The Tennessee Titans are coming from a 22-21 stunning victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card game in which Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns against one interception. New England comes into this game as huge favorites, but do the Titans have what it takes to pull off a second straight upset? Now, the Titans will be facing off against the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round. Chicago was 5-11 this season and hasn't finished above.500 since letting Lovie Smith go following a 10-6 finish in 2012, two years after its most recent visit to the playoffs.
But if the Titans can defy the oddsmakers, they would deliver one of the worst losses of the Bill Belichick era to a Patriots team that came into the week mired in controversy sparked by an ESPN story that suggested a rift exists among Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.
Distractions, though, are nothing new to the Patriots - and they've been able to overcome them more often than not.
8- The Titans do not really pose much of a threat considering how much trouble they have had scoring points, as well as their poor pass coverage this year.
"You know what, I'll be honest with you, I don't know anything about it", Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey said on a conference call with the New England media, regarding the controversy. "For a young guy like me, that's what you aspire to be". "I've already commented at length about that situation. We just try to do all the little things because we know if we have a great week of practice, it usually translates to a good performance during Saturday". "You just have to win one game".
In a 1978 Divisional Playoff contest, the Oilers traveled to Schaefer Stadium and advanced to the AFC Championship with a 31-14 win, courtesy of three touchdown passes by Dan Pastorini and 118 rushing yards by Earl Campbell.
"He actually knows when to run and when to pass the ball when scrambling", Patriots safety Duron Harmon said Wednesday. Under creative coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Patriots will test a defense with a variety of personnel groupings, looking to exploit specific matchups. Down 21-3, third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota led Tennessee on a 19-point run and took the lead when it was most important, at the end of the game.
Mariota was sixth in the National Football League in third-down passer rating this season, a list headed by the Patriots' Tom Brady. "When you have a quarterback threat that's also part of the run game, along with (Derrick) Henry and (DeMarco) Murray, who are both very talented players, it's kind of a triple threat that you've got to defend". Belichick, when asked about the article, said he had yet to read it.
With players like linebackers Brian Orakpo and Wesley Woodyard, along with defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, Tom Brady will need to have his offensive line in full protection force.
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