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Patriots reach seventh successive AFC championship game

14 January 2018

And according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, New England should be getting back wideout Chris Hogan, who torched the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of nine catches, 180 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC Championship Game previous year.

After receiving a first-round bye, the Patriots are 13.5-point favorites over Tennessee.

The Patriots are fighting: ESPN published a story last week saying there is serious conflict among owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

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The second quarter provided the answer: a resounding no. They'd never look back in this one. You have an offense that hasn't clicked as much as some had hoped this year perhaps rounding into form. Belichick said everyone on defense has to do his job.

For the third game in a row, the Tennessee Titans will be without starting running back DeMarco Murray because of a knee injury. While that question may still be out there for many to talk over, one thing that can not be questioned is the courage he has displayed in big moments for the Titans in his first playoff game.

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. The Patriots offense led the league in yards per drive. And even if both do that, the Titans will need to get some help from their underrated defense. The Patriots had to settle for a 31-yard gain, but it set up White's first touchdown as the Patriots answered Tennessee's score. The Titans had to punt from their own 17-yard line and the Patriots capitalized on the short field to take a 14-7 lead on a 6-yard James White run.

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The top seeded New England Patriots will host the Tennessee Titans in an AFC Divisional Round matchup on Saturday. Henry will be starting his third straight game with DeMarco Murray already out (right knee).

Mariota got one more TD pass, hitting Davis again, this time from 11 yards, with 1:55 left in the game. Mariota's passer rating was 79.3, and he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,232 yards, 13 TDs and 15 INTs. He threw his 10 career postseason game with three touchdown passes. The Titans have to bring pressure to him, especially up the middle. "We know we have to be better than we were last week, executing plays that are called and just practicing on being efficient on every drive that we have". The fire and passion with which the quarterback played was particularly evident late in the third quarter after a 2-yard touchdown run by Brandon Bolden, after which Brady raised his arms in the air and then delivered an emphatic fist pump. He put the Titans up 7-0 after one quarter. This is the first for Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

It wasn't always apparent during the regular season. Brady and Gronkowski hooked up for a 4-yard touchdown on a simple fade pattern that pushed it to 35-7. Mariota finished 22 of 37 for 254 yards and two touchdowns with 37 rushing yards. But he wasn't able to pull out any second-half magic like he did last week and was under constant assault in the second half.

But the Titans are a team that has a lot of momentum after coming back from an 18 point deficit against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend. For him to play Saturday, the Patriots would have to activate him tomorrow by 4 p.m. "You do all the meetings, and walk-throughs, and March, April, May, June try to work out and be prepared for the season, and you get through it and you make it through a whole season and have a chance to compete with everything at stake", he said.

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Mariota connected with Davis for an 11-yard TD in garbage time with 1:55 to play.

Patriots reach seventh successive AFC championship game