Patriots vs. Titans: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

What Patriots players are saying about ESPN's report on rift

What Patriots players are saying about ESPN's report on rift

It would be easy to add to the above figures and list all the reasons why the Patriots will advance to their seventh consecutive AFC Championship game. It was very encouraging to see that effort from Marcus Mariota who has been much maligned for a lot of the season.

By now, you've probably heard about the three-way ego power-play acrimony that's supposedly prevalent inside those walls - the Hall of Fame-bound head coach (Bill Belichick) unhappy with one of the most successful team owners of all-time (Robert Kraft) and the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback (Tom Brady) agitated with the coach. As a result, the Pacers are tied for eighth in scoring (107.3 points), are fifth in 3-point percentage (37.9) and are just one victory behind last year's 41-win pace.

The 2015 Heisman Trophy victor from the University of Alabama made up for that with an National Football League postseason debut for the record books, but getting the second-year pro to acknowledge any change in his own confidence - or simply being pleased after a big game - is as tough as tackling him in the open field. Brady knows Belichick is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and Belichick understands his quarterback has his volatile moments (such as his sideline meltdown with Josh McDaniels a few weeks ago).

"That's a good question", Brady said when asked about why he commissioned the documentary and what he hopes viewers will get from it. Road weariness could become a bit of an issue especially in another cold atmosphere in New England. I might be 100 percent right. He should also pass his way through a weak Patriots secondary. That won't matter on Saturday.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick detailed a list of attributes that explain why containing the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry - who made back-to-back starts with veteran rusher DeMarco Murray sidelined by a knee injury - can prove hard.

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"He does a good job taking care of the ball, period", he said.

White's return will be of utmost importance during the postseason.

Not many outsiders are giving the Titans much of a chance against the defending Super Bowl champs. The Titans didn't abandon the run, though. Rex Burkhead (six total touchdowns last four games) has been excellent. He's a fast, big man and powerful. With continuity on the offensive line, it's almost impossible to bottle up the diminutive tailback.

One of the biggest knocks against the Patriots offense is the lack of depth at the receiver position. The impending free agent excelled as a returner this season, and the Titans happen to have one of the worst kick coverage units in football. The Titans run defense is stout and should contain New England there.

When it comes to the Titans, there are essentially three players to worry about. The second is the vastly underrated Delanie Walker.

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The running backs have also battled injury, and it is unclear heading into this weekend how the snaps will be divided.

In last Saturday's 22-21 wild-card win at Kansas City, Henry rebounded by setting a franchise playoff record with 191 yards from scrimmage as he helped the Titans rally from an 18-point halftime deficit.

To get it, they'll have to stop a quarterback that has been virtually unbeatable in this round of the postseason.

It's ludicrous to think anything other than an opponent's great performance (such as Eli Manning and the Giants' defense in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI) can derail a Patriots team that has had unprecedented success over a 16-year span. Maybe, just maybe, they can make the Pats worry.

Henry: "I got more in the flow of the game".

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This may not be a bold prediction, but expect the Patriots to win big Saturday.

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