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Patriots-Titans Game Day Notebook: Roster Notes, Game Prediction and More

Can the Patriots make it six wins in a row on Sunday?

The New England Patriots have returned home to the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts for their Week Twelve matchup with the Tennessee Titans at 1:00pm ET on Sunday, November 28. The Pats are attempting to move closer to a prime position in potential playoff seeding.

The Titans are entering Sunday’s game Tennessee Titans, the team with the best record in the AFC at 8-3. This week's game will be the first meeting between the Patriots and the Titans since the first round of the AFC playoffs on Jan. 4, 2020. Tennessee knocked the Patriots out of the postseason with a 20-13 victory, in what would be Tom Brady’s fina game as a member of the Patriots. New England leads the overall regular season and postseason series, 25-18-1; with the Pats holding an 18-7-1 advantage in home games against the Titans.

Viewing/Listening:

TELEVISION:

This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen via local affiliate stations. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties with Charles Davis as the color analyst. Evan Washburn will work from the sidelines.

RADIO:

98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

Patriots Roster Notes:

For the second straight week, Patriots have opted not to elevate a player from the practice squad to the game day active roster.

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Having missed Thursday’s practice, both defensive tackle Christian Barmore (calf) and offensive lineman Trent Brown (calf) are officially ‘questionable.’ Both players returned to practice on Friday, as did running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who was limited in his participation while tending to a knee injury.

On Saturday, another name was added to the list: Cody Davis. The core special teamer is dealing with an illness, leaving his status for the contest against Tennessee in question.

Titans Roster Notes:

Though wide receiver A.J. Brown had been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup, the Titans placed the prolific wideout on injured reserve on Saturday, meaning that he will be forced to miss at least Tennessee’s next three games.

Also on Saturday, the Titans made receiver (and former Patriot) Cody Hollister and defensive back Breon Borders game day COVID-19 elevations for Sunday. Both players will revert back to the practice squad after the game.

Patriot Maven Prediction:

Essential on Offense: Run and Stay Physical

While the Patriots running game may be a bit compromised (with Rhamondre Stevenson listed as questionable with a knee injury), they will still look to run the ball. As a result, Damien Harris will get the majority of the carries on Sunday. Should the Pats allow Harris the space to maneuver, the Alabama product is capable of breaking for significant yardage. He can also be a factor when receiving out of the backfield, a trait which he exhibited during his days at Alabama. If the Titans find success against the Pats’ run protection, Harris may need to get a bit more creative with the ball. Tennessee’s defense is an aggressive unit and they will look to put pressure on Mac Jones, while sealing off the deeper part of the field. Should that happen, the Patriots will look to utilize the underneath for short-yardage gains, which could feature both Harris and Brandon Bolden.

Essential on Defense: Protect the Middle

The Patriots have been quite effective at containing the run and pressuring opposing quarterbacks. The pass rush has been formidable, and the secondary has proven to be more than capable of taking the ball away. However, if there is an area in which the Pats might be vulnerable, it would be defending against short-yardage gains off play action. If New England wants to be effective this week, they may need to move away from their predominant penchat, as of late, for zone coverage. With the Titans offense lacking the weapons to match up with the Patriots defenders, man coverage may allow them the best opportunity to do so. As a result, the Pats’ deploying Cover 3, with a safety covering mid-field could be seen often.

Final Analysis:

The Patriots may be catching the Titans at the right time, when it comes to health, this will still be a tough game for the Patriots. Tennessee plays a physical brand of football on both sides of the ball and they will continue to do that on Sunday. That being said, New England possesses the scheme and personnel to successfully counteract the Titans’ tough approach. This will be a closer one than most think, but the Patriots do just enough to pull out the victory.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Titans 17