Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots Matchup Preview (1/4/19): Matchup Analysis, Depth Charts, Daily Fantasy
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The Titans got hot down the stretch and needed some dominos to fall their way, and they did. Tennessee ended up as the sixth seed over Pittsburgh, and New England fell to the three seed after losing to Miami in Week 17. Kansas City winning pushed them to the two seed. The Patriots come into this game as five point favorites, with a pedestrian 44.5 over/under. The weather for this game is going to be wet, as rain is expected throughout. The temperatures will be lower 40s, so no snow is in the forecast, just a lot of rain. This could be an issue for both sides, especially with the Patriots talking about the struggle of playing in heavy rain against Cleveland. We also tend to see offenses take a small dip during this type of weather. The Patriots offense has struggled for most of the year, and ranked middle of the pack in pass and run offense DVOA. The Titans rank both inside the top ten, where we saw big production down the stretch once Ryan Tannehill took over and they handed Derrick Henry a heavy workload. Now on the defensive side, New England ranks first against the pass, and 6th against the run. Tennessee ranks 10th against the run, and just 21st against the pass. For odds line movement, and full matchup history, see the Tennessee Titans At New England Patriots Matchup Page.
Date: Saturday, January 4th,
Time: 8:15 ET
Location: Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, MA
Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin (Q), Adoree Jackson (P), Adam Humphries (O)
New England Patriots: Marcus Cannon (Q), Jamie Collins (P), Julian Edelman (P)
Tennessee Titans Analysis
Tennessee averaged 6.1 yards per play this season, and scored on 75% of their red zone trips. We can credit a lot of this to Derrick Henry in the red zone, and Ryan Tannehill taking over and actually airing the ball down field. Tennessee ranks 21st in DVOA against the pass, and 10th against the run. They allowed 104 rushing yards per game, and 255 passing yards per game this season. Henry will have his hands full with the Patriots defense, allowing 95.5 rushing yards per game, but also just 180 passing yards per game. New England is great at taking away top weapons, which in this case would be AJ Brown through the air. Brown finished the season with a 52-1051-8 line, averaging 20.2 yards per reception. He had four 100+ yard receiving games over the final six weeks of the season, and scored five of his eight touchdowns in the final six weeks of the season. Corey Davis has a chance to be an x-factor here, but saw just 69 targets, and posted a 43-601-2 line this year. With Delanie Walker out, Jonnu Smith has a chance to make an impact this week. He didn’t see a target in Week 17 which was a bit weird. Smith showed off being a big play guy, and if the Patriots forget about him, Smith can make them pay. Tannehill finished the season averaging 9.6 yards per attempt, a 70% completion rate, and 22 touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans Depth Chart
New England Patriots Analysis
The Patriots defense has been the main reason for their success this year. They are holding teams to just 4.7 yards per play, and opponents are converting just 24% of third downs against New England. They are also holding opponents to under a 50% success rate in the red zone. Now Tennessee’s offense has scored 75% of red zone trips, and is averaging over six yards per play. This offense can move the ball with Ryan Tannehill, and they will have their hands full. Offensively this team has really struggled this year, and are throwing the ball 59% of the time. They didn’t have a lot of success running the ball either this season. The Patriots averaged just 5.2 yards per play this season, scored on 50% of their red zone trips, and completed just 60% of their passes. Brady threw for just 6.6 yards yards per attempt this season. Julian Edelman was the only reliable wide receiver this season, positing over 1,000 yards. James White was next with 645 receiving yards, and then after that nobody had over 400 receiving yards. Playmaking options are just not there outside of these two names. Michel averaged just 3.9 yards per touch, and the Mohamed Sanu trade has flopped. N’Keal Harry is still working his way into the offense, and has flashed potential, but it doesn’t seem to be enough for him to make a big impact.
New England Patriots Depth Chart
Betting Pick: Under 44.5 Total Points & Tennessee Titans +5.5
Between the weather, Patriots offensive firepower, and Patriots defense, we should see a relatively low scoring game. The Patriots games went under 9-7 this season, while the Titans were 6-10. These defenses were solid this season, allowing an average of 34 points combined on the year. New England held offenses to just 4.7 yards per play, and Tennessee held them to just 5.4. When we saw New England play an above average defense, the under was a big winner. The Titans are 6-3-1 ATS over the last ten games, and 5-3 on the road. The Patriots failed to cover in five of the last six weeks. This game should stay very close, and the Titans can cover here with this spread. Despite some offensive weapons that have been thriving on both sides, the Titans haven’t played a respectable defense in the second half of the season outside of New Orleans. This will be a tough task, which is why I would hang on the under. New England’s offense has been dreadful, and the pass-catching options can’t really take advantage here outside of Julian Edelman. The Titans have a decent run defense, which can limit the backs.
Daily Fantasy: Tough Spot For The Big Names
The Titans defense has been decent against the run this season, but did rank 15th in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. Those are not bad numbers, but it did come in the passing game. James White’s workload has been frustrating over the second half of the season. Tennessee gave up the third most receptions to opposing backs on the year. Sony Michel has seen a heavier workload, but has been unproductive for the most part this season. He finished with 912 yards and 7 touchdowns, but 11 games without a touchdown and no games over 100 yards was poor. He finished with 3.7 yards per attempt. The pass-catching options in New England are severely limited. Julian Edelman is the only one I feel comfortable with. He finished the season with a 100-1117-6 line, and saw 153 targets. He wasn’t healthy down the stretch, but has said he is feeling close to 100%. His PPR work on DraftKings has more value, as does White’s, but on FanDuel they are strong plays as well.
Tennessee is going to have a tough time on the road in tough weather, a tough environment, and a tough defense. I don’t love the names here, despite Derrick Henry and AJ Brown just crushing down the stretch. New England allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backs this season, but gave up 4.2 yards per carry, but just one rushing touchdown. Henry is one of the better goal line backs, and a big reason for why Tennessee had one of the top red zone efficiency stats in the league. The Patriots also allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers, but Corey Davis and AJ Brown have that home run threat upside. No surprise to see New England also allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. As good as Tannehill has been down the stretch, it is tough to get excited about this group.