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Titans @ Patriots

Divisional Round 1/13 8:15 PM

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#1 Vin

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:36 PM

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Having already survived two win-or-go-home battles, the Tennessee Titans face their toughest test when they visit the defending champion New England Patriots in Saturday night's AFC divisional round game.

 

The Titans pulled out a 15-10 home win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in their regular-season finale to earn a spot in the playoffs. They then went on the road and rallied from 21-3 down and stunned the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 to advance for the second time.

 

Now, the Titans are two-touchdown underdogs as the Patriots are expected by most people to take the next step toward their sixth Super Bowl crown of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Era.

 

"It just shows that how tough of a team they are under the pressure," New England's Rob Gronkowski said earlier this week. "They've basically won two playoff games -- one to get into the playoffs and a playoff game last week. It just shows how tough they are, how fundamental they are and that they're ready to bring it in the clutch times."

 

The Patriots have won the last six games between the teams and the Titans haven't won in Foxborough since 1993, when they were the Houston Oilers.

 

While the Titans were pulling off their major comeback against the Chiefs, the Patriots were going through another bye week, but one that was filled with controversy. An ESPN report dealt with dissension among New England's power trio of owner Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady -- much of it centering around the Pats' trade of Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for just a second-round draft choice.

 

So, the Patriots have been dealing with questions all week -- as the Titans just prepare.

 

"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. "I'm not a social media guy. I don't know enough, I really don't, to make any comment about something like that."

 

One thing, besides championships, the Patriots have become known for is blocking out distractions. Belichick simply won't allow any outside stimuli to affect his team.

 

"Throughout my years here I've seen a lot of negative, a lot of positive," Gronkowski said Tuesday. "The reputation that Coach tries to get us to have is just ignore the noise -- ignore the noise from the outside and I feel like that's what myself and a lot of other players have been doing.

 

"You just gotta ignore the noise and just focus on what we've been doing all year and that's preparing hard, studying our opponent, getting ready, mentally and physically for the big game, so what's going on on the outside, as a team, as an organization, just gotta keep grinding, keep going, keep doing our job."

 

The New England defense is spending the week preparing for mobile quarterback Marcus Mariota, a third-year pro who can make things happen with his legs. He ran 87 yards for a 2015 touchdown.

 

"He actually knows when to run and when to pass the ball when scrambling," Patriots safety Duron Harmon said Wednesday. "It's a very unique skill because a lot of guys once they get scrambling, they're not even looking downfield anymore, they're just looking to run. But he always has his eyes downfield -- always knows when to run, when to throw the pass, I would say his touch on the ball, too, that gets people open when he's scrambling."

 

Mariota, who threw 13 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions during the regular season, had two touchdown passes and one pick in the playoff win. One of the touchdowns passes actually went to himself after Darrelle Revis batted down one of his passes before Mariota caught it and scored.

 

But Mariota was also sixth in the NFL (Brady was first) in third-down passer rating.

 

Wednesday, the Titans announced running back DeMarco Murray will miss his third straight game with a knee injury, while the Patriots could get both James White and Rex Burkhead back to further fortify a running game that has excelled even without them thanks to Dion Lewis.

 

Earlier this week, Titans' All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said the goal of his defense is pretty simple -- turn Brady into Blake Bortles.

 

"It's a playoff game, so it's not like it's the preseason where I can go out there, 'Oh, it's Brady,' and I'm chillin'," Byard said Tuesday.

 

"This is a playoff game. So I don't really care if it was Joe Montana. You know what I'm saying? I'm trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks.

 

"Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it's a playoff game. I'm not really looking at it like that."

 

Cornerback Logan Ryan, a former Patriots player now with the Titans, has been limited in practice with an ankle injury.

 

 

 

One game closer to the Jags losing to the Titans three times in one season.


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#2 RazorStar

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:28 PM

That would require the Titans to beat the Patriots which has never happened.

 

(ok it happened once in their history, but still.)

 

:Pats: 25

:Titans: 14


Edited by RazorStar, 11 January 2018 - 09:28 PM.

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#3 DalaiLama4Ever

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:34 PM

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Titans secondary will torture Brady. Brady is on one of the worst stretches of his career and this game is going to make the Patriots wish they didn't give Jimmy G up for nothing. Hoodie's last game as a Patriot as well.

Tits - 24

Patriots - 13


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#4 seanbrock

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:28 PM

I hope you're right JD but you won be.

:Pats: 34
:Titans: 13

Edited by seanbrock, 11 January 2018 - 11:28 PM.

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#5 SteVo

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:36 AM

In the playoffs during the Brady/Belichick era, the Patriots are 8-9 when their opponent runs the ball 25 or more times in the game. They're about to be 9-9.

