1:00 p.m. ET
Key Decision #1: (TEN ball, leading 17-10 / first-and-10, NE 37 / 5:26 Q2)
• After the Patriots closed to within 17-10, Tennessee squandered two straight possessions in which they had a chance to take a two-possession lead. However, after getting the ball back with five-and-a-half minutes left in first half, they executed a successful four-minute drill. The Titans mounted an impressive drive, using timeouts effectively, to score a touchdown and take a commanding 24-10 lead just before the half.
• New England’s prior two losses were also on the road, against Jacksonville and Detroit. It was evident that both of those teams got up for the game, and the familiarity that Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia had with the Patriots clearly helped him. It was the same in this game against the Titans. The Titans were emotionally and physically up for this game and it showed.
• Tennessee dominated this game, and one of the ways it did it, was by effectively spreading the ball around to a variety of players, including running back Dion Lewis, tight end Jonnu Smith, wide receiver Corey Davis, and running back Derrick Henry.
• Another advantage the Titans had was defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Not only is he a former Patriots coach, but he also served as coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in multiple matchups with New England.
• Even though the Patriots played short-handed, missing tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, offensive tackle Trent Brown, and others, they were uncharacteristically flat in this game. The game plan was relatively uninspired, and we did not see the typical adjustments the Patriots make. Perhaps this is due to Tennessee’s physical dominance on both sides of the ball.