Oh, dear God. This is happening and there’s no way we can stop it. Mike Mularkey is bringing the Tennessee Titans (10-7) into Gillette Stadium Saturday night to face off against the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots (13-3), led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
As far as mismatches go, this is your regular King Kong vs George “Art Vandalay” Costanza match up. If you want to watch it (and why the hell wouldn’t you for the comedic value alone?) it’ll be broadcast on your local CBS station at 8:15 p.m. on CBS.
The Game: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)
The Patriots and Titans have played each other 41 times since 1960 (when the Titans were the Houston Oilers). New England leads the all-time series 24-16-1.
TENNESSEE TITANS (10-7)
I know what you’re thinking, “Adam,” you’re saying aloud to your computer or mobile device, “It sounds like you’re not giving the Titans a chance in this one?”
And, really, I don’t think that’s fair. You see, to say I’m not giving Tennessee a chance is to argue, at least a little, that there’s some statistical anomaly in play where head coach Mike Mularkey could somehow bring his troops into Foxborough Saturday night and overcome all the odds stacked against them to defeat the Patriots and head on to the AFC Championship game.
There’s not a single chance in hell the Tennessee Titans win this game. None. Zero. I’m not giving them a “chance” because the culmination of factors that would all have to be in play to make that possible are so improbable as to be statistically irrelevant.
But, hey, I’m a creative dude. I like fantasy and science fiction, so let’s figure out what would have to happen for the Titans to, not win, but have a legitimate chance to win this contest.
1. Tennessee would have to (intentionally or otherwise) injure Tom Brady.
It’s verboten to talk about going after a player, so in this case let’s pretend Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has called a blitz so well-crafted that a linebacker comes free and knocks the multiple-time Super Bowl MVP from the game. This would have to be early too. Like his first drop back. Any injury or concussion late in the second half is worthless here as the Patriots will already be too far ahead for it to matter. I mean, really, the dream scenario is for the kick returner, while trying to avoid a tackle, smashes into Brady taking selfies with his Microsoft Surface tablet on the sidelines.
Remember that time Tom Brady threw 5 TD passes in the 2nd quarter vs the Titans pic.twitter.com/wjHNwpTD4R
— Tom Brady's Ego (@TomBradysEgo) January 11, 2018
Before the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo, this would accomplish nothing in the grand scheme of things except allow New England to win a Super Bowl without Brady and give Belichick the excuse he needs to cut or trade him. But Jimmy GQ is gone and, if Brady goes down, Brian Hoyer steps in. That’s when it gets interesting. Suddenly that Zero Chance in Hell turns into a Five Percent Chance in Hell. Still, that’s not enough. Tennessee needs more. Like…
2. Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia would have to choke under the pressure of coaching while auditioning for a sure-fire head coaching job.
We’ll call this “Kyle Shanahan-ing” to simplify it. The point is, Patricia is probably a few weeks away from taking over the Detroit Lions and becoming their next head coach and easily their most competent head man since Steve Mariucci. It’s probably a distraction for the guy as he’s preparing gameplans for one team while planning on making wholesale changes to another, in addition to hiring his offensive and defensive staffs. He could also be a little full of himself and his capabilities. After all, this was Patricia’s best year as a defensive coordinator with the Patriots. The team fielded the worst defense in the league in the first month of the year and it had a lot to do with talent. Somehow, Patricia found a way to Make New England Great Again and they’ve only gotten better as the season wore on. Could he be in love with the smell of his own farts now? Could he pull a Shanahan here and try to show off his coaching abilities when it’s time to take Lenny down to the creek and talk about the rabbits?
This, plus the Brady injury pops that chance up to 20 percent. Can we move it any more?
3. Massive and catastrophic injuries hit both the offensive and defensive lines.
This is as far as I’m willing to take it. Say on that same drive where Brady goes down (remember, it has to be the first one), Nate Solder and David Andrews both hit the turf next. Solder isn’t guarding Hoyer’s blind side and Andrews isn’t helping call blocking assignments in the middle. Hoyer is all on his own. We’re knocking that chance up to 30 percent.
The Titans' Kevin Byard just made a big mistake ratting the cage of Psycho Tom, saying he wants to make Brady look like Bortles. Kevin, meet Rob Gronkowski and prepare to have Brady in your face yelling, "WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE NOW?"
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 11, 2018
After the Hoyer-led punt, New England’s defense takes the field only to see defensive end Trey Flowers and defensive tackle Malcolm Brown both get carted off the field. That opens the entire left side of the Patriots defense up, which just so happens to be the best side of the Titans’ offensive line. We’re hitting 40 percent and right there is where we will stay.
For the Titans to even have a realistic chance in this game, but still be an underdog, Tom Brady, Nate Solder, David Andrews, Malcolm Brown and Trey Flowers all have to go down early in the first quarter and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has to completely forget how to do his job.
So, yeah. No chance.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3)
I don’t have to go into some long, drawn out preview of the Patriots here. This is an annual event. On the injury report, Chris Hogan is likely the only guy that will miss. Everybody else has practiced this week. There’s some rumblings from ESPN about a rift between Brady, Belichick and Kraft concerning Tom Terrific’s charlatan Dr. Oz wannabe, but I’ll believe that’s a problem when it shows up on the field. It won’t. At least, not this week. Not against Mularkey and the Titans.
Including the playoffs, Tom Brady has played 17 games on Saturdays. He's thrown 37 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and the Patriots are 16-1 in those games.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) January 11, 2018
The Patriots haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2012, a 28-13 defeat at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
Are we really taking this seriously? I know through God all things are possible, but I’m not sure he’s ready to step into this whole football minefield right now. I mean, there’s the nuclear issue with North Korea, a psychotic pumpkin is in charge of the United States and the military just admitted there are UFOs darting around our skies and they have no clue where they came from. The Good Lord has other things to watch over without personally stepping in for Mularkey and the Titans to even keep this one competitive. Brady has made a career, literally, of carving up a LeBeau defense when the old guy was in Pittsburgh with better talent. How in the hell is Tennessee going to stop him? Without, you know, the Almighty stepping in. Patriots 38, Titans 16
Straight up: 2-2
Against the spread: 2-2
Straight up: 2-2
Against the spread: 2-2
Straight up: 159-101
Against the spread: 122-132
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