Titans vs. Patriots NFL Week 12 spread, odds: AFC top playoff seed could be at stake; Mike Vrabel unbeaten vs. former coach Bill Belichick

It's a matchup of AFC division leaders on Sunday when the Titans visit the red-hot Patriots.
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The marquee game in the AFC on Sunday in Week 12 around the NFL is clearly AFC South-leading Tennessee at AFC East-leading New England with potentially the conference's top seed at stake via tiebreaker. Bill Belichick is yet to beat Titans coach Mike Vrabel, Belichick's former Patriots linebacker, in two tries. Red-hot New England is a 7-point favorite on the NFL odds. Click here for model picks. 

Vrabel signed with the Patriots in 2001 and helped the team win three Super Bowls in his eight seasons – becoming one of Belichick's favorite all-time players in the process. Vrabel is 2-0 as a head coach vs. the Pats, winning both as underdogs: 2018 regular season 34-10 in Nashville, and at Foxboro in the wild-card round following the 2019 season, 20-13, in what would be Tom Brady's final game with New England.

On the SportsLine odds to earn the AFC's top seed – remember, only the top seed now gets a first-round bye – the Titans are +200 favorites, followed by Baltimore (+300), Buffalo (+400), Kansas City (+600) and New England (+600). Tennessee currently holds the top spot with an 8-3 record and holds a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bills and Chiefs. The Titans and Ravens don't play.

The big injury question for Tennessee is top wideout AJ Brown, who has yet to practice this week with a chest injury. Pass-catching running back Jeremy McNichols is iffy with a concussion. The Titans waived fellow running back Adrian Peterson this week.

Maybe it bodes well for New England on Sunday that the Pats didn't make the playoffs last year because all three Tennessee losses are against non-2020 playoff clubs, including last week's shocking 22-13 home defeat to Houston.

New England's five-game winning streak is the NFL's best and the Pats have allowed just 50 combined points in those five, lowering their season average to a league-best 16.1 ppg. Belichick's defense hasn't allowed a score of any kind in its opponents' past 19 drives, the longest by any NFL club since 2019 when New England did it 24 straight drives.

After shutting out Atlanta in Week 11, the Pats are trying for their first back-to-back blankings since 1982 when they beat Miami 3-0 on Dec. 12 and then Seattle 16-0 on Dec. 19.

Tennessee is 5-0 straight up and against the spread as an underdog this year, the first team since the 2009 Bengals to start a season 5-0 SU as a dog. New England's five-game ATS win streak is the NFL's longest active.

Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will finish as the AFC's top playoff seed?

  • Titans +200
  • Ravens +300
  • Bills +400
  • Chiefs +600
  • Patriots +600
  • Other +1000

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Matt SeveranceSeverance Pays