Quarterbacks are generally the top story in the NFL.
It's the most important position in the sport, maybe in all of sports. Teams with proven quarterbacks win. Teams without proven quarterbacks do everything they can to find the right guy for the job.
Quarterbacks are an even bigger part of the story this Divisional Playoff weekend as each of the four matchups is a battle between a proven, veteran postseason passer an inexperienced foe.
The Boston Globe declares that in New England, Tom Brady is shrugging off the age difference between himself and young Tennessee playmaker Marcus Mariota. The Globe also has linebacker James Harrison saying he's "more comfortable" with the Patriots defense now that he's been in New England for a few weeks. The* Globe *observes that the Patriots had a full roster of players on the practice field for Thursday's workout in preparation for the Titans. The *Globe *notes that while NFL ratings are indeed down, the sport is still king.
The Boston Herald writes that Chris Hogan was removed from the Patriots injury report and will play on Saturday night. Herald *columnist Ron Borges says that once again Brady and his "warrior spirit" have a lot of prove. The *Herald *breaks down the Patriots and Titans battle by declaring which team has the edge at which positions. The *Herald recaps Brady's past success against defenses coordinated by Dick LeBeau. The Herald's Titans notebook says that second-year All-Pro Tennessee safety Kevin Byard knows how to pick 'em.
The* Providence Journal suspects that Mariota's mobility will test a weakness of the New England defense. The Pro Jo* predicts that Harrison could play a bigger role against the Titans, which will be his second game in a New England uniform. The Pro Jo also observes Brady's laser focus heading into yet another postseason game.
ESPNBoston.com writes that Brady can further solidify his standing atop the NFL's playoff record books. ESPNBoston.com also writes about Hogan being cleared to play against Tennessee. ESPNBoston.com passes along Brady dismissing the age difference between himself and Mariota. ESPNBoston.com has some Patriots recalling the team's last loss in the Divisional round.
The website fivethirtyeight.com wonders if Brady is finally getting old, saying the numbers suggest a decline similar to Peyton Manning's. "Brady himself has been quietly marred in a slump. Brady's last five games of the 2017 regular season were uncharacteristically mediocre, despite New England going 4-1 in that span."
WEEI.com describes Brady in his Thursday press conference not wanting to talk about the documentary series he's taking part in, despite the fact that he and its other producers chose this week to promote its upcoming release on Facebook. WEEI.com notes that Kyle Van Noy was also removed from the New England injury report. WEEI.com passes along an Colin Cowherd declaring that Brady's body coach and business partner, Alex Guerrero, will be the "scapegoat" when the Patriots lose in the playoffs.
NBC Sports Boston passes along Brady saying that consistency is what makes Bill Belichick so great this time of year.
NFL.com has the league announcing the games to be played in London in 2018 and the Patriots are not in the mix. NFL.com ranks the top 25 players set to be free agents this spring, with former New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo taking the No. 1 spot, though three current Patriots also make the list. NFL.com predicts a 34-17 win for New England on Saturday night.
CBSSports.com wonders how much the Patriots would need in return to trade Belichick.
Yahoo! says a fired-up Brady is on a mission.
The *New York Post *advises that people should buy into the effects of what it refers to as "Egogate" at their own peril.
The *Washington Post *offers up five reasons the Titans could upset the Patriots.
NESN.com passes along a Titans beat writer calling the Patriots "cheaters."