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Patriots host Titans in Divisional game

The top-seeded New England Patriots will host the sixth home playoff game in club history when they welcome the fifth-seeded Tennessee Titans to Foxborough on Saturday night.

The top-seeded New England Patriots will host the sixth home playoff game in club history when they welcome the fifth-seeded Tennessee Titans to Foxborough on Saturday night. In their first playoff game at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots will see a familiar foe in the Titans, who last paid a visit to New England on Oct. 5, 2003. In that game, the Patriots prevailed in a 38-30 shootout, the first win in a franchise-record 12-game winning streak to end the 2003 regular season with an NFL-leading 14-2 record.

The Patriots will participate in their first playoff game since their victory in Super Bowl XXXVI, and have compiled a 6-3 record in the playoffs since 1996. While the Patriots are coming off of a first-round bye, the Titans are fresh off of a 20-17 win at Baltimore in the Wild Card Round that punched their ticket to Foxborough. Like the Patriots, the Titans have enjoyed recent postseason prosperity, having won the AFC Championship in 1999 and reached the conference championship last season. With a berth in this year's AFC Championship at stake, the Patriots will face their toughest challenge to date.

TELEVISION
This week's game will be televised by CBS. The game can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Greg Gumbel will handle the play-by-play duties and Phil Simms will provide analysis. Armen Keteyian will provide reports from the sidelines throughout the game.

RADIO
WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
NATIONAL RADIO

This week's game will be broadcast nationally by CBS Radio. Brad Sham will call the play-by-play, and he will be joined in the booth by analyst Kellen Winslow. John Dockery will report from the sidelines.

HOME COOKING
The Patriots finished 8-0 at Gillette Stadium this season, recording the first undefeated home season in team history. New England is 17-3 in its last 20 home games. The Patriots are 4-1 at home in the playoffs.
RECORD STREAK

The Patriots ended the 2003 regular season with a 12-game winning streak to finish the season at 14-2. The streak is tied for the third longest season-ending winning streak in NFL history. Every other NFL team to end a season with 12 or more consecutive wins has advanced to play for the league championship. Only three teams in league history have ended a season with more consecutive wins than the Patriots, and only one team has done so in the last 30 years (Denver, 1998). The first 11 wins in the Patriots' streak were all by 14 points or fewer, making them the first team in league history to win so many games by such a narrow margin.
MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS, SINGLE SEASON

WinsTeamYearPlayoff Result
14Miami1972Won Super Bowl VII
13Chicago1934Lost in NFL Championship Game
Denver 1998Won Super Bowl XXXIII
12New England 2003
Minnesota 1969Lost Super Bowl IV
Chicago1985Won Super Bowl XX

SERIES HISTORY
The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans will play for the second time in the playoffs and for the 37th time overall. The teams last tangled on Oct. 5 at Gillette Stadium, with the Patriots winning a 38-30 shootout. The series between the teams dates back to the days of the Boston Patriots and Houston Oilers of the American Football League. The Patriots have an overall lead in the all-time series, holding a 19-16-1 advantage. The teams played twice each year from 1960-1969 in the AFL, and have played 15 times since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In those 15 post-merger games, the Patriots have a 9-6 record. The Patriots have had significant recent success against the Titans in Foxborough, coming out on the winning end six of the last seven times the Titans have traveled to New England. The other time the teams met in the playoffs, the Oilers spoiled the Patriots' first home playoff game in club history with a 31-14 win in the 1978 Divisional Round.

PATRIOTS 19, HOUSTON/TENNESSEE 16 (1 tie)

**1960**-Houston 24, at Boston 10 -14BU Field
at Houston 37, Boston 21 -16Jeppesen Stadium
**1961**-at Boston 31, Houston 31 tieBU Field
at Houston 27, Boston 15 -12Jeppesen Stadium
**1962**-at Boston 34, Houston 21 13BU Field
at Houston 21, Boston 17 -4Jeppesen Stadium
**1963**-at Boston 45, Houston 3 42Fenway Park
Boston 46, at Houston 28 18Jeppesen Stadium
**1964**-at Boston 25, Houston 24 1Fenway Park
Boston 34, at Houston 17 17Jeppesen Stadium
**1965**-at Houston 31, Boston 10 -21Rice Stadium
at Boston 42, Houston 14 28Fenway Park
**1966-**at Boston 27, Houston 21 6Fenway Park
Boston 38, at Houston 14 24Rice Stadium
**1967**-at Boston 18, Houston 7 11Fenway Park
at Houston 27, Boston 6 -21Rice Stadium
**1968**-Houston 16, at Boston 0 -16Fenway Park
at Houston 45, Boston 17 -28Houston Astrodome
**1969**-at Boston 24, Houston 0 24B.C. Alumni Stadium
at Houston 27, Boston 23 -4Houston Astrodome
**1971**-at NE 28, Houston 20 8Schaefer Stadium
**1973**-NE 32, at Houston 0 32Houston Astrodome
**1975**-Houston 7, at NE 0 -7Schaefer Stadium
**1978**-Houston 26, at NE 23 -3Schaefer Stadium
*Houston 31, at NE 14 -17Schaefer Stadium
**1980**-at Houston 38, NE 34 -4Houston Astrodome
**1981**-at NE 38, Houston 10 28Schaefer Stadium
**1982**-at NE 29, Houston 21 8Schaefer Stadium
**1987**-NE 21, at Houston 7 14Houston Astrodome
**1988**-at Houston 31, NE 6 -25Houston Astrodome
**1989**-at NE 23, Houston 13 10Foxboro Stadium
**1991**-at NE 24, Houston 20 4Foxboro Stadium
**1993**-Houston 28, at NE 14-14Foxboro Stadium
**1998**-at NE 27, Tennessee 16 11Foxboro Stadium
**2002**-at Tennessee 24, NE 7-17The Coliseum
**2003**-at NE 38, Tennessee 30 8Gillette Stadium
*AFC Divisional Playoff

