Photo credit: Jason O. Watson / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans were able to pull out an impressive upset over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card. Now they’ll take on the defending champion New England Patriots and this contest will be much tougher than last week. The Patriots are the best team in all of football when it comes to preparations but the good news is New England does have a vulnerability. Bill Belichick’s defense has been suspect all season and while they have improved a little bit there is still some aspects of their game the Titans can take advantage of. The Patriots have surrendered a lackluster 366 yards per game which was 29th in the league. If the Titans strong offensive front can bring their “A game” and impose their will on New England’s front seven anything is possible. The other key factor will be how many plays the Tennessee receivers can make against Belichick’s secondary? All season long the Patriots’ defensive backs have had miscommunications and coverage breakdowns. Eric Decker, Corey Davis, and Delanie Walker need to all play the best game of their career and help get the Titans get over the hump. The final piece of the puzzle is obviously Mariota having a big day. Marcus Mariota only threw for 13 touchdowns during the entire regular season but he managed throw for 2 touchdowns against the Chiefs. If Mariota can take it even a notch higher and throw for 3 or 4 touchdowns that could end up being the difference between victory or defeat. It won’t be easy by any means however that doesn’t mean it’s completely unachievable. If you’re Mike Mularkey your emphasis has to be on the execution side of things. Tennessee can’t afford to have any turnovers and they must cut down on penalties in order to knock off Tom Brady and company.
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