NFL.com and Sporting News picks
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Tennessee (30-27)
Despite owning the No. 1 defense in the NFL this season, Rosenthal believes the Titans “match up well” with a Patriots team that struggles against more athletic and mobile quarterbacks. As is their normal recipe for success, Rosenthal sees the Titans having success on the ground, which will setup Tannehill and A.J. Brown for big plays en route to an upset victory.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots (27-23)
While Iyer certainly respects what the Titans can do on the ground and on offense in general, he doesn’t think Tennessee’s defense is going to be able to do enough to stop Tom Brady and Co. He expects some big plays from Tennessee’s offense, but in the end he gives the edge to the Pats’ offense and a defense that will bend but won’t break.
Tadd Haislop, Sporting News: Patriots (27-17)
Haislop says the Titans aren’t happy to see the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs, but I would respectfully disagree with that. Despite the Pats’ championship pedigree, the Titans match up as well, if not better with them than the other two teams they could have faced (the Texans or Chiefs).
Moving along, Haislop likes New England’s defense to stop Brown and Henry, and he gives the Pats’ offense much more credit than most. Haislop also notes that the Pats haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2012, and it’s been a decade since their last opening-round loss.