Three Players to Watch: Titans vs. Patriots


Three Players to Watch: Titans vs. Patriots

Two things, among many, have been consistent for the Patriots the past decade: Tom Brady at quarterback and New England in the AFC championship game.

As of Saturday afternoon, 70% of public bettors are siding with the Patriots and 63% of the money for this game is also on New England minus the points.

It begins Thursday, Jan. 11, with a preview show from 9:30 to 10 p.m. "Time." When pressed about it, Brady simply noted the importance of the Tennessee game.

"I think it just comes down to how well you play", Brady said, when asked if experience trumps youth. "This is about Tennessee".

"Right now", he said earlier in the week, "it's just about preparing for Tennessee". The biggest drama may be to contrast and compare the instinctive abilities of multitalented young Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who seems to be on the ascent (hey, he threw a touchdown pass to himself last week), against the pre-programmed, computer-like efficiency of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who, at 40-years-old, insists he is not on the decline. "We seen that before".

Finally, the Patriots have achieved perfection. To that end, the Patriots spent time during their bye week conducting some self-scouting.

Hogan missed seven of the Patriots' final eight games of the regular season so this is a significant addition.

PATRIOTS: DL Alan Branch (knee), RB Rex Burkhead (knee), LB Marquis Flowers (illness), RB Mike Gillislee (knee), DL Eric Lee (ankle/finger) and RB James White (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who spent the entirety on Injured Reserve, participated, as well. He wasn't even listed on the injury report.

It's what Belichick does best: focus his players on their assignments and let the outside noise go in one ear and out the other. To me, a steady diet of Derrick Henry (DeMarco Murray has already been ruled out) with some Mariota runs mixed in is a recipe to keep things close.

Adam Vinatieri made the 46-yard field goal to put New England up 17-14 with a little more than four minutes left. Time and again, New England has rallied internally in the face of scandal and outside scrutiny. It will take their very best effort to even remain competitive with New England on Saturday night. I couldn't feel my feet. "This week has been intense". Tight end Rob Gronkowski was also selected to the All-Pro team, after catching 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

He became the third player in Houston Oilers/Titans history to total 100 yards rushing in a playoff game, while having three 100-yard outings all season (regular season, playoffs). "I've just been studying the film day in, day out".

Getting Henry to acknowledge any change in his own confidence or being pleased after a big game is as tough as tackling him in the open field. 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. Originally drafted in 2009 by the Titans, Britt has bounced around from one bleak situation to the next - Tennessee, St. Louis and Cleveland - before landing in Foxboro and launching on to the postseason stage.