There is plenty to talk about regarding the Patriots playoff opener Saturday night at Gillette Stadium against the Titans.
From a New England perspective, there are theories about the Patriots improving health and potential to be a better team in the postseason. On the other side, the breakdowns of the Titans and how they got to the second round of the postseason continue to evolve.
The Boston Globe has former Titans receiver and New England newcomer talking about a career restart with the Patriots. The Globe looks at the Patriots past struggles against mobile quarterbacks. The Globe breaks down how the Titans mobile quarterback, Marcus Mariota, has breathed life into the Tennessee team. The Globe notes that linebacker Marquis Flowers joined Mike Gillislee as the* two absentees from Patriots practice*.
The Boston Herald says the Patriots pass-catching backs could go wild against the Titans. The Herald writes that Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler are happy to be climbing the rookie wall together. The Herald Patriots notebook has Alan Branch ready to return from injury to help out the New England defensive front. Herald columnist Steve Buckley declares that the Red Sox aren’t close to challenging the Patriots for the stronghold on the Boston sports scene.
The Providence Journal says that the Patriots defense bends but rarely breaks. The Pro Jo also writes that linebacker Kyle Van Noy is expected to provide a boost to the Patriots defense after dealing with a calf injury to close out the regular season. The Pro Jo notes that Dion Lewis has always believed he could be one of the NFL’s best backs. The Pro Jo also writes that the Patriots are preparing for a physical Titans team.
ESPN has Wise sounding a little about 76ers NBA star Joel Embiid when talking about his own rookie season. ESPN compares Matt Patricia and the three other defensive coordinators interviewed by the Cardinals for the team’s head coaching job.
ESPNBoston.com breaks down how the Patriots roster has turned over since last February’s Super Bowl victory. ESPNBoston.com also notes* Branch being ready to boost the run defense. ESPNBoston.com has the Patriots talking about the need to keep Mariota in the pocket*.
WEEI.com says the Patriots aren’t exactly playing their best heading into the postseason. WEEI.com says Rex Burkhead and Branch are likely to play on Saturday night. WEEI.com passes along Titans players talking about being 13-point underdogs. WEEI.com also passes along an ESPN personality calling Patriots fans “some of the dumbest in sports.”
NBC Sports Boston says New England’s offseason spending spree is going to pay postseason dividends. NBC Sports Boston looks at how Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey could be a handful for the New England line to deal with. NBC Sports Boston declares that Tennessee’s current GM should be given some of the credit for past Patriots draft success.
Sports Illustrated has Steelers safety Mike Mitchell guaranteeing a win over the Patriots in the upcoming AFC title game, a contest neither team is guaranteed to even be in. SI also offers up what can and cannot beat the Patriots in the playoffs.