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12 Enero 2018, 04:49 | Gerardo Tarin
Alex Smith and the Chiefs are looking to pick up their first home playoff victory since 1994 as they host the Titans Saturday
Mularkey took over, and he's now 21-21 after a stunning comeback for a 22-21 win at Kansas City in the wild-card round. They were supposed to fall victim to the resurgent Chiefs. But then they had to go and do the unthinkable.
Kansas City recorded just 56 yards in the second half. The Chiefs had been weak against the run all season. Demarco Murray has been ruled out, so a steady diet of Henry runs, plus Marcus Mariota quarterback runs will be essential for the Titans to move the ball and control time of possession.
And it worked like a charm. Murray rushed for 659 yards and six touchdowns on 184 carries and caught 39 passes for 266 yards and one touchdown in 15 games, all as a starter.
Mariota's overall numbers were pedestrian - completed 19-of-31 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns - but his impact was enormous in a game where the Titans erased a 19-point halftime deficit. "New Orleans may have the brand names on its offense, but Minnesota's are very productive players and its defense is very good". "It's been addressed, and I'm full-speed ahead getting ready for New England with our staff". Can you point at a specific time where the defense turned it around? And are these Titans capable of pulling off a memorable upset?
So-who's going to win?
Both AFC South representatives are significant underdogs, the Titans at New England on Saturday night, the Jaguars at Pittsburgh on Sunday. Once again, they gained more yards per game than anyone else (394.2). That game also will be on CBS.
With an extra week of rest under them, the Patriots hope to have wide receiver Chris Hogan and running backs James White and Rex Burkhead active. After the Patriots were arguably the NFL's worst defense in September, Patricia molded them into a top 10 unit in scoring defense (fifth) and sacks (ninth).
The Titans actually ranked 4th in rushing yards allowed, with just 88.8 per game. Despite Atlanta's struggles early on, they still have a prolific offense. Given the Titans' ability to make even average tight ends look like All-Pros at times, it's hard to imagine what atrocities Gronkowski could inflict on this defense if Tom Brady has time to find him. "We'll see after the Tennessee game".
Players such as Brian Orakpo, Jurrell Casey, and Derrick Morgan must disrupt the line of scrimmage and pressure Brady if the Titans are to have any chance Saturday.
"They don't do a lot of things to beat themselves", Andrews said.
One playoff game win added to the resume, and it appears the hot-seat just became much cooler. They must be able to establish the run.
Mariota also ran eight times for 46 yards, showing that his mobility was possibly back to normal after dealing with nagging hamstring injury during the regular season.
Asked if he expected to return to coach New England next season, the famously taciturn Belichick responded with one word - "absolutely" - insisting he remained exclusively focused on the Titans. Having discussed it during paid appearances on national broadcasts, Brady didn't get into details - but he did note that dealing with potential distractions is no big deal after so many seasons.
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