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Kickoff to Patriots vs. Titans playoff game just hours away

14 January 2018

After the Titans grabbed an early 7-0 lead, Tom Brady and the Patriots took control and cruised to victory on home soil.

The Tennessee Titans have a tough task ahead of them on Saturday night. And since we haven't gotten a look at this year's playoff Pats, the talk surrounding New England is strictly focused on the aforementioned story which alleges an encroaching breakup. It also was Brady's 21st playoff game with at least two touchdown passes, extending his National Football League record. The Titans put up a surprising, winning performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, who had no answers for stopping Henry. Belichick is used to having final say in all things Patriot related.

The Patriots (14-3) will play host to the AFC championship game next Sunday against either the Jaguars or Steelers.

Henry has played all but four of Tennessee's offensive snaps over the past two games.

But should we dismiss Tennessee so quickly?

The Titans had a crucial, yet questionable, pass-interference penalty go against former Jet Eric Decker to scuttle their next possession. Granted, he makes each upcoming opponent seem like the 1960s Green Bay Packers.

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"Cooks is a very talented and explosive player - his speed is game changing - and you need to double him or be physical at the line to have the best chance to defend him", said one AFC personnel executive, who studied the Cooks-Howard matchup closely. "But it's all about us believing in each other, executing what's called in all three phases of the game and just going out there and trusting and believing that we can win this game".

They beat rookie Deshaun Watson and the Texans, but Houston scored 33 points and Watson gained 41 yards on the ground.

Mularkey said he didn't get an explanation. Yeah, the Titans can play. Before the start of this postseason, the Titans had 18 players who had appeared in a playoff game. They ranked 20th in rushing yards allowed and 30th in average per rush allowed.

Travel delays do occasionally happen, and the Patriots found themselves waiting on the tarmac themselves a year ago in January.

Three of the Patriots four running backs were limited in practice this week with Mike Gillislee (Knee) sitting out during the first practice. Did you know in his career he's thrown 39 touchdowns with no interceptions in the red zone? Linebackers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo lead the pass rush for Tennessee, with 7.5 and 7.0 sacks respectively. But this season that hasn't always been the case.

In fact, a loss to the Titans in the divisional round might be the catalyst that "breaks up" New England.

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By DVOA, New England's offense is the NFL's most efficient and the defense is the second-least efficient. Because that's how the Patriots win (or lose) Super Bowl, by the hairs of the chinny chin chins.

Ryan could figure prominently in Tennessee's coverage of Rob Gronkowski. They travel to the frigid northeast and take on the New England Patriots Saturday Night.

If the Falcons can hold the Rams to 13, you figure they could do the same against the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz for the year to a torn ACL in Week 14. In this game that's Gronk. Luckily, Belichick can win with any of their backs and one of them was not listed on the report, the explosive Dion Lewis.

The second-year running back out of Alabama bounced back with a career-high 156 yards, just shy of Eddie George's franchise-record 162 in a postseason game.

Leading 14-7, the Patriots stretched their lead to 14 just before halftime thanks to a trio of careless penalties on the Titans.

The Titans had too many penalties 10 for minus-62 yards, too many mistakes to challenge the Patriots.

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The Patriots are the kings of blocking out the noise. Deflategate? The Patriots won the Super Bowl. They don't get along. "When I play my best and I'm most comfortable, I just go out there and play". They've all denied there's a rift, which is what you would expect them to do. By Tuesday morning, Belichick had felt the need to reset the agenda and said, "At this point, I'm all-in on Tennessee". While Patriots officials denied the friction, it was clearly a distraction.

Kickoff to Patriots vs. Titans playoff game just hours away