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Front Page - Friday, November 26, 2021

Titans at Patriots: What to watch

After stubbing their toe against Houston, the Titans now head to New England to face one of the hottest teams in the league in the Patriots.

Bill Belichick has done a quick rebuild just two seasons after parting ways with Tom Brady and has the Pats tied for the AFC East lead as the Titans come to town.

First down

Make Mac Jones look like a rookie. The Titans had no luck against the Jets’ Zach Wilson earlier this year but played well against Trevor Lawrence in their first meeting with Jacksonville. Jones has had a stronger rookie season than either of those two who were chosen ahead of him in the draft. The Titans have to try and get pressure on Jones to make him make a rookie mistake or two Sunday.

Second down

Settle in on offense. The Titans are still looking to reidentify themselves on offense in the wake of the Derrick Henry injury. The defense carried Tennessee against the Rams and Saints, so there wasn’t as much pressure on the offense.

But Sunday’s effort of having Ryan Tannehill have to throw 52 times is not the answer. The Titans need to be able to run the ball effectively enough, which has not been easy without Henry, to make play-action with Tannehill effective.

Third down

Create your own breaks. Through the six-game winning streak, the Titans had been using takeaways and pressure with great success. However, that came to a screeching halt against the Texans. The Titans need to get back to rushing the passer and creating havoc on defense in order to help out their depleted offense.

Fourth down

Try to stay healthy. The bye week after the game in Foxboro looms like a light at the end of the Titans tunnel. A beat-up team that has had more than its share of games lost due to injury has to find a way to play well and focus against the Patriots, and also try to stay as healthy as possible with the much-needed bye on the horizon.