PREVIEWING PATRIOTS VS. TITANS DIVISIONAL ROUND

Greg Brown
11 January 2018
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PREVIEWING PATRIOTS VS. TITANS DIVISIONAL ROUND

Here at Patriotsdynasty.info we take it one game at a time. Our sole focus is on having a good week of practice heading into Saturday and making sure we watch the game one play at a time. We ignore the national pundits. We ignore the 14 point spreads. We ignore the career 6-1 record. We take it one game at a time and write a preview blog that is probably more in depth than anyone asked for.

And because I’m sure many of you aren’t familiar with the Tennessee roster outside of your fantasy team I decided to break down some Titans for you to keep an eye out for on Saturday.

TITANS

Lewan

Taylor Lewan (OL): This guy might as well be Richie Incognito’s twin brother, both in appearance and in attitude. He is a beast on the field (one of the Titans 3 pro bowlers) but plays with an edge that borders on being dirty. I guarantee it is a matter of time before text messages get released of him telling a soft spoken teammate his sister has a wolf puss. Couple career highlights/lowlights for Lewan:

The Good:

  • 11th overall pick out of Michigan in 2014
  • 2016 & 2017 Pro Bowl selection
  • Ranked 72nd by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017

The Bad:

  • Ejected from a 2016 game for pushing a referee during an altercation with Packers players.
  • Pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of drunk and disorderly and disturbing the peace in 2014 for beating up two Ohio State fans outside a bar (Go Blue).
  • He just kind of looks like an asshole.

Oh and remember this play by Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina? That is Lewan (#77) he walks around before decapitating the Michigan RB:

Henry

Derrick Henry (RB): It is players like Derrick Henry that make me glad I never played football. I mean look at those measurables and tell me you could tackle him without getting an oatmeal brain concussion. He dominated college football at Alabama on his way to winning the 2015 Heisman trophy and national championship. Scouts were spooked by his heavy workload at Alabama and “average quickness” and he ended up falling to the second round in the 2016 draft. Since being drafted he has enjoyed moderate success while splitting carries with Titans starting RB DeMarco Murray.

Henry took advantage of a Murray injury last week in a BIG WAY to the tune of 156 yards on 26 carries in the win over the Chiefs. With Murray likely out again this week, expect to see a lot of Derrick Henry. I have always been of the opinion that he is most effective when he gets 20+ carries as he can wear defenses down with his punishing running style. The quarter by quarter numbers seem to bear that out as well:

Henry 4th qt

In my opinion, it would behoove the Patriots (like that SAT word?) to jump to an early lead and try to limit Henry before he can really get going.

NOTE: I just reread that last sentence and realized how little insight it gives. In case anyone didn’t know, the Patriots should try and score lots of points early. But I am leaving it in there just to sneak in “behoove”.

Byard

Kevin Byard (S): This may come as a shock to many of you but Kevin Byard was named as an NFL 1st Team All Pro this year. Yes….1st team…in the NFL. One of the two best safeties in the entire league. Earl Thomas is on the 2nd team. I won’t sit here and tell you I knew much about him before seeing he got named but that’s why god invented google right? Turns out he is a local guy that played college ball at Middle Tennessee State University and has come out of absolutely nowhere to be tied for 1st in the NFL in interceptions with 8 this year (although 3 were in one game).

I did find it quite interesting that he is on the All Pro Team (voted by Associated Press) but not on the AFC Pro Bowl roster (voted by fans/coaches/players).  I am now a blogger and officially part of the media so I would never accuse the press of voting simply based on a stat that isn’t always indicative of level of play (INTs). But I will say that he led the AFC in Pro Bowl FAN voting so it must have been the coaches and players that left him off the ballot…...interesting. And the Titans are 25th in the NFL in passing defense…....also interesting.

He has also made a few waves this week with this following headline grabber:

This is a playoff game. So I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana. You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks.

I actually like this kind of attitude from players and I don’t think what he said was that salacious but obviously the internet doesn’t agree:

Google

P.S. if you are wondering how to pronounce his name let this be your guide:

Byaaaaard

PATRIOTS

Chris Hogan (WR): Hogan has officially been removed from the injury report and is expected to play on Saturday. It is always tough to tell how much immediate impact players can have when returning from injury but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on. With Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell injured and Kenny Britt not contributing much the Patriots have been missing a big target at WR. If he really is 100% healthy I could see him playing a big role. If he isn’t he could look like he did in first return in Week 14 when he was basically a nonfactor against the Dolphins. 

All I know is I want to see those crazy playoff eyes from Hogan.

Crazy eyes

Dion Lewis (RB): My love affair with Dion Lewis is well documented.  Is it a stretch to say he is the second coming of Barry Sanders? Maybe…probably not. Since roughly the midpoint of the season the Patriots have been riding Dion like the workhorse he is. The previously crowded backfield is now not so crowded and Neon Dion has taken advantage with some really entertaining play. Pro Football Focus even gave him the 2nd team All Pro nod based on their season long RB rankings.  With Burkhead, Gillislee and White all still listed as Questionable for this week, it’s likely he gets the majority of touches again.

The only hesitation I have is that the Titans run defense was the 4th best in the NFL this year lead by pro bowler Jurrell Casey. He is an absolute monster that clogs up the middle and looked unstoppable in holding Kareem Hunt to 42 yards last week.  BUT, as we discussed earlier the Titans can be beat in the air (25th ranked passing defense) and Lewis has a set of mitts on him so don’t be surprised if they use him in a “James White Super Bowl” kind of role:

NOTE: I do like Neon Dion as his nickname although it is sort of appropriating Deion Sanders culture. Tedy Bruschi actually suggested “Squirty” as a nickname. Ok Tedy, keep it in your pants buddy.

Tom Brady (QB): Tom Brady will be looking to break the record for most playoff wins by a QB in NFL history by reaching a mark of 26. If he does he will break the record of 25 currently held by Tom Brady. Oh, and if you needed a reminder of what Brady has done to the Titans in the past, look no further:

My official prediction: Patriots jump out early and cruise to a 75-0 victory. Mularkey gets fired half way through his post-game presser and Jeff Fisher is hired on Sunday.

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