Patriots Playoffs: 5 keys to beat the Titans in the Divisional Round

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Stephon Gilmore
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Stephon Gilmore /
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FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 26: Stephon Gilmore /

The New England Patriots finally get back to football on Saturday night as they take on the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The New England Patriots have been off for nearly two weeks after beating the Jets in week 17 of the NFL season. That win gave them the #1 seed in the AFC and they were afforded a bye last week, so they got to sit back and watch the Wild Card games.

The Tennessee Titans completed a comeback over the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend and the Jaguars beat the Bills, so Tennessee got the game in Foxboro. Saturday night at 8:15 PM, the Titans will clash with the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs, and these are New England’s 5 keys to victory.

5. Win the turnover battle

The Patriots were 11th in the NFL this season with a +6 turnover differential. They turned the ball over 12 times (8 interceptions, 4 fumbles), but they were able to force 18 turnovers of their own. The defense got their hands on 12 interceptions and 6 fumbles.

Tennessee was closer to the bottom of the league in terms of turnover differential, tied at 23rd at -4. Marcus Mariota threw 15 interceptions in the regular season and he had another against the Chiefs last weekend.

New England’s defense will have to take advantage of all of their opportunities to force turnovers on Saturday, and not just with the classic 4th quarter Duron Harmon takeaway. Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler both will be in favorable matchups against Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews. The Titans top-threat through the air is tight end Delanie Walker, and safety Patrick Chung should lock him down. If the front seven can rattle Mariota, the turnovers could come drive after drive.