New England Patriots defensive matchups with Tennessee receivers

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 10: Eric Decker /
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New England Patriots
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 20: Rishard Matthews /

WR Rishard Matthews v. CB Malcolm Butler

Matthews 2017 Stats: 53 receptions, 795 yards, 4 touchdowns

Butler 2017 Stats: 55 tackles, 1.0 sack, 3 forced fumbles, 12 passes defended, 2 interceptions

In theory, Rishard Matthews is the Tennessee Titans best pure wide receiver, but he was targeted just twice last week against the Chiefs and he didn’t have a single catch. Kansas City was able to shut him down, and New England should be able to once again as well.

Malcolm Butler struggles with slot receivers like Eric Decker, so sliding Stephon Gilmore into that role and allowing Butler to lock up with Matthews makes the most sense. He’s put together a solid season as the #2 corner for the Patriots with 12 passes defended and 2 interceptions, and he could be a difference maker on Saturday night. Expect to see a lot of 1-on-1 matchups between these two players, with New England and Butler having the slight edge. Realistically, the Patriots want to force the Titans to win on the ground and this matchup will be key to that desire.