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AFC Divisional Matchup: Titans-Patriots Game Preview

Posted Jan 11, 2018

The Tennessee Titans (10-7) face the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots (13-3) in a primetime AFC Divisional Round matchup Saturday at Gillette Stadium (8:15 p.m. EST/7:15 p.m. CST).

NASHVILLE — Following a one-point victory in the Wild Card Round, the Tennessee Titans (10-7) travel this week to face the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots (13-3) in a primetime Divisional Round matchup. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium (capacity 66,829) is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST/7:15 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 13.

This is the third time the two franchises have met in the postseason, having split the previous two outings. The last time was Jan. 10, 2004, when the Patriots edged the Titans 17-14 in the bitter cold of Foxborough, Mass. The temperature at kickoff was 4 degrees, making it at the time the coldest game in Titans/Oilers history.

THE BROADCAST

This week's game will be nationally televised on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and analyst Tony Romo will call the action, while Tracy Wolfson and Jay Feely report from the sidelines.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Dave McGinnis, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

Additionally, Westwood One Sports will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Play-by-play announcer Kevin Kugler and analyst Jason Taylor will have the call, with Hub Arkush serving as sideline reporter.

TITANS CONTINUE AFTER MEMORABLE WIN IN KANSAS CITY

Last week the Titans opened the NFL postseason with a 22-21 win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, giving the franchise its first postseason win since Jan. 3, 2004. After the Titans trailed 21-3 at the start of the second half, their victory tied for the second-largest comeback by a road team in NFL playoff history, and it was the largest since 1972, when the Dallas Cowboys came back from an 18-point deficit in the Divisional Round to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.

The Titans set a franchise single-game postseason record with 202 rushing yards against the Chiefs, including 156 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries by running back Derrick Henry. Henry's single-game rushing yardage total finished second in franchise postseason history, and his 191 scrimmage yards established a new postseason record for the franchise, breaking Billy Cannon's 57-year-old record (178 on Jan. 1, 1961).

Quarterback Marcus Mariota's 19-of-31, 205-yard passing performance included one of the most unlikely touchdowns in NFL playoff annals. In the third quarter, he caught one of his own passes after it was batted by Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis. Mariota dove to the pylon for what would be scored as a six-yard touchdown pass and reception. In NFL history, including regular season and postseason games, it marked only the second time a quarterback completed a touchdown pass to himself. The only other occasion was Oct. 12, 1997, when Brad Johnson accomplished the feat.

Mariota's signature performance also included a game-winning, 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker in the fourth quarter and 46 rushing yards.

Defensively, the Titans totaled four sacks in the game and kept the Chiefs off the scoreboard in the second half. In the final two quarters, the Chiefs offense was limited to three first downs, 61 total yards, 28 rushing yards and one third-down conversion on five attempts.

THE PATRIOTS

The Patriots enjoyed a bye last week after winning the AFC East and securing the conference's top playoff seed. They extended their NFL-record streak with their ninth consecutive division title and now shoot for their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers' mark for the most in history. The Patriots became the first team in NFL history with at least 12 wins in eight consecutive seasons

Quarterback Tom Brady led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards in his 18th NFL campaign. During the season, he became the fourth NFL player to reach the 65,000-yard mark (66,159), joining Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Drew Brees.

Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have been to seven Super Bowls together with five wins.

Belichick, who has coached the Patriots since Brady's rookie season in 2000, is the third winningest coach in NFL history. He surpassed Tom Landry in 2017 and now owns 276 combined victories in the regular season and postseason.