|10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:� , November 11, 2018|
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee Weather: 46°, Clear Attendance: 69,363
Belichick faces former player when Patriots meet Titans
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
- Including postseason, the Patriots have won seven straight meetings with the Titans, with each of the last five wins coming by at least 17 points. The last team to beat any opponent by 17+ points in six consecutive meetings was the Rams against the Packers from 1949-51.
- After starting 1-2, New England has reeled off six straight wins. The Patriots have had a win streak of at least six games in each of the last five seasons; the only other teams to do that all-time were the 1989-95 49ers (seven straight) and the 2004-09 Colts (six straight).
- The Titans snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday with a 28-14 win at Dallas. Tennessee went 11-for-14 (78.6 percent) on third down, the highest percentage by any team this season and the team's highest since November 26, 1995 vs. Denver (9-for-11, 81.8 percent).
- Tennessee and New England are first and second in the NFL, respectively, in both fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards this season. They also rank 1-2 in best average starting field position after a kickoff.
- Since losing his first career start against Tennessee in 2002, Tom Brady has won seven straight against the Titans (including postseason). Brady has 16 touchdown passes and one interception in his career against the Titans, the best TD/INT ratio by any player against any opponent in the Super Bowl era (minimum 250 attempts).
- Last week, Marcus Mariota had his first game this season with multiple touchdown passes and zero interceptions. His most recent such game had been against the Patriots in last season's Divisional Playoff.
- Falcons' McKinley has mental evaluation
- Panthers unsure if Newton needs surgery
- Pederson: Wentz Eagles QB going forward
- Parry named Super Bowl LIII referee
- Chiefs activate starting guard from IR
Mike Vrabel gets to face one of his mentors on Sunday when the Tennessee Titans host Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The AFC East-leading Patriots (7-2) will be seeking their seventh consecutive victory against the Titans (4-4).
While Vrabel never coached under Belichick, he did play for him for eight years as a linebacker and obviously learned some things while playing for the legendary Patriots coach.
"I can't deny the fact I played there for eight years and we had a lot of success," Vrabel said. "Bill was my coach. He traded me to Kansas City, we didn't talk for a couple months, maybe a year.
"Then we became friends, and I used him as a resource when I started my coaching career, and still talk to him a lot now. This week we're competitors. We're always competitors as far as I'm still coaching and so is he. I guess it's unique from that standpoint."
The Vrabel connection to the Patriots is one of several with the Titans. There's general manager Jon Robinson, who was a scout in New England and now heads up the Titans' front office; defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler, guard Josh Kline and running back Dion Lewis.
Belichick downplayed the connections.
"We have to get ready for everybody," Belichick said. "We know Kline, and Dion, and Malcolm, and Logan," he said. "They have a lot of guys on their defense besides them. They all know us, that's the way it is every week in this league. There are always players that we had or they had. It's the National Football League."
But Belichick did speak fondly of Vrabel.
"Mike was a tremendous player. He had great work ethic, and very, very smart," Belichick said. "He's like that as a coach on the field. He can handle a lot of responsibility. He is very instinctive of the game, it came easy to him. He's a really hard working -- great condition, he can go all day.
"He took a lot of reps in practice and in the game. He never really needed to come out of the game or practice. He had great stamina. Mike is very passionate for football. He has natural leadership."
Butler has struggled with the Titans, but Vrabel hasn't yet shown signs of giving up on the cornerback, even after he gave up two touchdowns last week in a 28-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
"When you play man coverage, you have to look at your man," Vrabel said. "Malcolm knows that, and we've talked about that, and we continue to practice it, we continue to coach it and we try to show it to him."
Butler addressed his woes on Wednesday.
"I just have to play my game and be more disciplined and do the little things right," he said. "It's the little things that are affecting me. I'm trying to make plays when they're not there, and I've got to be more disciplined."
Butler and the Tennessee defense have the unenviable challenge of trying to slow down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Two of Brady's favorite targets are wide receivers Julian Edelman (31 receptions) and Josh Gordon (22 catches since arriving from Cleveland).
Brady prevailed in a dual with Aaron Rodgers last Sunday when the Patriots came away with a 31-17 victory.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards last week against Dallas as Tennessee ended a three-game losing streak. Mariota threw two touchdown passes and also rushed for another one.
Updated November 8, 2018