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

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

His association with New England started as a rookie tryout player in 2015, when the Patriots coaches saw in him the ability to be a special special-teams player. He showed his mobility and his guts in some of those runs and also had the key block on the play that resulted in a first down and sealed the victory. 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. Now they run into the NFL's best defense. 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. The Pats will want to keep their defense off the field and keep Tom Brady on it. "You've got to beat these teams at their place". 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. Branch, Burkhead and Gillislee are dealing with knee issues, Flowers was limited due to illness, while Lee and White have ankle problems.

NEW ENGLAND begin another play-off campaign with just as high expectations as all the previous seasons. No, he doesn't need any additional motivation with his 35th playoff game on deck, but remember the emotion the Patriots displayed for Brady during the "on to Cincinnati" game in 2014 and his first home game after his Deflategate suspension in 2016. Will it be the defense that allowed at least 30 points in three of its first four games this season?

Gronkowski doesn't have to even catch the ball to be a game-changer, drawing three defenders at times during the season finale against the Jets in which he didn't have a reception.

You know what? I don't care who they are, or what they think, and I never will. Against the Jaguars it was a late-game run, and stiff-arm, followed by a stare down - and a Tennessee win.

The NFL is all about making bold predictions.


Dick LeBeau, Titans defensive coordinator, has faced New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick many times over his career. That is the only way the Titans can win this game: run the football, limit Mariota's opportunities for mistakes and take a few shots down the field to Corey Davis. We rarely see this team overconfident and overlooking a weaker opponent. Henry averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, en route to helping the Titans earn a 22-21 comeback win on the road. Against the Chiefs last week, Henry had his best game of the season with 156 yards on the ground and one touchdown. I've maintained that Mariota is at his best when he makes teams remember that he can get out of the pocket. Guys like Eric Decker and Corey Davis need to not only get open but catch the football.

With the injury to DeMarco Murray, many thought the Titans' running game was going to struggle, but it has actually improved with second-year back Derrick Henry stepping up.

We probably don't give enough credit to the Titans' defense, probably because they don't have the name-brand stars that everyone knows. The 26-year-old quietly has 13 regular-season and playoff picks in five years.

The Titans also have not beaten the Patriots since 2002 - losing each of the teams' last six meetings - and haven't won in Foxboro since 1993, before the franchise moved from Houston. Travis Kelce was very busy for Kansas City, but he left with a head injury and the Titans certainly benefited from his absence. "There won't be a second delay", Belichick said. Therefore, it is paramount that New England ball carriers take care of the football.

Brady said he is not letting negative coverage surrounding the team be a distraction. It will be all hands on deck and time to go work come kickoff.

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