New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans


After escaping Arrowhead Stadium with a one-point victory in the first round of the AFC playoffs, the Titans visit top-seeded and defending Super Bowl champion New England on Saturday night.

They are saving their big fiasco for next week when they'll be pasted by the Patriots.

That 13-point spread will be the biggest of these playoffs regardless of what happens going forward.

The Titans now have to contend with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who led New England with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in only 14 games. They can not fall behind the Patriots by double-digits and expect to come back like last week. "They won it all previous year and have been there plenty of times", Johnson said in a phone interview Thursday. "Marcus (Mariota) watches more film than anybody in the building". Nonetheless, it may just be time to write a new chapter as a member of the Titans.

If anything, that sort of stuff would come from Tennessee GM Jon Robinson, who came up through New England's front office.

Postseason History: Titans: making 22nd overall playoff appearance (17th since merger), 15-19 in postseason play (13-16 since merger)...Patriots: making 25th overall playoff appearance (24th since merger), 32-19 in postseason play (31-18 since merger)...

The Tennessee Titans went on the road last week and beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 to advance in the NFL Playoffs.

When I started this column, my wife Sharon quickly said, "They're going to get killed".

Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee out for Patriots
The 5-foot-10 back has been a consistent dual threat in 10 games for the Patriots' offense this season. Running back DeMarco Murray is out for the Titans with a knee injury.

If Mariota, Henry and Casey dominate and the Titans avoid big mistakes (Mariota threw a career-high 15 interceptions during the regular season), they'll have a small shot.

It was a stunning choke job for the Chiefs considering how dominant they were in the first half.

Running back Derrick Henry, carrying the mail in place of an injured DeMarco Murray (knee), ran for 156 yards and a score and was the team's second-leading receiver.

HEISMAN BROTHERS: Mariota, the 2014 Heisman victor, and Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman victor, combined to turn in the best rushing performance in franchise history in the wild-card round. If Henry can't get going, the Titans will have to rely on Mariota's arm, and that could spell doom for their chances. That might not be good news for Tennessee.

8 - Interceptions by Byard, tying him for the National Football League lead.

The Patriots are vulnerable to the run, having allowed 4.7 yards per carry.

A report in ESPN claimed that the relationship between Brady, Belichick and owner Robert Kraft had become strained as a effect of "serious disagreements" between the trio, concerning the quarterback's trainer, body coach and business partner Alex Guerrero, the long-term plan at quarterback and the trade of Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers - as well as the veteran head coach's style. And we've heard from Brady on more than one occasion as he maintains things are just fine between himself, Kraft and Belichick.

The Titans reporter/radio host reported Friday on the team's travel delays.