BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots host the Titans this week, and just as everyone expected when the schedule came out, it’s going to be a big one.

If the Patriots win, they’ll reclaim first place in the AFC East, and they may even claim the top spot in the AFC. The Titans, though, figure to be extra-focused on this one, after losing at home to the miserable Texans a week ago.

Here’s how the WBZ and CBS Boston sports team sees this one playing out.

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV

The Titans and Mike Vrabel are a tough opponent for the Patriots to face. The Titans are coming off the worst loss of their season — to the Texans. They will be fired up.

Both teams will want to run the ball. The Pats are rolling and not as banged up as Tennessee. The trenches will determine this one.

Patriots 20, Titans 17

Levan Reid, WBZ-TV

So before the season started, this game looked like a loss for the Patriots. The Titans were bringing Derrick Henry to the house, and the young man can absolutely run the rock. Add to that, Julio Jones and A.J Brown at wide receiver and a punishing offensive line, this was going to be a tough game for New England.

Now, this will still be a tough game but not as tough. The Titans defensively can get after it and make plays but right now the offense is without Henry and Jones, and Brown is banged up. Tennessee will have to rely on Ryan Tannehill, and that may not be the best plan.

Patriots 27, Titans 17

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

The Titans have played their worst against their worst competition this year. Focus shouldn’t be a problem for Mike Vrabel’s team this week, though, which means I think the Patriots are going to get the Titans’ best punch.

It’s possible that the Patriots can handle that, especially if they can force Ryan Tannehill into a bad day. (Tannehill’s career history vs. the Patriots is a bit of a mixed bag.) And if A.J. Brown is a no-go, then the Titans may end up being shorthanded.

Either way, I think it’s a close game. But the injuries on the Tennessee side have me leaning toward New England.

Patriots 17, Titans 16

Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

The Titans aren’t nearly as intimidating as they are when Derrick Henry is in the backfield, but they are still a formidable team that still sits atop the AFC. The Patriots would love to change that this weekend.

The Pats are rolling, but Sunday marks the start of their biggest test of the season. With games against the Titans, Colts and two against the Bills over the next month, this stretch will prove if they’re contenders or pretenders.

I like them to keep that contender status up on Sunday.

Patriots 27, Titans 24

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Titans clash on WBZ-TV — the home of the New England Patriots! Pregame coverage begins at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 1pm, and after the game stick around for full reaction and analysis — including Bill Belichick and Mac Jones LIVE — on Patriots 5th Quarter!

CBSBoston.com Staff