Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots
Date and Time: Saturday, January 13, 2018, 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, New England, PA
Opening NFL Odds: Patriots -13.5, O/U 47
Patriots vs. Titans TV Coverage: CBS
Things were certainly going against the Titans when they were down 21-3 against Kansas City last weekend. Seeking their first playoff win in over a decade, the Titans caught a huge break in the form of a tipped pass that could have easily been intercepted that instead went right back where it came.
The box score will say that Marcus Mariota threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Mariota, but the story is so much more than that.
The Titans went on to score the final 19 points of the game. Had that pass fallen incomplete, Tennessee would have only cut the lead to 21-6 instead of 21-10, and it's anyone's guess what could have happened from there.
This is all basically old hat for the Patriots at this point. This is Tom Brady's 35th-career playoff start, and it's going to be the 14th time he's playing in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
That said, reports have surfaced of dysfunction at 1 Patriot Place. New England has always gotten through any off-the-field controversy it has had to endure, but this feels a little different. It's been a long two weeks off, especially with all of the horrid weather conditions that have fallen upon Massachusetts and the whole Northeast.
Still, the Pats have an excellent track record in these games. Just remember that they have played against just two teams that got into the playoff this year since October 22, so it's no wonder why they have rolled off 11 wins in their last 12 games overall.
The Titans had no answers for Travis Kelce last week. When he was on the field, the Chiefs had everything working. They accounted for 170 yards in their first 15 plays and just 155 yards the rest of the way.
You could argue that the degree of success from those initial 15 plays were because of the script that Andy Reid is known for in the early stages of games, but this also corresponded to when Kelce left the game injured.
Kelce caught his last pass with the Chiefs ahead 21-3 late in the second quarter; they didn't score again.
Enter: Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk only played in 13 games this season, but when he was on the field, he was a monster. He had 69 receptions, 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in that span, including a couple massive games against the Bills and Steelers.
If the Titans didn't have any answers for Kelce, they're certainly not going to have any answers for Gronkowski. If we've learned nothing else over the course of the last eight seasons, it's that the Patriots are virtually unstoppable when Gronk is at his best.
Titans vs. Patriots Free Picks
Here's the bottom line with this game: If you're betting on the Titans, you're merely hoping they find a way to stay in front of this huge number or hit a backdoor. If you're betting on the Patriots, you're doing so with the confidence that they are two drives away from being in front of the number set by the top NFL sportsbooks from the get go.
As little as we want to be laying such a number in a playoff game, these two teams are from different planets right now. One only got into the playoffs on the back of a friendly schedule and a horribly thin conference while the other was easily the most-dominant team in the conference all season long. We'll begrudgingly lay the lumber merely because we feel like we don't have any other reasonable choice.
NFL ATS Pick: Patriots -13.5 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Patriots 41, Titans 13