Pats chase seventh straight AFC title berth against Titans

Patriots Opponent Profile: Titans Are No Simple Speed Bump En Route To AFC Championship

Patriots Opponent Profile: Titans Are No Simple Speed Bump En Route To AFC Championship

Comparing the numbers of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Marcus Mariota would bring just about everyone to laughs. At the half, Tennessee was down 21-3, but mounted a huge comeback on Offense while Defensively keeping Kansas City off the scoreboard for 30 minutes. The largest spread ever in a Divisional Round game was previous year with New England -16.5 vs. Houston, and the Pats won 34-16. They've had to handle that distraction and might be playing to prove it wrong rather than simply focusing on their task. "I pack to get there and I think because of the travel it's even more excitement for me!" 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.

Derrick Henry was not at all pleased by his performance in the season finale versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was 18 of 33 for 267 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

So much for the New England head coach and his staff overlooking their divisional playoff opponent. If the right things go the Titans' way, they could make the AFC Championship Game for the first time in 15 years.

Let's hold our horses here. Brady knows Belichick is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and Belichick understands his quarterback has his volatile moments (such as his sideline meltdown with Josh McDaniels a few weeks ago). But Murray has yet to practice, and Mularkey says the veteran running back is close enough to play next week. While that question may still be out there for many to talk over, one thing that can not be questioned is the courage he has displayed in big moments for the Titans in his first playoff game. Brady's 4,577 passing yards and 32 touchdowns drawfs Mariota's 3,232 and 13 touchdowns. The guy just plays hard consistently.

No catchy line for this point. "It's always fun when you're playing football".

"He's a man on a mission", receiver Corey Davis said. There can not be any slipups this week versus the Patriots. The Patriots are remarkably healthy and vastly more experienced all around, so they're probably going to blowout the Titans. New England's pass-catching running backs could prosper too.

What do the officials look like this weekend for the Tennessee Titans? That year they lost to the Baltimore Ravens as the three seed, but this year they maintain their streak and will face the Tennessee Titans. So they will ask Foles to air the ball, and cross their fingers they get the 2013 version.

To the rescue: As if they need the help, the Patriots get receiver Chris Hogan back after he missed seven of the final eight games of the regular season with a shoulder injury.

Nobody expects anything other than to see them win two home games at Gillette Stadium and once again represent the AFC at the Super Bowl. Sure, Casey has to play well but someone has to be there to benefit from his pressures up the middle, so why not Orapko?

The Titans and Jaguars want to have their say. However, in this game, he needs to be not only solid on the field but solid in what information he can provide for his team.

He had 13 picks in four years with the Patriots. For the Titans, hopefully he can be the player they hoped he was for one night while helping his fellow secondary teammates to some things to look for when it comes to Tom Brady. The Titans haven't won at New England since 1993 and have covered just one of their past five there. Of course, he's never played a playoff game before. Survive and advance or fall to the champs?

Now at Saint Thomas Sports Park, the people who will have a hand in the outcome are the Titans players and coaches.