Mike Vrabel hired as Titans’ head coach

The Titans have announced the hiring of Mike Vrabel as their next coach.

Vrabel has seven years’ worth of coaching experience, including only four in the NFL, all with the Texans. He was Houston’s linebackers coach from 2014-16 and its defensive coordinator in 2017. Houston in 2017 allowed a league-high 436 points and ranked 20th in yards allowed, giving up 346.6 yards per game. The Texans also ranked 20th in rush defense (109.2 yards per game) and ninth in the NFL pass defense (237.4 yards per game).

Vrabel also has a storied 14-year playing career in the NFL, winning Super Bowls 36, 38 and 39 with the Patriots. He was named first-team All-Pro in 2007, which saw New England fall one game short of a perfect season.

New England, naturally, is a big favorite to beat upstart Jacksonville in the AFC championship game Jan. 21 in Foxborough, Mass. The early lines in Las Vegas on Sunday had the Pats favored by nine over the Jaguars, who upset the Steelers on Sunday in the divisional round. That spread had been bet down to Patriots -7.5 by Sunday morning. The over-under (total points) was set at 48, but has dipped to 46.5 in some places.

The Pats are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games, according to Vegasinsider.com; the UNDER is 7-4 in those games.

The NFC championship matchup, Vikings at Eagles on Jan. 21, is much closer in Vegas’ eyes, and once again, the conference’s top seed is an underdog. Philadelphia is getting 3 1/2 points from Minnesota after beating Atlanta outright as a 2 1/2-point ‘dog Saturday. The Vikings were favored by between 3 and 5.5 points leading up to the game, but that number had settled at Vikings -3 on Sunday morning.
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