Patriots vs. Titans Divisional Playoff: The Buildup

Dr. Gonzo

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Is an injury report released tomorrow due to the game being played on Saturday?
 

Bowhemian

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Pats will need to contain the Titans running game, which has not been the strong point of the Pats D. Henry running the ball, and Mariotta scrambling frightens me a little bit. But if-IF- they are able to take that away and put the ball in Mariotta's throwing hand, the Pats should be in pretty good shape.
 

bakahump

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LOVE everything about that, especially that it's a photo of him handing the ball off. Even when he's telling the world he is the storm, he's stressing that he's one part of the machine.
Not Belting the Ball. WNB.
 

Stitch01

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Pats will need to contain the Titans running game, which has not been the strong point of the Pats D. Henry running the ball, and Mariotta scrambling frightens me a little bit. But if-IF- they are able to take that away and put the ball in Mariotta's throwing hand, the Pats should be in pretty good shape.
Hard to win a game by running the ball 30 times when your defense gives up something like 5 TDs and 3 FG in 10 drives and that's what's going to happen to a terrible Titans defense Sunday.

Any given Sunday and everything, but this is basically a scrimmage before the real playoffs start next week.
 

Dr. Gonzo

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Thanks

I am nervous that I'm not nervous about this game.
Agreed

The only thing that worries me is that Tennessee can limit possessions by going on long drives by successfully running the ball and eating clock. DVOA puts them at #8 for rushing efficiency, Pats are #30 at defending the run, and that is with the shell of DeMarco Murray being the lead back for much of the year.

Pats just need to jump ahead early and the game is over. Tennessee is not very good against the pass, #24 per DVOA, therefore the Pats should be able to move the ball. I don't see the game going the way the KC game went last week if the Pats get up big.
 

dynomite

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So bizarre what people fixate on. That was probably not one of the 10 most impactful plays in that game.
But it woke up the Eaglez!

Anyway, agreed. The Eagles recovered that kick at their 41 — it only gave them an extra 20ish yards of field position. (The touchback rule didn’t change to the 25-yard line until the start of the ‘16 season, right?)

I mean, they lost to the 6-10 Dolphins less than a month ago. And yeah, Gronk was out for that game, but if he pulls a hammy in the first quarter it's not the most unlikely thing in the world. Upsets happen, even to really good teams. They probably win this game 80-85% of the time, but that still leaves 15-20%.
An early Gronk injury — just go right ahead and identify my nightmare.
 

Sportsbstn

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Usual disclaimer about the volatility of the NE climate, and we're still 4 days out, but it looks like the rain is scheduled to taper off in the evening.
Rain isn’t the big concern as wind is. Titans don’t have a good passing game while the Patriots have a great one with their weapons back on the field
 

bradmahn

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This is a spot where Dion and Rex will make hay. The Titans have a good run defense but are 32nd in DVOA against RBs in the passing game (and 24th against TEs). Having dual threat running backs is going to force the Titans to lighten up their defensive front and allow the Patriots to get some movement in the running game.
 

bagwell1

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Rain isn’t the big concern as wind is. Titans don’t have a good passing game while the Patriots have a great one with their weapons back on the field
To me a wet ball just increases the possibility of unusual things happening which to me is the only way the Titans have a prayer.

And the wind potentially blowing Marriota's inaccurate passes back on course is another variable I don't like.
 

BigSoxFan

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We are going to shut down Henry like the old Pats teams used to shut down Bettis.
 

RedOctober3829

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Patriots injury report

DNP-Gillislee(knee)
LP-Branch(knee), Burkhead(knee), Hogan(shoulder, Lee(ankle/finger), KVN(calf), White(ankle)

Titans injury report
DNP-DeMarco Murray(knee), Logan Ryan(ankle), Quinton Spain(back)
 

edmunddantes

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Is Mitchell not on the report because he’s not active yet? Isn’t he due to be activated soon or he isn’t coming back?
 

pokey_reese

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Interesting that Logan Ryan DNP
I have to assume that they are just letting him rest up, since he looked ok agains the Chiefs late in the game, and I would expect him to be their primary Gronk defender on Saturday. Worth keeping an eye on though, it would be a real blow to him if he couldn't go.
 

Ed Hillel

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really. I’ve also done the rain and wind worry thing a million times and can’t think of a time it really hurt them. It rained against Pitt last year and the Colts in 2014–15, and those were epic asskickings.
 

