Few people expect the 3-10 Tennessee Titans to have much of a chance against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
After all, the Patriots haven’t lost to an AFC South team in five years and are looking to become only the second team in NFL history to win 12 or more games in six straight seasons.
And history isn’t exactly on the Titans side when it comes to facing the dynamic duo of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Especially not the most recent meeting between the two teams in Foxborough.
That meeting came back in 2009. Snow was everywhere, which obviously gave New England a small advantage.
The Jeff Fisher-led Titans came into the game at 0-5, with speculation running wild as to Fisher’s future with the franchise. The Patriots weren’t flying all that high at 3-2.
But what proceeded to take place on the field was nothing short of an annihilation.
New England scored 35 points in the second quarter to take a 45-0 lead into halftime. The final score ended up being 59-0.
Keep in mind that this game came a season after the Titans went 13-3 and appeared to be a Super Bowl contender before bowing out in the AFC divisional round.
It was a game that no Titans fan will ever forget. But it’s one they wish they could forget.
It was the definition of rock bottom. The Patriots accumulated 32 first downs, with Brady going 29 of 34 for six touchdowns.
The Titans passing game? Kerry Collins threw for -7 yards. Yes, -7.
Everything that could’ve went wrong in that game went wrong. There were absolutely zero positives, and the franchise seemed doomed. However, Fisher would ignite a fire in that team, leading to five straight wins after the loss and an 8-8 season overall.
Of course, that was then, and this is now.
At times it has felt like the Titans have hit rock bottom. Two wins a season ago, and a three-win season likely staring them in the face this year.
Even as bad as things have been, the good news is that replicating the previous trip to Foxborough will be impossible.
If the Titans lose 59-0 this time around and Marcus Mariota throws for negative yardage, you might as well close up shop and shut down the franchise.
So yes, the positive is that Tennessee will certainly improve upon its last trip up north to take on Brady and company.
The negative? The Titans aren’t in any better shape than they were that day six years ago. And perhaps in every phase of the game (and in the front office), they are in much worse shape.
With only one winning season since then and back-to-back seasons of futility, the franchise is a total mess.
That’s not exactly promising given this weekend’s opponent. The Patriots are a franchise that has long figured out the secret to success in this league.
It all starts with a coach and a quarterback.
Luckily, the Titans have found their quarterback in Mariota. But they are still far away from finding the answer on the coach part.
These two franchises are worlds apart right now. That wasn’t the case when the Patriots destroyed the Titans six years ago.
So should Titan fans expect a 110-0 thrashing on Sunday? Not quite.
However, it likely won’t be pretty.
Fortunately, it can’t possibly be any uglier than it was the last time around at Gillette Stadium.