The first round of the postseason routinely features difficult games to handicap, and that continues to be true as we make NFL playoff predictions for the Titans visiting the Patriots on Saturday night in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
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Titans vs. Patriots Predictions: 2020 NFL Playoff Betting Odds, Pick For Wild Card Weekend
The New England Patriots (12-4) win their division yet again but faltered in Week 17 and are now forced to enter the Wild Card round as the third seed in the AFC playoff standings. They'll host the No. 6 seed Tennessee Titans (9-7) as 4.5-point favorites at most NJ betting sites including SugarHouse with the total at 43.5 points
The Patriots probably didn't expect to play on Wild Card weekend and likely planned to rest up in preparation for a home game in the divisional round in two weeks. After the massive disappointment in Week 17, however, the Patriots' response is what bettors will be trying to figure out.
Tennessee has scored at least 20 points in every single game since October 20th, led by the implementation of backup QB Ryan Tannehill under center. The veteran passer's presence has helped further open Tennessee's dangerous run game led by rushing champion Derrick Henry (1,540 yards), making this more well-rounded offense to compete with.
One negative for the offense is having the second-worst adjusted sack rate of any playoff team, per metrics from Football Outsiders. Against a defense that ranks tops in the league in total defensive DVOA (including No. 1 against the pass), protecting Tannehill and not becoming one-dimensional is key for Tennessee.
New England's offense has been downright ugly for long stretches of games during the 2019 season, and they'll likely need to score at least a couple of touchdowns against the Titans to win this game. With all of its issues and lack of fluidity, the Patriots still rank in the top 10 in points per play, which signals an ability to control the ball and the clock.
These intangibles are what a flawed team needs in order to win in the postseason and they should be taken into account when making NFL Wild Card picks.
2020 NFL Playoff Predictions: Wild Card Picks Against The Spread For Titans vs. Patriots
For our money, nobody likes being doubted or seeking revenge more than the Patriots, and once again they'll have bulletin board material from the doubters saying this is a game Tennessee can win. Well, two things can be true at once: the Patriots aren't the group we've seen in years past, and Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind.
The Titans' offense ranks higher than New England's in almost every major category, but we are putting that into perspective. There's no doubt that Tennesee's run has been impressive, but its only win against a quality opponent came in Week 10 against Kansas City (Houston sat its starting units in Week 17).
The New England defense is still among the best in the league, especially against the pass, and you can bet Belichick will have something dialed up for a team that probably didn't expect to play a defensive unit this strong in the first round.
Belichick also dominates when going against assistants or disciples of his, as Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is. No, Vrabel didn't coach for the Pats but played for years in New England, which means a game of cat and mouse is coming. Normally, it's Belichick who wins those kinds of battles. Being that New England lost to both Houston (Bill O'Brien) and Miami (Brian Flores), we'd even say Belichick is due to beat up on one of his old comrades.
We expect this version of the Patriots, flaws and all, to win this game by around a touchdown and go back to Kansas City for a rematch of the 2019 AFC Championship game.
Pick: New England Patriots -4.5 (-110) - Bet On NFL Playoffs At SugarHouse
Titans vs. Patriots Picks: NFL Wild Card Prop Bets For AFC Playoffs
- Patriots Win & Under 44.5 Points (+175) - Among the most popular options during the NFL season is combining the winner and the total into a same-game parlay, and the same can be done during the playoffs. We're eliminating the spread and taking New England to win, plus the under, for improved odds of +175 for the first of our Wild Card prop bets.
- Julian Edelman Over 5.5 Receptions (+100) - Edelman has been banged up for the past few weeks, but he's also the only wideout Tom Brady can rely on, and the Patriots need him this Saturday. He made it clear that the Patriots are hungry going into the Wild Card round, and we're expecting at least six catches against the Titans' defense for Brady's most important weapon.
- Derrick Henry Over 99.5 Rushing Yards & Titans Win (+375) - This one is for you, Patriots haters. Think of this bet as a correlation between Henry's success and the titans winning the game. Sure, Ryan Tannehill as performed well, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where New England shuts down Henry and Tennessee still wins. For the titans to win, the NFL rushing champion needs to do his part, so if you're going against the Patriots consider taking a shot with Henry going for 100 yards as well.
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2020 NFL Playoff Bracket: NFC, AFC Playoff Standings Going into Wild Card Weekend
As it turns out, the 2020 NFL playoff bracket wound up looking just a little bit different than we imagined prior to Week 17. The Patriots' stunning loss to Miami changed the entire face fo the AFC playoff standings, forcing New England to play during Wild Card weekend for the first time in a decade as Kansas City secures the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
In the NFC, there are three 13-3 teams for two spots. San Francisco's thrilling win over Seattle landed it the top overall seed with Green Bay at No. 2, meaning New Orleans has to play during the Wild Card round AND travel to Green Bay in the divisional round if it wins.
If you read our playoff prediction articles from the final few weeks of the regular season, you'd find us urging bettors to look at Kansas City +350 to win the AFC and Green Bay to win the NFC at +600. Odds are now down drastically for both, but there still may be some opportunity for futures getting action. Here are the seedings and playoff matchups for the opening round of the postseason:
AFC Playoff Standings
- Baltimore Ravens (14-2)*
- Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)*
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- Houston Texans (10-6)
- Buffalo Bills (10-6)
- Tennessee Titans (9-7)
*First Round Bye
Wild Card Round: Titans vs. Patriots, Bills vs. Texans
Divisional Round: Bills-Texans Winner vs. Ravens or Chiefs, Titans-Patriots winner vs. Chiefs or Ravens
NFC Playoff Standings
- San Francisco 49ers (13-3)*
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)*
- New Orleans Saints (13-3)
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
*First Round Bye
Wild Card Round: Vikings vs. Saints, Seahawks vs. Eagles
Divisional Round: Seahawks-Eagles winner vs. 49ers or Packers, Vikings-Saints winner vs. Packers or 49ers
Need some advice on football wagering for the postseason? Visit our NFL playoffs betting guide for everything you need to know!