It’s a Wild Weekend with the Patriots front and center
Of course there is a lot of speculation on what may happen with the future of the New England Patriots as we know it.
But what happened in the recent past – just last week – was really wild. And as a result, we’re looking at old friend Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans coming to Gillette Stadium tonight – yeah, the “viper’s den” for an AFC Wild Card matchup.
How ironic if Vrabel could end the Patriot run.
“Is Matt Light the left tackle?,” Vrabel said this week when asked about what’s changed since he was a Patriots linebacker. “Is Dan Koppen the center? I mean Tom’s the quarterback and that’s about the only player. …There’s carryover the schemes change on defense, the schemes change on offense. You learn that from Bill – like every year is different.”
And this year for the Patriots has been unlike any other, with the offense taking a back seat to the defense. Vrabel certainly know this.
“You do what you have to do to give your team the best chance to win each and every week,” he said. “There’s one opponent.”
Vrabel knows this opponent very well. He’s been so beloved by Patriot fans in the past, but he could have a different spot in the team’s history tonight. And not a popular one.
Let’s see how Wild things get today, tonight and tomorrow:
PATRIOTS 24, TITANS 17
Does anyone think the Patriots will lay two eggs in a row at Gillette, the second being a playoff game? Of course not. But then again, did anyone expect New England to give up a game-winning drive to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins last Sunday? No way. The key here will be stopping Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, but also, can the Patriots score enough points against a defense that may get one of its better corners, Adoree’ Jackson, to full health for the first time in weeks? New England has been iffy against the run all season, but it’s do or die and yeah, in Bill We Trust.
TEXANS 27, BILLS 20
Another tight game, and sure, Buffalo has offered some evidence that it could send Houston coach Bill O’Brien to an early shower. In these games, you have to boil it down to the better quarterback. Both Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen can run, but Watson is the much more accurate passer. The Texans are also getting J.J. Watt back for this one, but will he really be able to make a difference after so much time missed? Watson over Allen, especially since this is Allen’s first playoff start. If that doesn’t work, then O’Brien could be in trouble.
SAINTS 34, VIKINGS 17
There’s not going to be any Minneapolis Miracle in this one. The Who Dats have had two straight bad “Wha happened” in the playoffs, but Drew Brees should take charge in this one at home. In fact, it’s a shame that the Saints aren’t one of the top two seeds as they look to these eyes like the best team in the NFC. The Vikings have had a nice bounce-back year, but Kirk Cousins likely won’t be able to outplay Drew Brees in this one. And that’s what would have to happen for the Vikes to pull off the upset against team that usually dominates at home.
SEAHAWKS 17, EAGLES 13
It’s incredible that the Seahawks have lost four games at home this season. They do own a 17-9 win earlier this year over the Eagles, whose QB, Carson Wentz, will be making his first playoff start (it’s been Nick Foles the previous two years, remember).
Seattle rushed for 174 yards in that win back in November, but has had some offensive line injuries since and were so desparate it had to sign Marshawn Lynch.
Philly enters hot with a four-game winning streak. But Seattle was tied for a league best 7-1 road mark, and QB Russell Wilson is 4-0 vs. the Eagles and threw for 31 TDs this year. Tough call, lots of reason to pick the Eagles, but the Seahawks are the better team.
LAST WEEK: 4-3
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251 or email@example.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).