Patriots vs. Titans: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction


However, with all of the distractions surrounding the Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick saga it'll be interesting to see whether or not that is a discussion point this weekend and if it impacts the outcome of the game, and while it is highly unlikely that it will as the Pats have dominated against the number in the playoffs, it will certainly be in the back of the mind of the Titans and they will hopefully try to use any of that to their advantage. "We know we have to be better than we were last week, executing plays that are called, and just practicing on being efficient on every drive we have". Nothing really should get in the way of that. "We're out to do a great job this week against a very good team in the biggest game of the year".

The Titans enter as 13-point underdog, but linebacker Derrick Morgan said it's a role they happily embrace. "That's fine", he said. So it's easy for people to overlook us.

Henry is capable of wearing down a defense so the Patriots need to get bodies on him early to limit his impact. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't. Don't be surprised to see Dion take one to the house and make Saturday his third straight game with multiple touchdowns.

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Keep in mind: Brady is 6-1 for his career against the Titans, having captured six consecutive victories. After he stunned the Chiefs in Kansas City, can he improve his play even more against New England? This is Mariota's second start.

"I think it just comes down to how well you play", Brady said. That's what made the 2015 Heisman Trophy victor calling his performance "kind of soft" in Tennessee's regular-season finale stand out.

HEISMAN BROTHERS: Mariota, the 2014 Heisman victor, and Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman victor, combined to turn in the best rushing performance in franchise history in the wild-card round. Tom Brady threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns. The team with the better running back will have a great chance of moving to the AFC Championship Game.

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PRESSURE: The Titans ranked fifth in the league with 43 sacks during the season and added four more against the Chiefs last week. Linebackers Brian Orakpo (seven) and Wesley Woodyard (five) give the Titans a variety of options to attack Brady, not counting backup linebacker Erik Walden (four). New England is particularly vulnerable along the edges, and Henry often looks to bounce outside. He struggled in the lone game he played after suffering the injury against the Miami Dolphins on December 11 and was subsequently shut down for the remainder of the regular season. That's more such players than 11 other playoff teams combined (13). If the Titans move on in the playoffs, there is no real timetable for Murray's return.

If the Titans have any hope of slowing down Brady, the X factor might be defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Many writers and sports radio personalities have read between the lines and assumed most of the information came from Belichick himself, or at least someone close to him.

"He's the ultimate professional and he (makes) his teammates better and he demands a lot", Amendola said.

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A contract impasse with club president Florentino Perez may also be having an impact. Regular starters Casemiro and Isco entered the match in the second half.