CantKeepmedown

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I have to assume that they are just letting him rest up, since he looked ok agains the Chiefs late in the game, and I would expect him to be their primary Gronk defender on Saturday. Worth keeping an eye on though, it would be a real blow to him if he couldn't go.
For those more knowledgeable about the game, and of course being able to see what he was capable of when he played here, is Ryan someone that has the skills and ability to limit Gronk? Maybe not in an Eric Berry type of way, but someone that can pose a problem?
 

snowmanny

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really. I’ve also done the rain and wind worry thing a million times and can’t think of a time it really hurt them. It rained against Pitt last year and the Colts in 2014–15, and those were epic asskickings.
Yeah the only weather game that maybe worked against the Pats that I could think of was the snowy regular season Broncos game in 2015. But I don't remember if the weather was really that much of an issue for them - did the weather contribute to the muffed punt?
 

BigSoxFan

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really. I’ve also done the rain and wind worry thing a million times and can’t think of a time it really hurt them. It rained against Pitt last year and the Colts in 2014–15, and those were epic asskickings.
Tebow Broncos?
 

Super Nomario

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really. I’ve also done the rain and wind worry thing a million times and can’t think of a time it really hurt them. It rained against Pitt last year and the Colts in 2014–15, and those were epic asskickings.
Are they even worse than the Texans last year (who also had a 9-7 record and an even worse point differential)?
 

RIrooter09

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really. I’ve also done the rain and wind worry thing a million times and can’t think of a time it really hurt them. It rained against Pitt last year and the Colts in 2014–15, and those were epic asskickings.
Last year's Houston team was the worst they've faced in the playoffs (according to DVOA). Tebow led Broncos were also worse.
 

dynomite

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I was looking back throughout the years, and I think the Titans are the worst team the Patriots have played in the playoffs since Brady and Belichick started. I’m not sure there’s anyone all that close, really.
I know it’s easy to forget this game, but in 2011 the Pats drew the Tebow-led Broncos in the Divisional Round. The 2011 Broncos went 8-8 and finished the season ranked 24th in team DVOA. Pats were up 35-7 at halftime before easing up and coasting to a 45-10 win.

That’s my pick for worst team we’ve played and, I would argue, one of the worst teams to ever make the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

 

Byrdbrain

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For those more knowledgeable about the game, and of course being able to see what he was capable of when he played here, is Ryan someone that has the skills and ability to limit Gronk? Maybe not in an Eric Berry type of way, but someone that can pose a problem?
I certainly don't recall him doing anything like that when he was here. He is officially 5'11" 191 lbs so I can't see how he could do it.

Edit: I was surprised when I looked that Eric Berry was just 6'1" 210, I thought he was taller than that.
 
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Stitch01

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Yeah Texans last year were worse. Tebow Broncos probably, but this Pats team is a little better than the ‘11 team. Fuck the football gods, its the lol Titans
 
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Ed Hillel

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Are they even worse than the Texans last year (who also had a 9-7 record and an even worse point differential)?
This is the other team I considered. I think they are close, but Houston had a DL capable in theory of changing a game, so I gave them the nod.

Tebow Broncos appears to be the one team I just missed. They were worse, so I guess I would have the Titans second worst.
 

streeter88

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Yeah Texans last year were worse. Tebow Broncos probably, but this Pats team is a little better than the ‘11 team. Fuck the football guards, its the lol Titans
Really? Lots of weapons on that 2011 team, both offensively and defensively. Crazy to see Hernandez executing running plays, and Gronk as the 2nd tight end. Plus Welker vs no Edelman.

Maybe hindsight is glossing over the 2011 injuries, but this year's team seems still to be recovering from some significant injuries as well. Titans seem pretty healthy in contrast with the exception of Murray out.
 

pokey_reese

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I certainly don't recall him doing anything like that when he was here. He is officially 5'11" 191 lbs so I can't see how he could do it.

Edit: I was surprised when I looked that Eric Berry was just 6'1" 210, I thought he was taller than that.
Chung is 5'11" as well. Rodney Harrison is 6'1" and DMC is 5'10", Tyrann Mathieu is 5'9", Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Vaccaro are 6' even, Earl Thomas is 5'10" and Kam Chancellor is probably the biggest safety at 6'3". The best cover safeties aren't necessarily huge dudes (Kam is the exception), they just look extra small next to Gronk.
 

rodderick

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Really? Lots of weapons on that 2011 team, both offensively and defensively. Crazy to see Hernandez executing running plays, and Gronk as the 2nd tight end. Plus Welker vs no Edelman.

