NOW LIVE: Talk Philly

TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Tennessee Titans Vs. New England Patriots

Titans
Patriots
Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks
New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback
The Titans are taking a big chance to get back into the NFL playoff picture as they turn the quarterback reigns over to strong-armed Jake Locker. He has the kind of athleticism and guts to make clutch plays when the game is on the line.
Winner Tom Brady is a Hall of Fame quarterback who has a lot more going for him than his three Super Bowl championships and five Super Bowl appearances. Brady is an accurate, alert and strong-armed passer whose greatest asset may be his hunger to improve on an every-season basis.
Offense
Head coach Mike Munchak knows that Jake Locker is not ready to seize control of the offense and do it all himself. He is expecting a big year from explosive running back Chris Johnson, who struggled to hit the home run a year ago. Rookie Kendall Wright has the skills to become an explosive receiver.
Winner The Patriots have the kind of offense that can strike quickly and put a game out of reach by halftime or control the clock and keep an opponent from getting back into the game. No offense gets the production from its tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez that the Patriots do, but it’s Wes Welker who will make plays when the game is on the line.
Defense
Winner The Titans want to improve their pass rush significantly this season after recording just 28 sacks a year ago. Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley has the speed and explosiveness to improve that weakness. Strong safety Jordan Babineaux should develop into a Pro Bowler this year.
The inability to play consistent defense was the Patriots’ biggest issue a year ago. That was not a major issue since New England lit up the scoreboard so regularly, but head coach Bill Belichick is expecting much more. Look for an All-Pro year from defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Special Teams
The Titans’ special teams had solid results in both punt return differential and kickoff return differential, but they committed a slew of penalties that made their performance questionable. Rob Bironas is an accurate and reliable kicker.
Winner Placekicker Stephen Gostkowksi is one of the most consistent producers in the business, but he does not get depth on his kickoffs. Punter Zoltan Mesko had 41.5 yard net average last year and Julian Edelman is a solid punt returner.

The Winner Is

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winner Patriots
3 out of 4

The Patriots appear to be the class of the AFC as the season gets under way, while the Titans are going to try to get it done with hustle and a hard-hitting defense. That won’t be enough in this game as the Patriots should open the season with a solid road win.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape