Now the stakes get higher for the inexperienced Titans, but that doesn't mean they don't have personnel that can cause some problems. Pressuring Brady and winning one-on-ones on the outside will be pivotal if the Titans defense is going to have success against the New England offense and get them off the field.
Trailing by 18 points in the second half, Tennessee went with a shotgun "11" personnel look on almost every snap (three receivers on the field). That was the second of the now five Super Bowl victories for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick together in New England.
Asked if expected to return to coach New England next season, the famously taciturn Belichick responded with one word - "Absolutely" - insisting he remained exclusively focused on the Titans. They allowed less than 23 points-per-game in the regular season and were able to do a great job against the rush and the pass, but facing off with the Patriots is a much different task than anything they've come up against so far.
After a week of off-field drama, it's time to play an actual game.
This may not be a bold prediction, but expect the Patriots to win big Saturday. "They've got veteran players at all levels", said the 40-year-old Brady, who is 16 years older than Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, the biggest age gap between starting quarterbacks in playoff history.
"When it comes down to it, it's all about us", Mariota said. "I can still get a little better, but it feels good to be out there". "He had a good game, did some good things, and I think he's in a good place", offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie said. It doesn't really matter what happened outside of this facility.
Brady declined to touch on his new documentary series set to drop on Facebook in the coming months, "Tom vs".
Tennessee recognizes the challenge it faces against Brady. "This is about Tennessee". "We want to make noise while we're here".
"But the trailer just came out", the reporter said. "I'm just making sure I'm doing all the right things this week", Henry said. "We'll see after the Tennessee game".
Three of the Patriots four running backs were limited in practice this week with Mike Gillislee (Knee) sitting out during the first practice.
As for Henry, he had accused himself of running "soft" in his first start against Jacksonville, where he had only 51 yards on 28 carries. The Pats have until Friday at 4 pm ET to activate Mitchell for the game on Saturday. So the Patriots have to play a full 60 minutes and score when the opportunities present themselves because the Titans are tough and confident in close situations.
Now at Saint Thomas Sports Park, the people who will have a hand in the outcome are the Titans players and coaches. "At the end of the day, it's not about old guys are going to win or young guys are going to win, the home team, the road team". The Titans should feed him at least 25-30 times and give him an opportunity to wear out the Patriots defense and keep them in the game. "This week has been intense".
New England's wide receivers have taken a ton of criticism in recent weeks for their lack of production.
On Thursday, the Patriots fielded ideal attendance for the first time since September 29. That's what we're getting paid for, so to be a professional is to put everything aside and go out there and do the best you can for the team and try and help us win. A very small part of me says that Belichick created this as extra motivation for his team, then again, they really don't need it considering they are the odds-on favorite.
Britt has waited the longest out of any of the players to appear in a postseason game.