Tennessee Titans take on New England Patriots Saturday

Danny Amendola

The New England Patriots quest for a sixth Super Bowl championship begins tonight at Gillette Stadium. Time and again, New England has rallied internally in the face of scandal and outside scrutiny.

The Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady showed he stands above all.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota got off to a quick start, which was a rarity for the Titans. Still, if there is one thing the Patriots have done better than most under Belichick, it is quieting the noise.

If Tom Brady has fallen off a cliff, it sure wasn't a far drop. He's played just one game since October 29 - a December 11 loss to the Dolphins - and he only caught one pass for one yard in that contest.

But should we dismiss Tennessee so quickly? It's frankly unusual to see them not in the postseason than in it. Granted, he makes each upcoming opponent seem like the 1960s Green Bay Packers. However, seeing them make it to the divisional round by upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round was an even bigger bombshell.

- With a win, the Pats will earn a trip to their seventh straight AFC Championship game. Yeah, the Titans can play.

Slowing those three players down will be imperative to the Patriots defeating the Titans and advancing in the postseason. The run game vanished from right after that.

Mariota may not have playoff experience but he makes things happen, both with his arm and his feet. "But, you know, he's a very strong-armed quarterback, he can extend plays, he can scramble to run or he can get out of trouble and then find his receivers downfield". Derrick Morgan (7.5 sacks) and Brian Orakpo (seven sacks) are their primary sack artists.

If the Eagles or Patriots lose Saturday, it will mark the second consecutive year that a No.1 seed has lost their first playoff game.

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Hogan's 180 receiving yards set a new single-game Patriots postseason franchise record, topping Deion Branch's 153-yard performance in 2006.

New England had 438 yards compared to the Titans 267. George said the Patriots hoped to force co-MVP Steve McNair into turnovers. Brady and Kraft aren't going anywhere.

Now, they'll have a much tougher matchup on their hands. In this game that's Gronk. This year, it looks like Dion Lewis will be that guy. Gilmore broke up one pass, a big play at the time given Tennessee's ever-so-brief 7-0 lead.

But the Titans were the National Football League masters of limiting big plays this year.

The Titans finished this year's regular season with a 9-7 record to finish 2 in the AFC South.

The Patriots are the kings of blocking out the noise. The end of the dynasty is upon us.

"I got more in the flow of the game", Henry said. They've all denied there's a rift, which is what you would expect them to do.

Beyond that, hanging over their heads is the possibility that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (to Indianapolis and Andrew Luck?) and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia (to the New York Giants?) are leaving to become head coaches. While Patriots officials denied the friction, it was clearly a distraction.

The Tennessee Titans brought some heat against a mobile quarterback in Alex Smith last week in Kansas City.

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