John’s Well-Educated Guesses: Divisional Round

It’s always been my dream to start a blog series that would go until the end of the season.  This is one blog in that series, and I will answer for my predictions next week.  

Disclaimer: My takes are almost always correct.  So buckle up- buckaroo.

As I’ve mentioned before, last week is my favorite of the year.  Number 1 seed with a bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Nothing to do but drink beer and watch other teams beat the crap out of each other.  

I went in fully knowing the Pats would play either the Bills, Chiefs or Titans.  I always want to avoid a divisional opponent in the playoffs as they build their team trying to slow us down, and It’s also hard to beat a team three times in one year (Even if the actual stats don’t back that up, my dumb brain still thinks it’s true)…So I was happy to see Buffalo bite the dust.  The Chiefs also scared me based on what they did to us in Week 1, and although they had to put together the perfect game with multiple broken plays, they have shown they can do it.

So I guess I got my wish with the Tennessee Titans coming to town for a playoff game this Saturday night.  I know that we don’t overlook opponents in New England.  Especially if they have been good enough to make the playoffs and win a game….but is anyone else just not sweating it?
The Titans just don’t strike fear into me like the Texans or the Chiefs have playing in this round.  From a wide perspective, it just feels like they don’t have the explosiveness on offense to keep up, and they don’t have a defense that can clamp us down.  I don’t know if I’m oversimplifying it, but that’s how I feel.

Marcus Mariota has been pretty mediocre this season, and I think that is being nice.  As with any young, mobile QB, the thing that scares me is his ability to run when a play breaks down.  I expect the defense to play contain and to force him to keep his eyes down field which I have not seen him be able to do.  Derrick Henry is a good, workhorse back that can take some pressure off.  However I fully expect our defense to be able to stop the run (Heres your time to shine Elandon Roberts).  Other than that, they have Delanie Walker….and…….Eric Decker? Tyrell Williams?  Does that count as someone that will worry you?

Can’t say I'm too familiar with their defense, so I’ll just rely on general stats.  They rank 17th in points per game at 22.2, letting up 328 yards per game which is 13th in the league.  25th in the league at 239 pass yards per game.  They are -4 in turnover ratio….So, some decent numbers overall, but doesn’t it take a transcendent defense to stop Tom and company?  He is certainly capable of laying an egg (See the game in Miami), but besides some decent guys like Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, who is going to ruin this game?

Anyways, before I jinx everything, let’s make some predictions.

Prediction:  Titans score 17 or less – This is the time of year that it really matters, and I think our defense will buckle down.  The talking heads can bitch about stats and season averages all they want, but the first six weeks don’t count on Saturday.

Prediction:  One Interception for Brady – Am I wrong, or is he good for one pick per playoff game?  At least it seems like it.  

Prediction:  Pats win 31-17 – Pray for no injuries and let’s get ready for the season to start next week.  It is tough when you only have a two game season every year, but it starts by hosting the AFC title game.  I want this Super Bowl bad to close out the double dynasty.  WHY NOT US?