Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Where to watch: CBS
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Patriots -7
BetMGM: Patriots -6.5
Caesars: Patriots -7
Titans: 8-3 (1st place, AFC South)
Patriots: 7-4 (1st place, AFC East)
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Titans - Patriots preview and analysis
Titans: lost 22-13 vs. Texans
Patriots: won 25-0 at Falcons (Thursday Night Football)
The New England Patriots could be the top team in the AFC when this week is over. If you had that on your bingo cards when the season began, feel free to mark it off and then throw it away because you're a liar.
The Patriots, coming in winners of five straight games, will try to make it six and increase their lead in the AFC East when they host the Tennessee Titans in Foxboro on Sunday.
What we've learned about the Patriots is that loss to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime might have been the turning point of their season. New England has won five straight having allowed just 50 combined points. In four of those games, the Patriots have allowed less than 14 points.
Never, ever say anything bad about a Bill Belichick-coached defense.
New England's run continued with a 25-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones had a near-clean sheet, going 22 of 26 for 207 yards and a touchdown, but did throw an interception.
Given how well the kid has played this season, let that one slide.
"We're catching our stride," said linebacker Matt Judon, who increased his career-best to 10.5 sacks. "We're playing with a lot of confidence."
If you've taken the Patriots at the books over the last month and change, you've also been rewarded. The Patriots have covered the last five against the spread and all by comfortable margins. New England has been favorites in all but one game; against the Los Angeles Chargers when the Patriots were 3.5-point dogs and won outright.
But that defense has been more than just good. The Patriots have allowed only four touchdowns in the last five games, intercepting 12 passes and recording 15 sacks. Games have gotten so out of hand that running games are getting 4.6 yards per attempt, but quarterbacks are only getting 5.5 yards per attempt.
"I feel like we've got one of the best defenses in the league," said cornerback J.C. Jackson, referencing the league-low 16.1 points per game his defense has obtained.
The Titans are next in an attempt to solve this defense, and they couldn't be coming into a more drastic situation than 7-point underdogs after losing by nine at home to the Houston Texans.
Tennessee, more notably quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is coming off the worst game of his career with his four-interception game. The Pro Bowler has also been sacked 31 times.
Did I mention they're coming off a loss to the Texans?
“The fact that we were in that game fighting, swinging tells me a lot about our football team, our character,” coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. “Nobody wants to be in that position. We have to do everything we can to avoid being in that type of position. But proud of the effort. We just have to be better.”
The Titans are still without star running back Derrick Henry and waived veteran Adrian Peterson ahead of Sunday's matchup. Julio Jones will also miss the game. It looks like the bulk of the action in the backfield will go to Dontrell Hilliard, who had 82 yards from scrimmage last week. Tennessee covered the previous five before losing the last two ATS against the New Orleans Saints and Houston.
Tannehill threw 52 times last week and the Titans will not win with that gameplan. Someone is going to need to play an impact in the running game and stay consistent with that. Tennessee, who lost to Zach Wilson and the Jets earlier in the season, don't have a fine track record against rookie QBs. The Patriots have the edge in all phases, and it'd be the most shocking result of the year if they didn't win and cover. Patriots by 14
Titans are 5-1 ATS in their last six as a road dog of 3.5 to 7 points.
Titans are 21-30 ATS since 1992 against AFC East teams.
Patriots are 17-16 ATS as a favorite in last 33, and 23-11 straight-up.
Patriots are 7-6 ATS in last 13 after allowing 75 rush yards or less last game.
Players to watch
Titans: Wide receiver A.J. Brown has at least five receptions in five of his last six games. He will try for his straight game of at least seven receptions and 80 yards against an AFC East team.
Patriots: Receiver Jakobi Meyers is one of three wide receivers in the AFC with at least four receptions in 10 games this season.
Passing: Ryan Tannehill -- 2,681 yards, 13 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Derrick Henry -- 937 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: A.J. Brown -- 615 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Harold Landry -- 10 sacks
Passing: Mac Jones -- 2,540 yards, 14 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Damien Harris -- 603 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Jakobi Meyers -- 522 yards, 1 TD
Defense: J.C. Jackson -- 6 INT
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