SERIES TRENDS
Overall Record in Series - 19 wins, 16 losses, 1 tie
Record in Postseason - 0 wins, 1 loss
Total Points - Patriots 841, Titans/Oilers 757
Record in New England - 14 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie
Record in Houston - 5 wins, 9 losses
Record in Tennessee - 0 wins, 1 loss

TALE OF THE TAPE

2003 Regular SeasonNew EnglandTennessee
Record14-212-4
Divisional Standings1st2nd
Total Yards Gained5,0395,501
Total Offense (Rank)314.9 (17)343.8 (8)
Rush Offense100.4 (27)101.4 (26)
Pass Offense214.5 (9)242.4 (5)
Points Per Game21.827.2
Total Yards Allowed4,6664,901
Total Defense291.6 (7)306.3 (12)
Rush Defense89.6 (4)80.9 (1)
Pass Defense202.0 (15)225.4 (30)
Points Allowed/Game14.920.3
Possession Avg.30:5032:52
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost32/21925/153
Sacks Made/Yards41/25338/223
Interceptions By2921
Penalties Against/Yards111/998110/887
Punts/Avg.88/37.171/43.9
Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio 17 13

SERIES SUPERLATIVES
Below is a list of the top individual performances in the series between the Patriots and Oilers/Titans.

Rushing:
Patriots:Tony Collins, 32-161 – 5.0 avg. – 0 td (11/28/82)
Titans:Hoyle Granger, 25-139 – 5.7 avg. – 0 td (12/14/69)
Passing
Patriots:Steve Grogan, 39-25-374-3 tds – 2 ints (11/10/80)
Titans:Jackey Lee, 41-27-457-2 tds – 2 ints (12/18/77)
Receiving:
Patriots:Art Graham, 8-167 – 1 td (11/6/64)
Titans:Charles Hennigan, 13-232 – 1 td (10/13/61)

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
The Patriots have an all-time record of 63-41-1 (.605) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against all of the teams they have played. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (19-16-1), Indianapolis (39-24), Houston (1-0) and Jacksonville (4-1). In 2003, the Patriots were a perfect 4-0 against the AFC South, beating Tennessee on Oct. 5 (38-30), Houston on Nov. 23 (23-20 ot), Indianapolis on Nov. 30 (38-34) and Jacksonville on Dec. 14 (27-13).

HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots will host their sixth home playoff game in club history this week against the Titans. It will be their second home playoff game against the Titans franchise. The two teams squared off in New England's first home playoff game on Dec. 31, 1978, when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers. Since that game, a 31-14 Houston win, the Patriots have won four consecutive home playoff contests. This week's game will mark New England's fifth home playoff game since the 1996 season. Including this week's game, five of the franchise's six home playoff games have taken place since Robert Kraft purchased the team 10 years ago.

PATRIOTS AT HOME IN THE PLAYOFFS (4-1)

DateRoundOpponentW/LScore
01/19/02AFC DivisionalOaklandW16-13 ot
12/28/97AFC Wild CardMiamiW17-3
01/12/97AFC ChampionshipJacksonvilleW20-6
01/05/97AFC DivisionalPittsburghW28-3
12/31/78AFC DivisionalHoustonL14-31

CONNECTIONS
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was born on April 16, 1952, in Nashville, Tenn.

  • When he was Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns, Belichick hired Jim Schwartz in the scouting department. Currently, Schwartz is the Defensive Coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.
  • Patriots outside linebackers coach Rob Ryan coached at Tennessee State for five years: running backs, 1989-91; linebackers, 1992; defensive line, 1993.
  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ran for his first career touchdown as he called his own number on an audible and got the Patriots on the scoreboard with a 10-yard quarterback sneak up the middle at Tennessee. (12/16/02)
  • Patriots quarterback Rohan Davey completed his first professional pass, a three-yard strike to Daniel Graham, on the final play of the game against Tennessee. (12/16/02)
  • Patriots running back Kevin Faulk was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL draft (46th overall). The pick was acquired in a trade with the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the Patriots second-round pick (52nd overall-John Thornton) and fourth-round pick (117th overall-Donald Mitchell).
  • Patriots defensive end Anthony Pleasant played his collegiate career at Tennessee State.
  • While playing for the Buffalo Bills, Patriots running back Antowain Smith carried the load in the Wild Card contest against the Titans with 79 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, despite playing with a turf toe injury. In the game he picked up his first two touchdowns in postseason play on runs of four and one yards, becoming just the fourth Bill to score multiple touchdowns in a postseason game. (1/8/00)
  • Titans head coach Jeff Fisher was on Chicago's injured reserve list in 1985 and was assisting Assistant Coach Buddy Ryan as an "unofficial" coach when the Bears beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
  • Titans wide receivers coach Steve Walters began his NFL coaching career with the Patriots in 1992, serving as defensive backs coach for three seasons. After coaching with the Patriots, Walters spent one season coaching at the University of Alabama and 11 seasons coaching for the New Orleans Saints, before returning for two seasons (1997-98) as a wide receivers coach for New England.
  • Patriots tackle Tom Ashworth and tight end Daniel Graham were two years ahead of Titans running back Chris Brown at Colorado. Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and linebacker Ted Johnson also played at Colorado.
  • Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel played one year behind Titans running back Eddie George at Ohio State. Titans' rookie safety Donnie Nickey also played his collegiate career at OSU.
  • Titans tackle Brad Hopkins and running back Robert Holcombe were separated by five years at their alma mater, Illinois. Holcombe and Patriots rookie cornerback Eugene Wilson were also separated by five years at Illinois.
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