This afternoon at 1 p.m. ET, the New England Patriots will take on the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee to kick off the 2012 NFL regular season. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be calling the game nationally on CBS, and Boston fans can tune in to WBZ-TV Channel 4 to watch the game as well.
If you can’t catch the game on TV, you can always listen to Scott Zolak and Gil Santos covering the game on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub. For those of you who live in other areas of the country, Eli Gold and Ross Tucker will be calling the game for the Sports USA. Tucker is an extremely intelligent analyst and a former offensive lineman in the NFL, so there should be some great radio coverage both nationally and in the area.
No. 2 running back Shane Vereen, rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and versatile G/C Nick McDonald have been ruled out for today’s clash against the Titans. Safety Patrick Chung is listed as probable, while Sebastian Vollmer has been listed as questionable, Vollmer’s health is especially crucial to the team’s success, as he is clearly a better player than second-year right tackle Marcus Cannon.
Cornerback Sterling Moore and tight end Daniel Fells are also listed as questionable. The good thing is that the Patriots signed tight end Michael Hoomanawanui recently, so, if Fells is injured, his relentless blocking will ease the blow.
Offensive lineman Mike Otto is out this afternoon, while guard Steve Hutchinson’s status is unknown. His health is key for the Titans interior offensive line, which is a huge weakness for them going forward. Hutchinson was a key leader for the Titans in the offseason, and they can’t afford to lose their anchor against the Patriots dominant triangle of Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, and Brandon Spikes. It’s a good thing Chris Johnson gets his yards running to the outside behind blocks from star tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart, otherwise he would be in for a rough day even if the veteran LG plays.
Defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen’Derrick Marks are the starters, but Casey is listed as questionable and Marks as doubtful. The Titans do have a good pass rushing No. 3 DT in second-year player Karl Klug. Defensive end Scott Solomon was limited in practice as well and is listed as questionable.
Update: TE Daniel Fells, DT Marcus Fortson, DE Jake Bequette, and DE Justin Francis are out. RB Javon Ringer and DT Sen’Derrick Marks are out for the Titans.
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Continue Reading for a view of how the Titans offense stacks up against the Patriots defense.