After a crazy Wild Card weekend to start out the NFL Playoffs, the Divisional Round is set. The Tennessee Titans upset the New England Patriots in Foxborough and will head to Baltimore to take on the No. 1 seed Ravens on Saturday, January 11th. The Houston Texans completed a 16-point comeback to defeat the Buffalo Bills in overtime and will head to Kansas City to take on the No. 2 seed Chiefs on Sunday, January 12th.
What did we learn from the Titans in their upset victory over the Patriots?
The victory over the Patriots confirmed that the Tennessee offense runs through Derrick Henry. In the first half, Henry ran for 122 yards, 22 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown. The offense was unstoppable in the first half, leading to a 14-13 at halftime. Henry continued to torment the PAtriots in the second half, ending the game with 204 total yards. Ryan Tannehill struggled a little bit, only throwing for 72 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Titans are reliant on the run game and Derrick Henry.
The Titans defense did a great job holding the Patriots offense to 0 points in the second half. The defense was all over Brady and pressuring the offense, and in the end, finished it all off with a pick-six. For the Titans to defeat the Ravens, they will need to get immediate pressure on Lamar Jackson. The Titans defense picked off Brady twice and held the Patriots 1-3 in red zone touchdown efficiency.
The other aspect of the upset victory was punter Brett Kern. Kern punted the ball six times throughout the game and four of them were inside the 20-yard line. The most important punt was the one that landed inside the one-yard line with under 30 seconds remaining in the ball game. Kern proved he is one of the best punters in the game and was a huge part of the Titans victory.
The Titans have a lot to handle this week as they will have to take on the leagues best rushing attack, but if Derrick Henry has another big week, the Ravens will be in for a tight game.
What did we learn about the Texans from their comeback victory over the Bills?
In their overtime win over the Bills, the Texans proved their resilience. Down 16-0 in the third quarter, Deshaun Watson led his team to score 19 unanswered points to take a 19-16 lead before the Stephen Hauschka field goal to send it to overtime. The Texans never gave up and played with everything they had, coming back to win. Watson was sacked six times in the game and still battled and got his team to win. the pass to The defense buckled down and had huge sacks from JJ Watt and Whitney Marcellus. Watson somehow escaping a sure sack from two Bills defenders, to find running back Taiwan Jones, who scampered 34 yards to the 10-yard-line, setting up Fairbairn for a chip-shot game-winner. That play summed it all up for the Texans and their fans after a game that was nearly over after the Hopkins fumble.
J.J. Watt returned this week from a pectoral injury to much fanfare. The defensive end was mostly quiet in the first half, playing just 16 of 36 plays and generating zero stats in the box score. In the second half and overtime, Houston unleashed the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Playing 34 of 44 plays in the second half and overtime, Watt earned the huge sack that brought life to the entire team, two QB hits, a tackle for loss, and a boatload of pressures. Along with Whitney Mercilus, the pass rush coming to life in the second half transformed the Houston D, and it rattled Allen. Having Watt back is clearly a difference-maker.
The Texans are going to be a hard team to beat as their resilience will keep them in any football game and the return of J.J. Watt will prove to be even bigger this week as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.