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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Chris Hogan capable of leading the charge for Patriots

Titans look out of their depth against New England

New England's Chris Hogan can make a big impression
1 of 1

Sky Sports Action, 1.15am Saturday night

The good news for those who backed Tennessee to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season is that they are just two wins away from the big showdown.

The bad news is they are now 66-1 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy compared to the 40-1 they were at the start of September.

There are probably two reasons for this. While the Titans showed great battling ability to fight back from a 21-3 deficit to beat Kansas City on the road in last week's wildcard round, they still haven't convinced people that glory is just around the corner.

That quarterback Marcus Mariota threw just 13 touchdown passes in 15 regular-season outings goes a long way towards explaining the market pessimism, even if he did achieve the distinction of throwing one to himself in the win over the Chiefs.

And secondly, they have been pitched against the reigning champions at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots are favoured by almost two converted touchdowns.

New England's offensive ability is well documented and while they have conceded chunks of yardage this season - they have the league's third-worst pass defence - they have conceded the fifth-fewest points, an average of 18.5 per game.

That provokes little enthusiasm for a shock and the Pats are also boosted by the return of wide receiver Chris Hogan, who has played just one snap since Week Eight.

He had scored five touchdowns up until that point and he can be expected to see plenty of the ball as Tom Brady welcomes back one of his favourite targets.

C Hogan to score a touchdown
1pt 23-10 Betfair

The lowdown
Venue Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Surface Artificial
Weather Cloudy, -3C
Vegas handicap Tennessee +13.5
Vegas points line 48 points

Team news
Running back DeMarco Murray has been ruled out with a knee injury but guard Quinton Spain has recovered from a back problem.

New England
Linebacker Kyle van Noy (calf) and wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) have been passed fit.

Key stat
New England have covered the handicap in nine of their last ten games.

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That quarterback Marcus Mariota threw just 13 touchdown passes in 15 regular-season outings goes a long way towards explaining the market pessimism
E.W. Terms
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