The Patriots aren’t accustomed to playing on the first weekend in January.
You’d have to go back to 2009 for the last time New England appeared in a wild-card round game. This streak will come to a halt Saturday night when the Tennessee Titans visit the reigning Super Bowl champions, who lost grip of a first-round bye with an ugly Week 17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Ray Lewis issued a warning to the Patriots heading into their tilt with the Dolphins. The Hall of Fame linebacker, who helped the Baltimore Ravens beat New England in the wild-card round 10 years ago, stressed the importance for New England to earn an extra week of rest and avoid an additional postseason contest. The Pats failed to take care of business, and Lewis believes they’ll suffer the consequences this weekend.
“The bottom line is, the mentality of Derrick Henry and the way he can run the football on the New England Patriots — guys, I’m just telling you, I think they can go in there and they can beat the Patriots. …You know what? Honestly, man, I’m gonna go with the Titans,” Lewis said on the latest edition of Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
It’s safe to assume Henry has been a major point of emphasis for Bill Belichick and Co. this week, and the Patriots have a pretty good track record of subduing the opposing team’s most important offensive player. But with dynamic receivers like Corey Davis and A.J. Brown, the Titans can beat them with more than just a ferocious rushing attack. New England’s defense will need to be at its best Saturday night, especially considering the offense’s lingering woes.
If not, Lewis’ prediction likely will come to fruition.