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Dick LeBeau vs Bill Belichick meet in rare playoff battle

14 January 2018

The Titans pulled off a huge win on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend in which they came back from a sizeable deficit to send the AFC West champions packing, and things don't get any easier for them here as they face off against he juggernaut Patriots who have another championship in mind.

They will be big favorites in the American Football Conference (AFC) divisional round having won their last six meetings with the Titans, including a 2015 game.

"I wouldn't use that word, no", Belichick said.

"He's going to make plays", said center Maurkice Pouncey. In five different games with the Patriots, he failed to reach 50 yards of production.

"Nobody respects us. Nobody really expects a lot from us". Not only did he say that all was fine, but he also stated that it was "absolutely" his intention to return as the head coach of the Patriots for the 2018 regular season.

Offensively, the recipe for success was laid out last week.

The Titans are a confident bunch after beating Jacksonville to get into the playoffs and then shocking the Chiefs in Kansas City in the Wild Card game.

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INCONSISTENT OFFENSE: These weren't the Falcons who lit up the scoreboard on their way to winning the NFC championship past year . They went 2-1 with Nick Foles , losing a meaningless game in Week 17 after starters only played one quarter.

The Eagles are, and they should be, because starting quarterback Nick Foles has been below average since taking over from injured star QB Carson Wentz. The Titans had few defensive answers for the Patriots' passing game when Brady went with a fast-paced tempo and struggled to move the ball consistently after their first touchdown.

Marcus Mariota ran for two first downs in the opening quarter of Saturday night's divisional-round playoff game.

New England quarterback Tom Brady trains this week ahead of the match against Tennessee.

"When it comes down to it, it's all about us", Mariota said.

"I think Tim has been one of our better, if not our best, practice squad guys all year", Byard told reporters. Same goes for Deshaun Watson the previous game, although the Houston Texans came up short in their upset bid.

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. Running backs have always been a staple in this team's passing offense.

To a man, every Patriots pass rusher credited the entire defense for the team's record-setting sack total. New England scored again on the following series to make it 35-7 and effectively ice the game. Teams are not responsible for the money earned by players during the playoffs.

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The game was tied at 14 going into the fourth quarter, but Adam Vinatieri booted a 46-yard field goal with four minutes to play that would prove to be the game-winner.

Stephon Gilmore cured the defense's early third-down woes by breaking up Mariota's sideline bid on the ensuing series, and Brady slammed on the gas pedal to give the Patriots their first lead.

LeBeau has an NFL-record 45 consecutive seasons as a coach, with Belichick at 43. New England can't allow Henry and the run game to control the pace of play.

The respect between the two is mutual.

Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton are the only Super Bowl-winning coaches of the eight teams remaining in the playoffs.

"He's the ultimate professional and he (makes) his teammates better and he demands a lot", Amendola said. Still, if there is one thing the Patriots have done better than most under Belichick, it is quieting the noise.

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Dick LeBeau vs Bill Belichick meet in rare playoff battle