NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** The Tennessee Titans (3-10) travel to face the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (11-2) this week. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium (capacity 68,756) is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST/noon CST on Sunday, Dec. 20.
This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle and analyst Dan Fouts will call the action, and Evan Washburn will report from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
Additionally, Westwood One Sports will carry the game to a national radio audience. John Sadak (play-by-play) and Ross Tucker (analyst) will have the call.
TITANS LOOKING FOR FOURTH WIN
After defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium on Dec. 6, the Titans traveled to New York last week in search of their second consecutive win. However, they were turned away by the Jets, who used three touchdown passes by Ryan Fitzpatrick and 183 total rushing yards to defeat the Titans 30-8.
The Titans' lone touchdown of the contest came on a 41-yard pass from running back Antonio Andrews to rookie Marcus Mariota, who is the first quarterback in franchise history to record a touchdown reception. He is the first NFL player in 2015 to pass for a touchdown, rush for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass, and the only other rookie in the Super Bowl era (1966–present) to accomplish the feat is Kordell Stewart (1995). Prior to Mariota, the most recent player to record touchdowns of at least 40 yards passing, rushing and receiving in the same season was Walter Payton in 1983.
With three games remaining in his rookie season, Mariota already has set the franchise rookie records for pass attempts (364), completions (227), passing yards (2,786) and passing touchdowns (19). With one more touchdown pass, he could become the 10th quarterback in NFL history to reach 20 touchdown passes as a rookie. Tampa Bay rookie Jameis Winston, who has 18 touchdown passes, also could reach the mark in the next three weeks.
Mariota was not the only offensive player to reach a significant milestone against the Jets. Delanie Walker broke Frank Wycheck's franchise record for the most receptions in a season by a tight end. Wycheck set the record by hauling in 70 passes in 1998, and he matched the mark in 2000. Walker's 2015 totals now include 74 receptions for 871 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the team in all three categories and needs 20 more receiving yards to break the franchise record he set in 2014 of 890 receiving yards by a tight end.
The Titans go into New England looking for their fourth win of the season. They are 2-4 under interim head coach Mike Mularkey, who took the reins on Nov. 3. After playing the Patriots, they finish the season with a home game against the Houston Texans (Dec. 27) and a road finale at the Indianapolis Colts (Jan. 3). * *
PATRIOTS SEEKING ANOTHER DIVISION TITLE
After experiencing back-to-back losses to the Denver Broncos (Nov. 29) and Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 6), the Patriots voyaged to Houston last week for a Sunday night battle against the Houston Texans. Tom Brady passed for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help with Patriots win 27-6 and break the rare losing skid. The Patriots defense recorded five sacks and allowed only a pair of field goals in the dominating effort.
As a result of the victory, the Patriots clinched a playoff berth. With one more win or a Jets loss, they will seal their seventh consecutive AFC East title to match the Los Angeles Rams (1973-79) for the most consecutive division titles in NFL history.
With the Patriots getting to the 11-win mark against the Texans, Bill Belichick recorded the 13th 11-win season of his head coaching career to tie Don Shula for the most in NFL history. Belichick has 12 seasons with at least 11 wins with New England and one such season with Cleveland.
Brady* *is in his 16th season with the Patriots. Already this season he became the fourth NFL player to reach 400 career touchdown passes and the fourth player in history with at least 30 or more touchdown passes in six different seasons. Brady leads the NFL with 4,138 passing yards in 2015, and against the Texans, he became the third player in NFL history with at least eight 4,000-yard passing seasons.