The New England Patriots (7-2) will head to Nissan Stadium to battle the Tennessee Titans (4-4) in Week 10 (November 11, 2018 at 1:00pm EST). The Titans opened as 6.0-point underdogs.
The Patriots are averaging an impressive 30.0 points per game (4th) and it’s crazy to think they could be even better by just cutting back on the turnovers. New England has committed 13 turnovers this season (26th), but are at least coming off a turnover-free game against the Packers.
Errant Tom Brady passes have been the source of an uncharacteristic seven of those giveaways. The rest have come from the team putting the ball on the dirt. Reducing the turnovers needs to be a top priority for Brady and the Patriots over the remainder of the year.
For as great as New England’s offense has been, their defense is right there, too. The Patriots are only surrendering 22.4 points per game, good for 11th-best in the NFL. This is a unit that is built to stop the run. New England only cedes 106.9 rushing yards per game (14th).
Fortunately, New England’s defense avoids any sort of offensive juggernaut this week, when they line up across from the Titans. Tennessee is scoring just 16.8 points per game (29th).
When you can’t move the ball through the air, scoring points in today’s NFL is extremely hard. This is what Tennessee is quickly discovering, as their miserable passing attack has resulted in defenses selling out to slow Dion Lewis, daring Marcus Mariota to beat them with his arm.
Mariota has had no issues completing passes this season, posting a 67.0 completion percentage, but has not been able to push the ball downfield consistently. Until he demonstrates he can, the Titans will continue seeing extra defenders in the box. The pivot has thrown for just 1,270 yards with a 5:5 TD-to-INT ratio.
Facing a Patriots defense this week that ranks 26th vs the pass provides a tremendous opportunity for Mariota to gain some confidence under center. The Titans have to find some creative ways to start connecting on big plays through the air.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee’s defense has been extremely stingy. They’re permitting just 17.6 points per game, the fewest in the NFL. The Titans’ eighth-ranked pass defense deserves a lot of the credit for their success as a unit, as they surrender just 226.3 yards per game through the air.
Don’t be surprised if New England opts to lean on some combination of James White, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Sony Michel in Week 10.
New England crushed the Titans, 35-14, the last time these two teams played in the 2017-18 playoffs (January 13th, 2018). The Patriots served as the favorite in that game, too, laying 13.5 points.