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Patriots road woes keep looking worse after Titans become latest team to follow big win over New England with terrible loss

Alex Reimer
November 19, 2018 - 12:08 pm
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There is an emerging theme in the NFL this season. The Patriots lose road games to mediocre or lousy teams, who then proceed to drop their next contest –– or in the Jaguars’ case, seven of eight. It highlights how difficult it is for clubs to continue the momentum following big games against the Patriots, and how bad all three of New England’s road losses have been.

After the Jaguars and Titans lost Sunday, the record of teams that have defeated the Patriots this season now stands at 12-28. If you include the 4-6 Eagles, who ousted the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, it's at 16-34. 

The Titans looked dominant in their 34-10 win over the Patriots last week, tormenting Tom Brady in the pocket and beating New England’s subpar pass defense for some big plays. Tennessee looked like a completely different team against the Colts Sunday, losing 38-10 in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck torched their defense for three touchdown passes, including a 68-yard bomb to T.Y. Hilton, who burned cornerback Adoree Jackson on the play. Last week, Jackson held Josh Gordon to just four catches on 12 targets.

Marcus Mariota injured his elbow as well, 

Fortunately for the 5-5 Titans, they did not deliver the worst performance out of the AFC South this week. That honor belongs to the Jaguars, who blew a 16-0 lead late in the second half against the Steelers. Pittsburgh put up 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, with Antonio Brown blowing past Jalen Ramsey in the closing seconds for a 27-yard completion that set up Ben Roethlisberg’s game-winning touchdown run. Ramsey recorded two interceptions on the day, but Blake Bortles’ ineptitude, and Doug Marrone's self-sabotating conservatism, ensures Jacksonville’s defense must play perfect football in order to win. The Jaguars’ season is over. Good thing they won the Super Bowl in Week 2. They followed up their convincing win over the Patriots with a six-point stinker the following week, the setting the tone for the rest of their abysmal campaign.

While Detroit did escape its game against the Panthers with a win –– thanks to Ron Rivera’s inexplicable decision to go for two instead of the game-tying extra-point late in the fourth –– Matt Patricia’s Lions are 3-4 since their rousing Week 3 win over the Patriots. Patricia has been roundly criticized for his cheap Bill Belichick imitation this season, including when the Lions practiced in the snow last week, even though their next four games will be played indoors. Veteran cornerback Darius Slay strongly hinted his displeasure with the decision when speaking with reporters.

“I ain’t the coach,” Slay said, per Boston.com. “If I was the coach, yeah, you know what we’d be doing.”

As NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran notes, the Patriots lead the NFL in strength of victory this season, with wins over the Chiefs, Texans and Bears. Of course, all three of those wins came at Gillette Stadium.

Though there are still six games left on the schedule, it’s increasingly apparent that location may be more important to the Patriots than whom they’re playing. That’s concerning, since New England is one loss away from potentially playing in the Wild Card round –– setting up the possibility of playing two road games on the way to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots were idle Sunday, but it’s hard to feel better about their lopsided road losses, with the Titans being the latest foe to get embarrassed just one week after decimating Brady and Co. 

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