The WPRI Eyewitness News team is hoping to taste sweet victory again as the New England Patriots take on the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. The task will be tough for Tennessee. Running backs have always been a staple in this team's passing offense. Will those distractions galvanize them or will they throw them off course? He referenced Malcolm Butler's game-changing play in Super Bowl XLIX that propelled him to national recognition in a way to motivate them.
And yet the problem with every great dynasty is that they must come to an end.
Derrick Henry was not at all pleased by his performance in the season finale versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Most of the games (2011 vs. Broncos, 2013 vs. Colts, 2016 vs. Texans, 2017 vs. Titans) have landed in the Saturday night slot.
Let's hold our horses here.
Comparing the numbers of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Marcus Mariota would bring just about everyone to laughs. In fact, there are many Titans fans that are not sure he will ever be a great quarterback. For him to play Saturday, the Patriots would have to activate him tomorrow by 4 p.m. Tye Smith has looked like a gem over the past month, filling in as the Titans' No. 3 cornerback after LeShaun Sims went down.
No catchy line for this point.
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And that means no one inside the football offices or locker room at Gillette Stadium will be taking the Titans lightly. "He's a good space back and very athletic guy, can catch the ball", Belichick said of Henry. There can not be any slipups this week versus the Patriots. New England is 13.5 point favorites, so it is clear that bookmakers believe the Patriots will have a relatively easy time with the Titans. Simple fundamentals like running and catching can go a long way. In the end, Tennessee was able to take out the once AFC-leading Chiefs and force them to stay home.
Tom Brady is three wins away from a sixth Super Bowl title, but his legacy is already secure, according to Osi Umenyiora. Well, the Titans need him to be on, and don't be surprised if he does something out of the ordinary. The guy that has to be a huge factor in this one is defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. One of the biggest keys for the Titans will center on how well they perform in the red zone, where the Titans ranked 25th in the regular season.
The veteran pass rusher did not have the season he wanted to this year, only getting seven sacks on the season.
"(Bill Belichick and his staff) coach pretty hard anyway, so it's pretty normal for me", Gilmore added.
So are the Titans probing Ryan for secrets from the organization? However, in this game, he needs to be not only solid on the field but solid in what information he can provide for his team. But that ability, along with a speed (5.9 yards per rushing attempt for his career) few QBs have, is what makes Mariota a serious threat to the Patriots. To put that number into perspective, only four other players on the Titans' defense have an interception, and it's only one each.
Can they do the same in New England? The Patriots have all the pressure on them. Survive and advance or fall to the champs?