Both the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots are quite banged up and will be without a key starter on the offensive side of the ball.
Following an important win on Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys, the Tennessee Titans will welcome the New England Patriots to Nashville tomorrow. The Two-Tone Blue and the AFC powerhouse run by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady met in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, with the Titans falling 35-14 after starting the game with a seven-point lead.
The Titans come into this game having lost three of their past four games, but a win coming out of the bye week was hopefully a good omen for the second half of the season. The offense seemed much more in control after the long layoff. The Patriots have won six-consecutive games after losing two of their first three. New England ranks in the top 10 in both yards and points per game on offense.
New England Patriots
TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back): Not expected to play
RB Sony Michel (knee): Questionable
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee): Questionable
OT Trent Brown (illness): Questionable
OG Shaq Mason (calf): Questionable
TE Jacob Hollister (hamstring): Questionable
The big news here is that Gronkowski isn’t expected to play tomorrow, despite him getting limited practices in all week. With a bye week coming up after the Titans game, the Patriots will exercise caution with their star tight end, who has struggled with injuries all year. Considering their bye is coming up, one would expect Michel to also be held out, but it seems as if he’s going to give it a go on Sunday. Belichick had been using WR Cordarrelle Patterson as an early-down back in Michel’s absence.
The Patriots are usually very vague when it comes to injuries, so it’s tough to know who will actually play tomorrow. Brown returned to a limited practice on Friday and all of the others were limited participants all week. Hollister has been out since Week 2, and with Gronkowski not playing, the Patriots will likely be down to one tight end again: Dwayne Allen. Hightower’s return would be a huge boon to a linebacking corps that has struggled to make much of an impact in 2018.
OT Jack Conklin (concussion): OUT
DE Derrick Morgan (shoulder): Questionable
WR Taywan Taylor (foot): Questionable
WR Tajae Sharpe (ankle): Questionable
NT Bennie Logan (knee): Questionable
S Dane Cruikshank (knee): Questionable
Just like the Patriots, the Titans will be missing a prominent offensive starter on Sunday, as Conklin is set to lose a game due to a concussion sustained in the Monday night victory. Dennis Kelly filled in for Conklin against the Cowboys and arguably outperformed him. Cruikshank and Taylor didn’t practice all week and are longshots to suit up. Morgan was downgraded to DNP on Friday after limited sessions early in the week. He likely won’t play either.
Sharpe and Logan should be fine for Saturday. This isn’t really a game for Logan to make an impact, with Belichick and Brady likely to come out throwing the ball all afternoon. Sharpe will be needed in what can turn into a shootout; especially with Taylor doubtful to play and the Titans’ other receivers being relatively unproven.