After 12 games, the Tennessee Titans were 8-4 and looked like a team that could make some noise in the playoff. Then, they went on a three-game losing streak and needed to beat the Jaguars in Week 17, which they did, to make the playoffs.
Last week, in the wild-card round of the playoffs, the Titans were down 21-3 at halftime against the Chiefs. Then, Marcus Mariota caught his own pass for a touchdown; Derrick Henry started running the ball with purpose, the offense came alive, and just like that, the Titans beat the Chiefs 22-21 in Kansas City.
Now, they go to New England to battle the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday night.
Not many are giving the Titans a chance against the Patriots, but Hall of Famer Willie Roaf thinks the Titans have a shot:
“I think people are sleeping on Tennessee,” Roaf told the Go4it podcast with Paul Gant.
Roaf explained why he thinks Tennessee has a shot against the Patriots:
“If Tom Brady isn’t on top of things, that defense for Tennessee is underrated,” Roaf said. “The offensive line is excellent; you know they are running downhill. They are an old-school football team. If they keep it close, they’re dangerous. I worry about New England. Don’t take this game for granted because (Marcus) Mariota can beat you with his arms and with his legs. He can make plays, and he made plays against Kansas City last week. This is a team that wants to hang around, hang around. They run the ball. Look at the time of possession in the second half. The Chiefs were not even on the field. And 37(Johnathan Cyprien) is a head hunter. He took Kelce out, and he covers well. I’m telling you this is a team Tennessee the way that they play. If New England jumps on them early, I think it will be a blow out. If New England does not jump on this team early, and let them hang around, they will be dangerous. They’re a dangerous team.”
The Titans have to play a lot better against the Patriots than they did against the Chiefs. If you get down 21-3 against the Patriots, you’re probably not coming back. Therefore, Tennessee needs to get out early, get production from Henry and the run game, and hope that Mariota can make a few plays with his arm and legs.
Roaf talks Titans at 35:00