’s game in Kansas City, which featured a game-time temperature of one whole degree.
In that game, Mariota went 19-for-33 passing for 241 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. That’s good for a passer rating of 67.9. He played much better in Week 17 of this season against the Jaguars at home, however, going 12-for-21 for 134 yards, 1 touchdown, and no picks. That’s a nicer-looking 92.2 passer rating.
Patriots-Titans: What to expect from the QBs?
So, the hope for the Titans is that they get their best QB performance in years against the Patriots when Mariota takes the field at Gillette Stadium. They also need to hope that Brady struggles similarly to how he played in last season’s AFC Divisional Playoff against the Texans. But even with Brady putting forth a below-average effort by his standards, the Pats still won that game 34-16 anyway.
On the other hand, Brady would also be reversing a huge trend if he didn’t play well on Saturday. In his last three games against the Titans, he’s gone 75-for-100 passing for 883 yards, 10 touchdowns, and no interceptions. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a decent 134.7 passer rating.
In any event, we’ll be sure to keep previewing this game all week on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Just because the Patriots are favored by at least 13.5 points (and as much as 14.5) doesn’t mean the game should be ignored. It’s the playoffs, after all.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.
Note: This was updated to reflect accurate dates for the Patriots’ AFC Divisional Playoff. The game will be played on Saturday, Jan. 13.