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Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by November 26, 2021
mac jones

If I had told you three weeks ago that the Tennessee Titans would be getting six points from the New England Patriots in Week 12, you would’ve probably laughed in my face.

But the fortunes for both of these teams have changed recently. The Patriots are the hottest team in the AFC, having rattled off five straight wins. Meanwhile, in a driving rainstorm, the Titans are banged up and coming off a bad loss to the Houston Texans at home.

Will the Patriots keep rolling? Or can Tennessee bounce back from their first loss since early October? Let’s break it down.

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  • Opening line: New England -3
  • Current line: New England -6
  • Total: 44

Titans were due for a letdown 

As someone who bet the Texans +10.5 last week, Tennessee’s loss wasn’t overly surprising. The Titans were riding a six-game winning streak, featuring incredible wins over the Bills, the Chiefs, the Rams, the Colts, and the Saints. The emotional letdown and dud performance were coming.

But the loss to Houston raises questions about how good this Titans team is. Despite all their excellent wins, Tennessee has two losses to Houston and the New York Jets. The advanced analytics aren’t flattering and suggest that Tennessee is getting lucky. The Titans rank 18th in overall DVOA and have just 4.8 estimated wins, according to FootballOutsiders.

Sunday’s loss fell squarely on Ryan Tannehill’s shoulders. He was pathetic, throwing four interceptions against a pretty lousy Texans defense. Sunday was one of the few times Tannehill had been asked to carry the Titans since Derrick Henry got hurt and failed miserably.

Sunday’s performance was proof that Tannehill isn’t much different than someone like Jared Goff. He can be great when everything around him is. But when the infrastructure collapses, Tannehill returns to the player we saw in Miami.

And right now, Tannehill’s infrastructure is crumbling. Henry and Julio Jones are out. A.J. Brown got nicked up last week. Ascending wideout Marcus Johnson hurt his hamstring. And the offensive line isn’t protecting him well. The Titans have surrendered 29 sacks on the season and have the third-worst adjusted sack rate in the league.

Defensively, Tennessee has survived a slew of injuries to keep this unit respectable, a testament to the job Mike Vrabel has done. The Titans rank 12th in overall defensive DVOA and ninth against the pass. The way to beat Tennessee is on the ground. The Titans rank 25th in rush defense DVOA and 25th in adjusted line yards defensively. That’s something New England could certainly exploit on Sunday.

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Are the Patriots Super Bowl contenders? 

New England’s stock is rising, and many are already comparing Tom Brady and his successor, Mac Jones.

New England sits in first place in the AFC East thanks to a five-game winning streak over the Jets, Chargers, Panthers, Browns, and Falcons. And while the Patriots have dominantly won most of these games, it’s fair to recognize that these wins have come against average or well below average teams (yes, Cleveland is an average team now).

Jones is among the favorites to win Rookie of the Year, and he’s been the best quarterback in the 2021 rookie class thus far. While the early returns are encouraging, Jones also benefits from being with an organization that understands how to build an infrastructure around a rookie quarterback.

New England has a good offensive line that’s kept Jones upright. It has a strong running game that keeps Jones out of third and long situations. And while the skill weapons around Jones aren’t amazing, they all fit distinct roles in Josh McDaniels’ scheme. When Jones has had to make a throw, generally, he’s done it. And that’s why the Patriots have managed to rank 16th in offensive DVOA with a rookie quarterback and an assortment of decent weapons.

Defensively, Bill Belichick is working on another masterpiece. New England ranks 5th in overall defensive DVOA and fifth in pass defense DVOA. Pass rusher Matt Judon is a force to be reckoned with and has 10.5 sacks on the season. And New England has the sixth-highest adjusted sack rate in the NFL. Everything is clicking for this unit.

Bottom Line 

This game is somewhat conflicting. The Patriots should be able to run the ball at will against Tennessee’s front seven. But is this a buy-low spot on the Titans and a sell-high spot on the Patriots? Vrabel’s teams are known for playing up and down to their competition. And coming off a loss, I’d expect a maximum effort for the Titans against Vrabel’s old team and coach.

I would need this spread to hit Tennessee +7 before considering a wager on the Titans. And unfortunately, I don’t think the number will get that high.

That leads me to the total. I expect Belichick to overwhelm Tannehill, knowing he can’t hand the ball off to Derrick Henry. And given Tennessee’s struggles against the run, I’d expect a ton of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson on Sunday. With a pivotal battle against the Buffalo Bills next Monday night, I expect New England to keep the clock moving, control the ball and get out unscathed.

Pick: Under 44, play down to 43

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.

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