Interesting Statistic Gives the New England Patriots An Edge in Wild-Card Game Against Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots
One statistic gives Patriots an edge in upcoming Wild Card game against Tennessee Titans Maddie Meyer/Getty

The New England Patriots are already favored in their upcoming Wild-Card game against the Tennessee Titans, but one interesting stat gives them an even greater advantage.

SBNation's Ryan Spagnoli uncovered Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's record against the NFL's leading rusher, Derrick Henry, who he will be encountering on Saturday.

"Bill Belichick is 10-1 when facing a Top 5 rusher in the playoffs. Here is what they did vs. the Patriots," Spagnoli wrote as a caption to a picture of the statistics. "Belichick and his defense get league leader Derrick Henry on Saturday night. #Patriots #Titans."

The picture shows Belichick's dominance against elite running backs, with only one loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, led by RB Ray Rice.

As Spagnoli writes, the Patriots will be facing Henry, who has been a dominant force for the Titans throughout the season. He leads all NFL running backs in rushing attempts with 303, total rushing yards with 1,540 and is tied for first in touchdowns with 16.

Despite his strong regular season, Henry may be in for his toughest battle yet, against arguably the league's best defense. The Patriots defense has been stellar throughout the regular season, leading the NFL in yards allowed per game with 275.9.

In the 10 that Belichick has won against a Top 5 rusher, the Patriots have only allowed four total touchdowns and an average of 70 rushing yards, well below Henry's average of 102 rushing yards per game.

While the stats show the Titans could struggle to find yards at running back, their wide receivers may also encounter problems, if matched up against Patriots cornerback Stephen Gilmore.

Gilmore, who has been regarded by many as the season's best defensive player, leads the league in passes defended with 20 and is tied for first for interceptions with 6, giving his team another advantage against the Titans.

The two teams are set to face off in one of two American Football Conference (AFC) Wild-Card games on January 4 at 8:15 p.m. Prior to this game, at 4:35 p.m., the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans will face off in the other side of the AFC Wild-Card.

If the Titans win, they will face the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC divisional round on January 11. On the other hand, if the Patriots are to stop Henry and extend their record to 11-1, they will move on to face the Kansas City Chiefs on January 12.

For the National Football Conference (NFC), the Minnesota Vikings will face the New Orleans Saints at 1:05 p.m. on January 5. The second NFC Wild-Card game, between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles, will be played later on at 4:40 p.m.

Correction on Friday, January 3 at 3:50 p.m.: changed Houston Texans to Baltimore Ravens, for who the Titans will face in the AFC divisional round, if they win their Wild-Card game.

Interesting Statistic Gives the New England Patriots An Edge in Wild-Card Game Against Tennessee Titans | Sports