Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots: Scouting report, score prediction for Week 12 NFL game

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  • New England Patriots
    New England Patriots
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  • Tennessee Titans
    Tennessee Titans
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  • Marcus Johnson
    Marcus Johnson
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The Tennessee Titans (8-3) travel to face the New England Patriots (7-4) at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (noon CT, CBS) in hopes of bouncing back after a deflating loss to the Houston Texans.

Tennessean sports writer Ben Arthur breaks down the game and offers his prediction:

Titans’ offense vs. Patriots’ defense

The Titans’ offense is a shell of itself because of injuries. Stars Derrick Henry (foot) and Julio Jones (hamstring) are on injured reserve. Pro Bowler A.J. Brown is out due to a chest injury. And another one of its top receivers, Marcus Johnson, landed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with a hamstring issue.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has little help around him at the skill positions and hasn’t given Tennessee the consistent play it has needed with Henry sidelined. He threw a career-high four interceptions last week.

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A Henry-less backfield and a decimated wide receiver group will take the field in Foxborough against a Patriots team that leads the NFL in scoring defense (16.1 points/game allowed) and ranks third in total defense 313.2 yards/game allowed).

Who has the edge? Patriots

Titans’ defense vs. Patriots’ offense

After struggling with contain against Texans dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the Titans’ front four could find more success against Patriots rookie signal caller Mac Jones.

Jones has been the most accurate and effective of the league’s rookie QBs, but he’s a traditional pocket passer, which plays to the favor of the Titans’ pass rush. Tennessee ranks ninth in the league with 27 sacks.

If New England's defense can give Jones short fields, making his job easier, it could be a long day for the Titans. The Patriots lead the NFL in average starting field position (own 32.6-yard line). The Texans last week began four drives in Titans territory thanks to offensive miscues – and a muffed punt – leading to 13 points.

Self-inflicted wounds leading to short fields for this Patriots’ offense, which ranks sixth in scoring (27.33), will make life more difficult for a Titans’ defense that’s already tasked with carrying the load for a banged-up team.

Who has the edge? Titans

Score prediction

Patriots 28, Titans 16: The Titans have a propensity for winning games no one thinks they’ll win (think the Bills and Rams games this year). But the Texans game showed the mounting injuries on offense are growing too tough to overcome. Tennessee heads into its much-needed bye week on a two-game losing streak.

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots: Our score prediction