Maybe hindsight is glossing over the 2011 injuries, but this year's team seems still to be recovering from some significant injuries as well. Titans seem pretty healthy in contrast with the exception of Murray out.
Take a look at the 2011 Patriots defensive backfield in the playoffs and get back to me with that comparison.
 
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I know it’s easy to forget this game, but in 2011 the Pats drew the Tebow-led Broncos in the Divisional Round. The 2011 Broncos went 8-8 and finished the season ranked 24th in team DVOA. Pats were up 35-7 at halftime before easing up and coasting to a 45-10 win.

That’s my pick for worst team we’ve played and, I would argue, one of the worst teams to ever make the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

That highlights package...

Brady with 6 TDs, all of them by EARLY in the 3rd quarter.

"Jimmy Graham the NFL's best tight end," but this gronkowski guy is pretty good too. And one of them keeps saying PLEASE COVER THIS GUY while Gronk makes catches with players hanging all over him.

Aaron Hernandez...why'd you have to up and go be so homocidal?
 

staz

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The cradle of the game.
My paranoia has evolved to the point that I’m worried this game will be so easy, they will go soft and not be ready for a far superior Pittsburgh team. Having to work at it Saturday, even if just during the first half, wouldn’t be the worst thing.
 

dcmissle

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My paranoia has evolved to the point that I’m worried this game will be so easy, they will go soft and not be ready for a far superior Pittsburgh team. Having to work at it Saturday, even if just during the first half, wouldn’t be the worst thing.
They are a prohibitive favorites — 85% according to PFF and 538 ELO. The Steelers also are prohibitive favorites (70 and 76%). It goes without saying that both teams have to work.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I know it’s easy to forget this game, but in 2011 the Pats drew the Tebow-led Broncos in the Divisional Round. The 2011 Broncos went 8-8 and finished the season ranked 24th in team DVOA. Pats were up 35-7 at halftime before easing up and coasting to a 45-10 win.

That’s my pick for worst team we’ve played and, I would argue, one of the worst teams to ever make the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Watching those highlights makes me wonder what could have been if Aaron Hernandez wasn’t a mass murderer. Very strange to watch him out there making plays.
 

streeter88

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Take a look at the 2011 Patriots defensive backfield in the playoffs and get back to me with that comparison.
Yep, I had a look at the DVOA ratings for the two teams as well, and it isn't that close.

2011 Pats: 23.7% total, 36.8% offense, 17.9% defense, 3.7% special teams.
2017 Pats: 32.2% total, 27.4% offense, 3.2% defense, 8.1% special teams.

The weighted DVOA of 17.9% on defense for 2011 team was 30th in the league; this year they are all the way up to 22nd now.

I still am in the same camp as Al Zarilla, SSF, and Staz where I think there should be something to worry about, don't want to look past the Titans, and am hoping the Pats play well, continue to get back to health and advance.
 

dynomite

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That highlights package...

Brady with 6 TDs, all of them by EARLY in the 3rd quarter.

"Jimmy Graham the NFL's best tight end," but this gronkowski guy is pretty good too. And one of them keeps saying PLEASE COVER THIS GUY while Gronk makes catches with players hanging all over him.
It’s pretty stunning to see that offense in top form, and there’s definitely a bittersweet quality to watching those highlights for a few reasons.

One of those, of course, is that the following week Gronk got his ankle sprain against the Ravens — I think we beat the Giants with a healthy Gronk in that Super Bowl.
 

BigSoxFan

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It’s pretty stunning to see that offense in top form, and there’s definitely a bittersweet quality to watching those highlights for a few reasons.

One of those, of course, is that the following week Gronk got his ankle sprain against the Ravens — I think we beat the Giants with a healthy Gronk in that Super Bowl.
We absolutely beat the Giants in SB46 with a healthy Gronk. He only had 3 targets that game and could barely move, which allowed the Giants to bottle up Welker. Hernandez had 14 targets in that one. Ochocinco’s inability to grasp the playbook was the killer. Branch was basically toast at that point and they desperately needed someone to open up the middle for Welker/Hernandez.