A. Devin McCourty said Thursday that the key to stopping Titans RB Deion Lewis (Pats running back 2015-2017) is to make sure every player comes to the ball. Lewis, the former Pats running back for three years, has become an integral part of the Titans offense with the reed option. Trey Flowers emphasized that point Friday. "He's a human juke box," Flowers said. "He's got the spin move, runs hard, dead legs - it's going to take a whole team to stop him. If one guy misses him then he has to trust the pursuit will come."
B. This will be a good opportunity for the Pats defense to show that they have improved their ability to stop a mobile QB. When the Pats played Chicago three weeks ago, Mitchell Trubisky ran all over the Pats defense with six rushes for 81 yards. Mariota can run and extend plays so it will be key for the Pats edge players to prevent Mariota from getting outside so the inside defenders can make plays. Other than Mariota's running ability and Deion Lewis's elusiveness - the Titans have few if any offensive weapons. Stephon Gilmore should shut down the Titans best receiver Corey Davis. Gilmore told Pats Maven that last Sunday against the Packers was the Pats best defensive performance. Gilmore has been one of the best corners in football this year.
C. The Pats will once again play a 3-4 team like they did last week against the Green Bay Packers and the Pats could have a similar strategy. The Pats could spread out the Titans to get linebackers off the field and defensive backs on the field. The Titans strength is their linebacking core along with edge rusher Jurrell Casey. Throwing the ball quickly could tire out Casey. Given that Dean Pees is the Titans defensive coordinator and he was formerly the Pats defensive coordinator, he will have some wrinkles for the Pats given his knowledge of the Pats offense. The wrinkles will likely be some creative blitz packages.
"This is a tough one. They’ve got a lot of hybrid guys, similar to last week in a way. They kind of countered us with some different matchups and this week, I’m sure it’ll be the same. I think there’s some things that we always go into the game that just are a little bit unpredictable and I think with Dean [Pees] and Mike [Vrabel], they’re going to be sure to have some different looks for us and we’ve got some different looks for them. That’s part of the chess match that goes into these games. It’s a good defense. Whatever we’ve got to do to move the ball down the field and score points, I’m cool with. Whether we bring everyone together, spread them out, we’ll just see how the game plays out," Tom Brady said.
D. New England no need to get too nervous about the Titans defense even though they are ranked highly in many categories. Here is a list of opponents the Titans have played: Miami, Houston, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Dallas. Other than Los Angeles, the rest of those offenses are pedestrian and so the Pats could have a big day against the Titans particularly with the struggles of (local hero) Titans CB Malcolm Butler. There is a theme that the Pats offense has not completely clicked yet: not sure where this thought is coming from given that the Pats have scored 38,38,43,38,25, and 31 points in their six-game winning streak after starting 1-2. Other teams only wish to have such struggles. Bottom line, when the Pats offense has needed to move the ball this year they have moved it.
Brady fondly remembered practicing against Butler and Logan Ryan. Josh Gordon could have a big game against the under-sized Ryan.
"Yeah, we had a lot. I really enjoyed playing with those guys and playing against them. They certainly challenged us on every play. They’ve gone on to have some really great contracts and I’m happy for them. They really earned it. I think when you’re a great player, you get the opportunity to do that. I know we can’t keep everybody but obviously happy for them and what they’ve accomplished. They were hugely impactful in what we were trying to do in the roles that they played. Logan was a great player, still is – incredible awareness and just such a smart player. And Malcolm, I’ve always loved playing against him and in practice, it was very competitive. He’s a very competitive person. He wants to try to win every play and hopefully we can have a good plan against that entire defense," Brady said.
E. Nice gesture by the Pats to have a Vietnam replica memorial outside Gillette Stadium Friday to honor the veterans in advance of veteran's day this Sunday November 11.