 

:Pats: 34

:Titans: 20


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#6 Sparty

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:51 AM

Got some money riding on this. This won't be pretty. :Pats: 35 :Titans: 10
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#7 seanbrock

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:05 PM

Got some money riding on this. This won't be pretty. :Pats: 35 :Titans: 10

14 point spread scares me even if it's the Pats.
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#8 Sparty

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:03 PM

New England has covered the spreads against bad teams at home the last three times:

 

vs. Jets (-16) won by 20

vs. Bills (-11) won by 21

vs. Dolphins (-16.5) won by 18

 

The spread may be scary, but so are the Patriots at home against bad teams, ESPECIALLY this being a playoff game the Titans (really) shouldn't be in. 


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#9 BJORN

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:27 PM

Titans secondary will torture Brady. Brady is on one of the worst stretches of his career and this game is going to make the Patriots wish they didn't give Jimmy G up for nothing. Hoodie's last game as a Patriot as well.

Tits - 24

Patriots - 13

We can dream right?

 

But I really can see the Titans pulling the upset.


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#10 .AirMcNair.

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:48 PM

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In the playoffs during the Brady/Belichick era, the Patriots are 8-9 when their opponent runs the ball 25 or more times in the game. They're about to be 9-9.

 

:Pats: 34

:Titans: 20

Stats like this have never made any sense to use anyway because of course you're going to have a bad record against teams that run the ball 25+ times because if that happens( at least, in this day and age), it's likely because the other team was running out of the clock with a lead.


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#11 DalaiLama4Ever

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:52 PM

We can dream right?

 

But I really can see the Titans pulling the upset.

 

 

Ha. Most of that is a little over the top, but I do think the Titans can do it. Byard pick 6 incoming.


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#12 Spread Eagle

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:08 PM

Derrick Henry gets 250 all purpose yards and 3 TD's...

 

But the Titans get a 50 burger hung on them.

 

:Titans: 21

 

:Pats: 50

 

You cannot stop reckless hate.


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#13 BigBen07

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:12 AM

Patriots 38-24


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#14 seanbrock

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:33 PM

Ha. Most of that is a little over the top, but I do think the Titans can do it. Byard pick 6 incoming.

if this happens I'm giving you positive reply for every one of your posts for a week lol. I really want the Titans to win but I just don't know lol.
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#15 BwareDWare94

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:56 PM

Two questions:

1. How fucking stupid is Tennessee's playcaller that the mouthbreather calls an obvious run on 4th and short with no timeouts and just over 20 seconds on the clock?

2. How truly pathetic is Marcus Mariota at the LoS that he doesn't check to another play? Does he have no authority?

Jesus. Mularkey really needs to be fired. You can prevent that horrible sequence of events as a coach.

It also doesn't help that that fucking Taylor dropped a pass after he missed on downfield.

Go home trash Titans
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#16 DalaiLama4Ever

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:01 PM

Refs have been horrible. Titans aren't playing as cleanly as they need to though. Whoever runs the Titans offense should seriously be let go...ON one hand I do kinda like that they are trying to air it out -- the problem is that they aren't connecting on like ANY of these deep balls. Just wasted downs. They then follow up that missed deep balls with like a 3 yard run, then have to punt. It's a terrible offensive flow and not succeeding over and over has to be a drain on the offensive players (even sub-consciously).  They need to start chaining together some positive plays, gain some momentum, and move the ball down the field, because the Patriots are extremely smart and wearing out this pretty good Titans defense.

 

And Mularkey and his clock management? Are you joking me? Maybe Mularkey is getting paid by New England.

Just nothing is really going right for a TItans team that needed to do mostly everything right that they can control. No matter what this score ends up being, I still would argue that the Titans have the TEAM and PLAYERS to compete and yes, beat the Patriots... 


Edited by Olenna4Ever, 13 January 2018 - 10:04 PM.

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#17 SteVo

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:27 AM

Has a coach ever been fired after a season in which he won a playoff game? If not, I think there's a case to be made for Mularkey to be the first. He's a holdover from the Wisenhunt regime and if the Titans want to optimize the Marcus Mariota era, they've got to find someone else.

 

On the other side, just the seventh AFC Championship appearance for the Patriots. In the 16 seasons Brady has been their QB, they've made it this far 12 times. :coffee:


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#18 oochymp

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:34 AM

Has a coach ever been fired after a season in which he won a playoff game? If not, I think there's a case to be made for Mularkey to be the first. He's a holdover from the Wisenhunt regime and if the Titans want to optimize the Marcus Mariota era, they've got to find someone else

I actually wouldn't mind Mularkey sticking around add long as there's a change at OC and Mularkey agrees to let the new guy implement a new system.
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#19 DalaiLama4Ever

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:43 AM

If you're going to neuter him and take all control from him (which is the right thing to do), may as well just get somebody new in there, IMO.


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#20 BJORN

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:12 AM

We can dream right?

 

But I really can see the Titans pulling the upset.

I'd neg myself if I could :rog:


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