Do Patriots have a confidence issue entering Wild Card game vs. Titans?


The New England Patriots finished the 2019 regular season with a 12-4 record and another AFC East title.

But New England's record doesn't exactly reflect its talent level -- especially after Sunday's showing.

Following the Patriots' 27-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins that dropped them to 2-3 over their last five games, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison remarked that Bill Belichick's club looks unusually vulnerable entering next Saturday's Wild Card Round game against the Tennessee Titans.

"This is a team that's going into the playoffs that normally wouldn't be questioning themselves," Harrison said on NBC's "Football Night in America" broadcast Sunday. "I think they have questions about themselves, and they're not playing with a lot of confidence."

Co-analyst Tony Dungy agreed with Harrison, pointing to Belichick's decision not to stop the clock with his timeouts prior to the end of the first half as a sign that the head coach didn't believe in his offense's ability to score.

"Bill Belichick does not mismanage time," Dungy said. "That was a conscious decision. They made a choice (to let the clock run down)."

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Tennessee, meanwhile, has confidence in spades after going 7-3 in its last 10 games. According to Harrison, what made the Patriots' loss to Miami especially painful was the fact that New England really could have used the playoff bye to allow Tom Brady to heal his injured elbow.

"I think that was a devastating loss because they have a veteran team," Harrison said. "Tom Brady’s elbow has been bothering him, you have a lot of guys beat up, and you need that rest."

"It's imperative that you get that rest, especially when you have a 42-year-old quarterback and a bunch of veteran players who have been injured."

Even if Brady's elbow doesn't affect his play Saturday, Wild Card weekend isn't the best place to launch a Super Bowl run. A No. 3 seed or lower hasn't made the Super Bowl since the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, and the Patriots' last Wild Card Round game was a 33-14 loss to the Ravens in the 2009 postseason.

On the bright side, the Patriots now have another non-believer they can try to prove wrong next weekend at Gillette Stadium.

Check out more Patriots-Dolphins reaction from Harrison, Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Mike Florio in the video player above.

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