Tom Brady does just about everything well as quarterback of the New England Patriots, but there is a special place in his heart for two things: blowing out Divisional Round opponents, and destroying the Tennessee Titans. On Saturday, he has a chance to do both, and considering the specifics of the matchup, that's exactly what he's going to do.
Let's start with the Titans' defense. In short, they are not good against the pass. They are ranked 25th in both passing offense and passing touchdowns allowed. Football Outsiders ranks them 24th in pass-defense DVOA at a whopping 19% below average. When Brady's former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, faced off with the Titans last month, he torched them for 381 yards on over 70 percent completions. If that's what happens when the Titans take on Brady's understudy, what will happen when they come face to face with the real thing?
History says bad things. According to NFL Research, Brady has a 6-1 record against the Titans in his career and an undefeated 6-0 record against teams coached by Mike Mularkey. His touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio in those games is a whopping 13:1. To put into perspective how incredible that is, Brady's career ratio is approximately 3:1. The numbers get even crazier when you throw in Dick LeBeau, the Titans' defensive coordinator. According to Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald, Brady throws for over 300 yards per game against him, and the Patriots average almost 33 points per game when Brady faces LeBeau.
So when Brady faces the specific opponents he will take on Saturday, he destroys them. But even if it weren't the Titans, Brady would be on track for a blowout. The Divisional Round might as well be the preseason for Brady.
Brady is 11-2 in the Divisional Round for his career, with his only home loss coming against the New York Jets in 2010. He throws for approximately 285 yards in those games, and while his 92.7 quarterback rating in the round may not seem all that impressive, remember that it comes against playoff-level competition. Where Brady really shines, though, is in leading his team to big victories in that round.
The Patriots have won their last five Divisional Round games by a combined 98 points. That's almost 20 per game, and some of them have been far worse blowouts than that. In 2011, Brady led the Patriots to a 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. In 2013, he torched the Indianapolis Colts in a 43-22 victory. Brady likely would have posted bigger stats if his team wasn't ahead by so much, but he is literally so good that his stats are deflated.
When you consider all of these factors, this doesn't just look like a win for the Patriots. It's going to be a blowout, one with Brady taking the lead. The Patriots beat up on mediocre teams in the Divisional Round every year, and the negative point differential Titans are just sitting there on a silver platter for them. All Brady needs to do is what he always does.
Agree or disagree, you'll have every chance to prove it LIVE after the game kicks off and we hurl predictions at the SnapCall audience the same way Brady will be hurling balls downfield to open receivers. Be sure to go in NOW and make your pregame picks on the point spread and over/under on the Schedule page. The top three scorers from this weekend's games will find their way onto the Bragboard, so put some time aside and join us as the season reaches its breaking point.