Tennessee Titans: How David can beat Goliath


The Tennessee Titans (3-10) travel to Boston this week to take on the defending world champion New England Patriots (11-2), in the ultimate contest of David versus Goliath.

According to Vegas, Tennessee enters Sunday’s contest as a 14 point underdog, a whopping number for a professional football game. Even the most optimistic Titans supporters foresee back to back beatdowns for the boys in blue.

While an upset road win over New England seems improbable, it is certainly not impossible.

After starting the season 10-0, the Patriots have lost two of their last three. There are similarities between the two defeats, giving the Titans a blueprint to follow.

More from Titan Sized

New England has the tenth best rushing defense in the league, giving up 98 yards a game on the ground. With their high powered offense scoring seemingly at will, most of their opponents must abandon the run to stay in the game.

The Patriots were gashed in the run game in their two losses, giving up 179 yards on the ground to the Broncos, and 128 yards the following week to the Eagles.

Just as important were the attempts for both teams. Denver had 32 attempts and Philadelphia had 33, which allowed them both to stay balanced on offense.

Tennessee had 35 rushing attempts and over 200 yards on the ground two weeks ago against Jacksonville and their 13th ranked run defense. They remained balanced, and scored 35 points as a unit.

New England had early 14 point leads over the Broncos and Eagles, and both teams ran the ball effectively in their second half comebacks. The Titans must stick with the run this Sunday, regardless of the early score.

Another glaring similarity in both of New England’s defeats was the opposing defense’s ability to pressure Tom Brady. Denver registered three sacks and nine hits on Brady in their victory, and Philadelphia racked up another four sacks and ten hits on Brady the following week.

Sep 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (99) reacts as he tackled Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s defense has been one of the best in the league at pressuring the quarterback this season. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is playing at his 2013 Pro Bowl level, and as a result, the Titans have 35 sacks this season. Seventh best in the league.

Casey and Company must find their way to the backfield this Sunday against the Patriots’ shaky offensive line. In fact, the game hinges on it. If Tom Brady has a clean pocket, then it will be another long afternoon for the Titans.

Next: Titans @ Patriots Must-Win Must-Lose

Tennessee could reasonably do all of these things, and still lose by 14 or more points. The talent gap is that wide. But Titans fans should still keep a glimmer of hope, because the team has shown an ability to execute a game plan like this in the past.

Plus, it’s not like David hasn’t taken down Goliath before.