Defensively, the team made the necessary adjustments to stop the Chiefs especially after Travis Kelce left with an injury. If they do win, though, it will be because their pass-rush gets to Brady-not because the Patriots were distracted by any lingering discontent. I still don't necessarily trust the D, but when Bill Belichick has extra time to prepare for you, he is a master at exposing your weaknesses and taking away your strengths.
You won't like him when he's angry: Tom Brady's character was assaulted last week, which really isn't anything new to the Patriots' 40-year-old quarterback.
"Both teams were running zone blitzes, you know?" 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. Running back Rex Burkhead is also dealing with a knee injury and James White has an ankle injury.
NEW ENGLAND begin another play-off campaign with just as high expectations as all the previous seasons.
On the ground, Dion Lewis rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns in 180 attempts while Mike Gillislee added 383 yards and five touchdowns in 104 carries.
Bye-week blues: The Patriots had a first-round playoff bye, meaning they might not be at their best early as they shake off the rust. The Pats are averaging almost 400 yards per game and 30 points at home. "But I feel like if we're on our stuff and we're just ready to go, I feel like it's going to be a really good game, and we can come out with a victory". On the flip side, Tennessee will rely heavily on Mariota, whose inconsistency this season has plagued the offense from Week 1.
Mariota produced a performance for the ages while leading the Titans to a stunning 22-21 upset win over Kansas City in a wild card playoff game last week.
The New England Patriots head into Divisional playoff weekend as the heavy favorites at home against the Tennessee Titans. "It's been a good year for me, but I'm obviously not comfortable where I'm at", Johnson said. We've earned it, the Titans have earned it and I'm sure it'll be a very competitive game. The Titans have yet to give up 100 receiving yards to a tight end this year and if they're going to win in New England, they have to somehow limit Gronkowski's touches. And question marks over several Pats receivers, plus Belichick's habit of going with the most unexpected option, make him a sneaky play to return with a bang. Guys like Eric Decker and Corey Davis need to not only get open but catch the football. He's 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 and has completed 316 of 509 passes for 3,700 yards and 28 TDs in those games. New England's defense has actually failed to force a turnover in three of its last four down the stretch so if Mariota can keep that number down, then Tennessee can keep the number of possessions down while increasing the Titans' chances to win. His speed and ability as a deep threat can help put even more pressure on a tough Titans defense. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard had 124 tackles during the regular season while Kevin Byard (right) paced the team with eight interceptions and was rewarded with first-team All-Pro honors.
Many media and fans alike are wondering if the issues touched on in the ESPN story - some rooted in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade and others in the relationship between Belichick and Brady as it relates to the quarterback's controversial body coach/business partner, Alex Guerrero - could have any sort of adverse impact on the latest Super Bowl run for the defending champions.
"You put the Patriots on a pedestal", Titans tight end Delanie Walker said, "and you're already defeated". Regardless of the opponent, the win-or-go-home postseason is, as Belichick might say, what it is. New England's pass-catching running backs could prosper too.