BOSTON (CBS) — Titans defensive back Kevin Byard isn’t afraid of facing Tom Brady.
The second-year safety is coming off an All-Pro season, tying for the league-lead in interceptions with eight. His team is riding high off their comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round, so he’s brimming with confidence as the Titans prepare for Saturday night’s Divisional Round clash with the Patriots in Foxboro.
Brady may be just a few weeks away from earning his third MVP award and on a mission for New England’s sixth Super Bowl title, but Byard won’t be thinking about that bling come Saturday night. Instead, he’ll be gunning to make Brady look human — or at least look like one of the NFL’s less-talented passers.
“This is a playoff game. So I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana. You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks,” Byard told reporters on Tuesday. “Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game. I’m not really looking at it like that.”
Poor, poor Blake. Bortles is coming off one of his better seasons in the NFL, tossing 21 touchdowns and a career-low 13 interceptions for the 10-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. Two of those interceptions were plucked out of the air by Byard in Tennessee’s Week 17 win over the Jags, helping the Titans clinch their spot in the playoffs.
Byard had a knack for racking up multiple interceptions in a single game, with seven of his eight picks coming in just three games. He may even catch a pass from Brady on Saturday, as the Pats QB has thrown six interceptions in his last six games to finish the season with eight picks — his highest interception total since the 2014 season.
While it’s nice to see a young player exuding confidence heading into a matchup against one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, he may be regretting those words come Saturday night.
Tune in to Saturday night’s Patriots-Titans AFC Divisional Round game on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins with a special Patriots GameDay at 7pm, and after the game stick with WBZ-TV for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!