Patriots vs. Titans: Will Ryan Tannehill finally earn first win at Gillette Stadium?

Nick Goss
NBC Sports Boston

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel saved his team's season by benching 2015 No. 2 overall draft pick Marcus Mariota and naming Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback for Week 7.

Tannehill led the Titans to a 7-3 finish to the regular season and a wild card playoff berth. He completed the regular season with a 70.6 completion percentage, 2,742 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions. In fact, only New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had a better completion percentage than Tannehill in 2019.

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There's little doubt Tannehill is playing the best football of his career entering Saturday night's AFC Wild Card game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The real question is, can he beat the Patriots on the road in the playoffs? He's never started a playoff game in his eight NFL seasons, and he's still winless in Foxboro (0-6) for his career.

Here's how Tannehill's Dolphins teams fared at Gillette Stadium:

  • 2012: 28-0 loss

  • 2013: 27-17 loss

  • 2014: 41-13 loss

  • 2015: 36-7 loss

  • 2016: 31-24 loss

  • 2018: 38-7 loss

Now, let's look at Tannehill's career stats versus the Patriots in both home and away games:

  • W/L: 4-7

  • Cmp %: 61.1

  • Yards/game: 259.2

  • TD: 15

  • INT: 11

  • QB rating: 84.7

In fairness to Tannehill, this Titans team is better than any of those Dolphins rosters he led for seven seasons in Miami. Tennessee has a balanced offense that ranked No. 3 among all 32 teams in rushing yards in the regular season, and star running back Derrick Henry won the rushing title with 1,540 yards.

The Patriots' No. 1 goal defensively must be to shut down Henry and make Tannehill beat them.

New England's pass defense surprisingly failed to stop Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Week 17 regular-season finale and it cost the defending Super Bowl champs a playoff bye. Overall, the Patriots had one of the league's top pass defenses during 2019, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore arguably is the top candidate for the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. New England ranked No. 2 in pass yards allowed, No. 1 in passing touchdowns allowed, and No. 1 in opponents' completion percentage.

Despite what happened versus Miami last week, you still have to like the Patriots' chances if they get an early lead and Tannehill is forced to win the game for the Titans.

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Patriots vs. Titans: Will Ryan Tannehill finally earn first win at Gillette Stadium? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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