Thoughts on Titans in Divisional Round vs. Patriots.

Thoughts on Titans in Divisional Round vs. Patriots.

  1. Penalties did not go the Titan’s way in  the slightest- Many times, particularly in the first half, there were penalties that did not make a lot of sense. Of course, you could find penalties that were called correctly but there were a few that completely changed the tide of the game.
  2. Taylor Lewan looked lost- He allowed two or three sacks on Mariota and for the first time this year, was probably the weakest link on the offensive line. Another thing to note is that Jack Conklin went down with a leg injury and did not return, causing Dennis Kelly to play as right tackle, also letting pressure in.
  3. Mariota looked more rattled as time went on- This game was not his fault, and he even came out pretty strong, but he did not keep his composure as time went on. I feel it was more on the team around him not getting open and him just trying to find anybody, but none the less he looked rattled on the road.
  4. Can not stop receiving backs- Dion Lewis could not be stopped out of the backfield and the fact the Titans do not switch out lineman was the real killer on most drives. The Patriots wore them down with no huddle and ran a lot of short routes that allowed for quick pacing down the field.
  5. Both the offensive and defensive scheme were terrible- Many questionable play calls on he offensive side, as usual, and Mariota usually bails them out but could not this time. On the defensive side, there was a lot of miscommunication, and even though the Patriots insisted on running short slants and out routes the Titans played their corners nine or more yards off the wide receivers.
  6. Wide receivers had some really questionable hands- There were a total of four drops by Titan receivers in this game, and one more that did not technically count because of a DPI. The receivers are letting the team down and that is a main reason why the Titans could not manage to do something. Corey Davis had a surprisingly stable game and made a really good catch in the endzone, but did not have a huge impact on the game.
  7. Run game could not get it done- This does not make a lot of sense when you really think about it, but it was not effective against a weak run defense. The whole scheme of Terry Robiskie’s usually awful offense is running multiple blocking tight end or an extra offensive lineman to be powerful in a smash mouth offense. Unfortunately, that does not work due to the other team basically knowing when the Titan’s will run due to those ques such as the extra offensive lineman. If you can not convert short yardage situations as a run first team you should consider switching gears, which they have not as of now.
  8. The Titans did not run no-huddle- There were a lot of people saying the Titans would run more no huddle after they did pretty well against the Chiefs last week, but they did not. This is a major issue in my eyes because it shows Mularkey’s unwillingness to adapt when necessary. If you want to become a team like the Patriots or Steelers, you have to be flexible as a coach and be open to new effective ideas.
  9. Defense was pretty awful- Brady shredded the defense left and right. He did it mostly short but also got quite a few passes deep to Gronkowski. The Titans had no answer after stopping the Patriots the first two drives.
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Rookies Impressing in the NFL Preseason: AFC Edition

The young ones are making their names known.

Now in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, teams are eager to see how their rookies are panning out thus far.

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32 Teams in 32 Days: New England Patriots

32 Teams in 32 Days: New England Patriots

Key Additions 

Mike Gillislee: Gillislee was one of New England’s quieter free agency acquisitions this offseason, but could be a large part of their offense this season. Formerly of the Buffalo Bills, Gillislee sat behind star running back Lesean McCoy and was a solid compliment to him as a number two back. As apart of the Patriots, Gillislee has the chance to become a productive member of this offense.

Brandin Cooks: Acquired via trade with the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a first round pick, wide receiver Brandin Cooks is set to become Tom Brady’s new favorite target. His ground-breaking speed and catch radius skills will give this offense a new dimension. Cooks will benefit from his fellow receivers as he won’t be constantly double-teamed, since Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will catch defensive coordinator’s attention.

Stephon Gilmore: Formerly of the Buffalo Bills, star cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined the Patriots in free agency this offseason. Gilmore is a good mix of being a ball hawk as well as a sound tackling corner. He and Malcolm Butler will form one of the league’s top cornerback duo and help New England compete for another Super Bowl run.

The Offense

The offense is one of the best in the league. 40 year old quarterback Tom Brady remains among one of the best players in the league and shows few signs of regression. The receiving corps is loaded with depth and the addition of Brandin Cooks makes this group elite. If healthy, tight end Rob Gronkowski is easily the best at his position. The offensive line is a top 15 unit, and if left tackle Nate Solder comes back healthy from injury and plays well, this group could be at the brink of being a top 10 unit.

The Defense 

The defense isn’t as good as the offense, but it’s still a top 10 unit. The defensive line is young but could see an improvement this year with a solid season from Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown.

The linebackers are lead by star linebacker Dont’a Hightower and can see more veteran leadership from free agency signing David Harris, formerly of the New York Jets. Other players like Elandon Roberts and Shea McClellin round out a solid unit.

The secondary is by far the biggest strength on this defense. Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler will prove to be a solid duo. Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung make this secondary an elite group.

Team Schedule and Season Outlook

Best Case Scenario: (14-2)

I don’t buy into the 16-0 hype that’s around this team. Although this team could reach those heights because of their talent, the schedule is too difficult to go undefeated. Playing the AFC West and the NFC South will be challenging and they’re bound to lose to teams that are worse than them.

If they go 14-2, they’ll only lose to competitive teams like the Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons or Steelers. They’ll need to forget about winning Super Bowl LI and focus primarily on this season.

Worst Case Scenario: (11-5)

I think their worst case scenario is their most realistic scenario. Winning back to back Super Bowls is a struggle in itself. Add the fact that their schedule is loaded with playoff contenders, and they’ll have a tough time winning more than 11 games. It won’t matter too much since they’re bound to win the division, but they are not a shoe-in to have a first round bye. Look for the Patriots to have a small Super Bowl hangover.

My Predictions

Week 1: vs. Kansas City

Result: (0-1)

Week 2: @ New Orleans

Result: (1-1)

Week 3: vs. Houston

Result: (2-1)

Week 4: vs. Carolina

Result: (3-1)

Week 5: @ Tampa Bay

Result: (4-1)

Week 6: @ NY Jets

Result: (5-1)

Week 7: vs. Atlanta

Result: (5-2)

Week 8: vs. LA Chargers

Result: (5-3)

Week 9: Bye Week

Week 10: @ Broncos

Result: (6-3)

Week 11: @ Oakland

Result: (6-4)

Week 12: vs. Miami

Result: (6-5)

Week 13: @ Buffalo

Result: (7-5)

Week 14: @ Miami

Result: (8-5)

Week 15: @ Pittsburgh

Result: (9-5)

Week 16: vs. Buffalo

Result: (10-5)

Week 17: vs. NY Jets

Result: (11-5)

In conclusion, the Patriots will make the playoffs by winning the AFC East (again). Their tough schedule and recent Super Bowl win will make this team underwhelm compared to their lofty expectations.