Fired-up Brady on mission as Patriots prepare to take on Titans

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Since 2001, quarterbacks making their first or second career playoff start are 0-7 against New England.

Maybe "turmoil" is too strong a word to describe the Patriots' situation in the wake of that piece by ESPN, which claimed disharmony at best-outright antipathy at worst-between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the quarterback's controversial fitness guru Alex Guerrero. Henry's ascension to workhorse back has been, but now that he's here, some around him believe we're about to see his limitless ceiling. The former Oregon QB did throw another interception, which he did in nine regular season contests (but he also caught a TD pass from himself!).

Frankly, there are a large number of people around town just like her, even hardcore Titans fans. But I think they grind it out against a team that is a lot more mistake-prone and has a lot less experience. After losing to them in the regular season, the Steelers will need to play a clean game and score touchdowns in the red zone. "This is what you work for, is to get to this position", Belichick concluded.

The Patriots have won two of their three playoff games since 2001 against negative point-differential teams; once again, it's the Giants to throw a wrench into the theorem thanks to their win in Super Bowl XLVI. Tom Brady leads the Patriots with 267 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

Brian Orakpo has been a solid addition at linebacker for the Titans since he arrived in 2015. New England should have little trouble moving the ball against the Tennessee defense. The Pats will want to keep their defense off the field and keep Tom Brady on it. And if that Titans' pass rush leads to a turnover in Patriots territory, the visitors will create added scoring chances. He is slated to return to action this weekend and will undoubtedly be a factor in these playoffs for New England. With Burkhead paired alongside Dion Lewis, this could be the best Patriot rushing attack since Corey Dillon's great 2004 season.

Henry has played 131 of 135 Titans offensive snaps in his past two games.

Which member of the Titans offense will be toughest for the Patriots defense to deal with?

Ben Roethlisberger wanted a rematch with the Jaguars, and now he has it.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is tackled by Tennessee Titans cornerback Tye Smith and cornerback Logan Ryan during the second quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium last week.

Derrick Henry also was fantastic, showing folks what he can do when given the carries with DeMarco Murray (knee) sidelined. He hit the 1,000 yard mark, despite missing two games, and scored eight touchdowns.

Saturday night at New England, Henry will play a huge role in determining whether the Titans can hang with the AFC big dog. But that ability, along with a speed (5.9 yards per rushing attempt for his career) few QBs have, is what makes Mariota a serious threat to the Patriots. It was very encouraging to see that effort from Marcus Mariota who has been much maligned for a lot of the season. Reliable for this Tennessee offense. And this time, it has nothing to do with what the team is doing on the football field, but rather off of it. It's all about containment for Matt Patricia's defense. "He's always studying as hard as he can every week, so just seeing him do the same old that he does every week - prepare hard, practice hard and get ready for the game".

The teams met 20 times as part of the AFL (1960-69), with the Patriots earning a 10-9-1 advantage. Road weariness could become a bit of an issue especially in another cold atmosphere in New England.

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