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Behind Enemy Lines: An Inside Look at the New England Patriots

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans face the New England Patriots on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Here’s a look at the Patriots:

Record: 7-2.

Last game: Beat the Packers, 31-17.

Points for/against: 30.0 ppg/22.4 ppg.

NFL rankings:

Offense: 9th overall, 387.6 ypg (14th rushing, 11th passing).

Defense: 24th overall, 381.1 ypg (14th rushing, 26th passing).

Head coach: Bill Belichick.

TEAM LEADERS:

Offense:

QB: Tom Brady (221-of-330, 2,494 yards, 17 TD, 7 INT, 97.7 rating).

Top RBs: Sony Michel (95 rush, 422 yards, 4 TDs), James White (60 rush, 235 yards, 4 TDs).

Top WRs: RB James White (61 catches, 531 yards, 6 TDs), WR Julian Edelman (31 catches, 322 yards, 2 TDs), WR Josh Gordon (23 catches, 413 yards, 3 TDs).

TE: Rob Gronkowski (29 catches 448 yards, 1 TD).

Defense:

Sacks: DE Deatrich Wise (3.5).

Leading tackler: LB Kyke Van Noy (53).

Interceptions: CB Jonathan Jones (2), CB J.C. Jackson (2).

Take/Give: plus-4.

Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski (18-20 FGs).

Punter: Ryan Allen (45.7 net).
Last meeting: January 13, 2018 (playoffs): Patriots 35, Titans 14.

Titans connections:

-Titans cornerback Logan Ryan played from 2013-16 with the Patriots.

-Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler played from 2014-17 with the Patriots.

-Titans running back Dion Lewis played in 2016-17 with the Patriots.

-Titans guard Josh Kline played from 2013-15 with the Patriots.

-Titans coach Mike Vrabel played from 2001-08 under head coach Bill Belichick with the Patriots.

-Titans general manager Jon Robinson spent 12 years with the Patriots, including his last five years (2009-13) as the director of college scouting.

-Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees joined the Patriots staff as a linebackers coach (2004) and served as defensive coordinator in New England from 2006-09.

-Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty played eight seasons with the Titans, and appeared in 108 games with the team.

-Patriots offensive lineman Brian Schwenke was a 2013 draft pick by the Titans who played in 57 games with the team.

Local connections

-Patriots coach Bill Belichick was born in Nashville.

-Patriots defensive lineman Adam Butler played at Vanderbilt.

-Patriots linebacker Don’t’a Hightower grew up in Lewisburg.

-Patriots guard Shaq Mason is a native of Columbia.

Injury Report

-OT Trent Brown (illness)

-LS Joe Cardona (shoulder)

-WR Julian Edelman (ankle)

-TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back)

-LB Don’t’a Hightower (knee)

-TE Jacob Hollister (hamstring)

-G Shaq Mason (calf)

-RB Sony Michel (knee)

-WR Cordarrelle Patterson (neck)

-DE John Simon (shoulder)

Titans coach Mike Vrabel on Patriots QB Tom Brady:

“I guess I take that as not a compliment. He’s a competitive player, competitive person on and off the field. He loves football, and I think that’s the first thing, is that he loves everything about football. He loves the locker room, he loves the challenges that it brings, he loves going out on the field and competing. His body can do it longer than mine could at the position that he plays.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on what he sees from quarterback Marcus Mariota:

“Well, he had a great game (vs Dallas). He ran for a touchdown and threw the ball well. He had a lot of big third-down conversions. He beat Dallas with his feet and with his arms. He always does a great job at the line of scrimmage, controlling the plays and options that he has on different plays – to keep the ball, or to run, or hand it off, or to throw it, things like that. He’s very good and adept to those. He makes good decisions. They give him a lot of responsibility and he handles it well.”

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