Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots: Ryan Tannehill leads Titans into Foxborough for Wildcard match-up
Ryan Tannehill has guided the Tennessee Titans to the Playoffs (Photo: Frederick Breedon)

The Tennessee Titans are going into the Playoffs full of confidence after a strong second half to the regular season and are looking to upset the New England Patriots in Foxborough. 

Ryan Tannehill took over as the Titans starting quarterback in Week 7 and led them to a 7-3 record, clinching a wildcard spot after winning five of their final seven games. 

Meanwhile, the Patriots missed out on the No 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye for the first time since 2009 after a surprise 27-24 defeat at home to the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. 

The Titans and the Patriots last faced in the 2018 regular season and Tennessee won 34-10. Mike Vrabel is leading his team into his old stomping ground and will be aiming to get one over on his former side.

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Titans Looking to Cause Upset on Road in Foxborough

Tennessee’s fortunes turned right around when they made Tannehill their starter. Under Marcus Mariota, the team were made a 2-4 to start the season and were struggling. 

Tannehill guided the Titans to a 9-7 finish, one game behind the Houston Texans, and clinched a wildcard spot for just the second time since 2008. The quarterback has throws 22 touchdown passes and six interceptions and has a 117.5 passer rating in 2019. 

Rookie A.J. Brown has caught 52 passes for 1,051-yards and eight touchdowns, while the receiver has also averaged over 100-yards and a touchdown in his last six games. 

Not only have the Titans got threats out wide, but on the ground, they have Derrick Henry, who leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,540), rushing touchdowns (16) and rushing attempts (303) this season. 

The Titans beat the Texans 35-14 in Week 17. Henry was relentless in the game, recording 211-yards on the ground and three touchdowns from 32 carries. 

Tennessee have limited teams to under 21 points per game, which is the 12th-best in the league, however, their red zone defense is ranked 31st in the league. 

Since Week 9, the Titans have scored under 24 points just once, while their wildcard opponents, the Patriots, have scored more than 24 on one occasion in that same spell.

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Patriots Playing in First Wildcard Game Since 2009

Unlike the Titans, New England’s offense have struggled to get any sort of form going in the second half of the season and finished the back half of the regular season by going 4-4. 

Their defeat against the Dolphins was costly as the Patriots will now have to play in the Wildcard round of the Playoffs for the first time since 2009. 

The Pats, who have a 9-0 home Playoff record since 2013, finished 12-4 on the season and won the AFC East, but will have to do things the hard way if they’re going to go all the way to the Super Bowl again. 

New England’s defense, passing and rushing, have been in the top 10 throughout the regular season and is one of the main reasons they’re in the Playoffs.  

They’re tied-7th in sacks and 8th in pressure, while the Titans pass protection has been a problem as they’ve allowed 56 sacks this season (30th in the NFL). 

Everything this defense done right through the first 15 games seemed to go out the window against the Dolphins. The Pats gave up 320 passing yards, didn’t force a turnover and allowed a game-winning drive for Miami. 

Tom Brady and the offense have also struggled in the red zone in 2019 (ranked 26th in the NFL). The quarterback has targeted Julian Edelman, who had 1,117-yards in the regular season, the most, followed by running-back James White.

The road to the Super Bowl starts on Saturday. There will be twists, turns and plenty of surprises. Playoff football is always unpredictable and the Patriots have to be respected as they always seem to come good when it matters the most.