Week 10 Preview: New England at Tennesseeby John O'Callaghan November 11, 2018 0 comments
If you take a quick glance at the Tennessee Titans, there will be a lot of familiar faces.
Head coach Mike Vrabel won three Super Bowls with the team in the early 2000’s, while cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler, as well as running back Dion Lewis have captured rings with the team as well.
If that wasn’t enough, Titans General Manager Jon Robinson used to be the head of college scouting for the Patriots.
Will all this lead to the Titans having an upper hand on the Patriots? Probably not.
Despite giving up the fewest points in the NFL at a clip of 17.6 a game, there is one area that the Patriots could look to exploit.
Butler, who has been less than stellar in his first season down south, seems to keep biting on double moves and struggles with bigger receivers. The Titans will most likely have Ryan on Josh Gordon, so it could leave Butler to have the tough task of dealing with Julian Edelman in the slot and outside at times.
Look for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to draw up some hitch-and-go’s/stop-and-starts to try and keep the aggressive corner off balance.
You also have to wonder where Butler’s head will be, as he will undoubtedly be thinking about how he was benched by head coach Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl last year, as many believe the Patriots would have won if he played.
One name to keep an eye on for the Titans’ defense is lineman Jurrell Casey, as he can cause some disruption in between the trenches.
The Patriots offense will receive a boost of sorts as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that rookie running back Sony Michel is expected to play after missing the last two games with a knee injury. This lessens the load for James White, who is more of a pass-catching back than a pure backfield runner. It also decreases the experiment the Patriots implemented in putting Cordarelle Patterson in the backfield. While it was effective, it is tough to get the image of him running straight up in between the tackles.
Meanwhile, the Patriots defense should key in on Lewis, who will be used a lot in the backfield as well as dump offs to the flat. The Titans do not have a lot of firepower on offense, as first-year wide out Corey Davis has not come as advertised so far, as well as the always reliable tight end Delanie Walker being sidelined for the entire season due to a broken ankle.
The one aspect of Marcus Mariota that can cause some trouble for the Patriots is his mobility. It has been a thorn in the side of the Patriots defense so far this season, as evidenced by Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky, as he scampered for 81 yards. New England did a nice job of limiting Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in the pocket last week (eight yards on four rushing attempts) and will look to follow up with a similar outcome today.
Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable with a back injury, but it seems like he will likely not be able to suit up. With the team entering the bye week after the game, it makes sense to give him the extra rest against an opponent that the Patriots should beat.
Even though the contest is on the road, there will be plenty of Patriots fans in the crowd, so if the score gets out of hand, you will most certainly hear cheering from the stands, as it was reported earlier in the week that airlines in the Boston area had to add as many as eight extra flights to accommodate all the fans that made the trek to Nashville.