12/30/19 By Tyler Englander
Boston, MA- For the first time since the 2009 season, the New England Patriots will play on Wild Card Weekend. The Patriots will play on the opening weekend of the playoffs after they squandered a shot at a first round bye against the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots fell to the Brian Flores led Dolphins 27-24 Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. The loss coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win over the Los Angeles Chargers means the Patriots fell to the AFC’s third seed, setting up a matchup with the sixth seeded Tennessee Titans.
The Titans secured a playoff berth on the seasons final day by beating the AFC South Champion Houston Texans 35-14.
The Titans are coached by former Patriot Mike Vrabel. Vrabel spent eight seasons with the Patriots from 2001-2008 winning three Super Bowls. In addition, former Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees is now in the same position with the Titans.
Offensively, the Titans are led by familiar foe Ryan Tannehill, who is in his first season with the Titans after seven with the Miami Dolphins. In his career against the Patriots, Tannehill is 4-7 with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
As for the ground game, Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards with 1540 and was tied for the league lead in touchdowns with 16.
In the teams most recent matchup, the Titans beat the Patriots 34-10 in Week 10 last season. The Patriots weren’t able to contain current Titans backup quarterback Marcus Mariota in the matchup last year as he threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns. As for the Patriots, they struggled to run the ball against the Vrabel/Pees defense, rushing for only 40 yards all afternoon.
It will be interesting to see if Vrabel’s familiarity with the Patriots will influence the outcome on Saturday. The game will kickoff at 8:15 and will be broadcast on CBS. A Patriots win and they’ll play the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round. A Patriots loss and it’s on to what promises to be an interesting offseason in Foxborough.