The New England Patriots are in unfamiliar territory playing on Wildcard Weekend but do have a chance to serve some revenge against the Tennessee Titans.
There is nothing unfamiliar when it comes to Saturday night’s Wild Card game between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
While the sting of not locking down a first-round bye still lingers, the team has to move on and there is no better motivation than facing off against a team that punched them in the face last season.
When the Patriots went down to Music City, old friend Mike Vrabel and his team served them a whipping with a 34-10 victory. Of course, the dynasty was predicted to be over after that game as overreaction took over the NFL.
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The end results?
Well, the New England Patriots eventually got it together and won Super Bowl LIII, while the Titans fells off a bit failing to make the playoffs. But, don’t think the Patriots players forgot about that beatdown as they prepare for the Wild Card matchup at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots outspoken linebacker Kyle Van Noy is embracing the matchup with Tennessee as an opportunity for some payback.
"“We have a chance to ago on a revenge tour, and what better way than to start off with Tennessee who we lost to last year?,” Van Noy questioned, via Masslive.com. “(It’s) a big motivation. We weren’t happy about our performance, and they’re coming into our house. What better way than to get it started for the playoffs?”"
If that is not enough motivation, the New England Patriots have been basically slotted as an underdog by most around the NFL, even their own fans who saw last week’s shocking loss to the Miami Dolphins as a dose of reality that this team just isn’t good enough to make a three-game run through the playoffs.
There are even some who feel Tom Brady is the worst AFC quarterback entering the playoffs. When it comes to stats and the simple eye test, there isn’t much of an argument against that when the list contains Patrick Mahomes II, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson.
The quarterback with the most playoff experience and the team that makes a habit out of turning bulletin board material into their own motivation will have plenty of that going into Saturday.
With the Kansas City Chiefs and potentially the Baltimore Ravens on the horizon, the Patriots can’t look past this Tennessee Titans team that have all the ingredients to end their season on Saturday night.
If Kyle Van Noy and the defense play like they did against the Miami Dolphins, there will be no chance at any revenge tour.
Quite frankly, this playoff run is not really about those teams. This playoff run is about the New England Patriots on both sides of the field, including the coaching. They need to find their identity and ride with it. Most importantly, they need to start doing the punching instead of taking the punches.
Earned not given is their mantra and they will certainly have to earn a chance to win Super Bowl No. 7.