Seasoned NFL observers don’t expect the Tennessee Titans to buck historic trends against the New England Patriots.
ESPN’s NFL experts predict the Patriots will defeat the Titans on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in their wild-card round game. The Worldwide Leader’s experts favored New England by an 8-2 vote, and national NFL writer Kevin Seifert believes the Titans’ struggles on New England’s turf will endure into the new decade.
“The Titans franchise hasn’t won at New England since 1993, when the team was known as the Houston Oilers,” Seifert wrote Thursday. “Since then, the Oilers/Titans are 0-6 in the state of Massachusetts, including the playoffs. The Patriots are 19-3 all-time in the postseason at Gillette Stadium. And at the very least, this year’s Titans team is untested against good teams on the road. It played only one road opponent that finished the season with a winning record: the Houston Texans, who rested many of their key players on Sunday in the Titans’ 35-14 victory. While the Patriots have had some struggles this season, and the Titans are 7-3 since elevating quarterback Ryan Tannehill, there are plenty of reasons to suggest a victory for the home team.”
While most pundits probably will side with the Patriots, contrarians have offered reasons why an upset might be in the cards, including the familiarity key Tennessee players and staff have with New England to the possibility of Tannehill outplaying Tom Brady.
Nevertheless, the Patriots are focusing on silencing their doubters, beating the Titans and securing a place in the divisional round. Although a win over the Titans wouldn’t constitute a postseason “revenge tour” on its own, it would be a necessary first step toward mounting one.