Patriots Injury Report: Running Backs Limited, Maybe Mitchell?

U.S. Bank Stadium

I know how hard it is to get to this game. They'll move the ball and put some pressure on New England, which in turn will force the Patriots to keep scoring. Lewis ran for 62 yards and had 79 yards receiving, along with a 27-yard kickoff return against Tennessee.

Asked if 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. The Pats are averaging almost 400 yards per game and 30 points at home.

"It's the first time going against him in a game, but he was pretty clean", Ryan said. These words may come back to haunt me, but I'll say it now with confidence that this Patriots team is vulnerable on defense, and that's why they won't retain their title. New England's pass-catching running backs could prosper too. They are going to need to execute a ideal game plan in order to pull of what would be a major upset. Especially when you consider Garoppolo's pedigree of having spent four seasons in the Patriots' organization, being coached up by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, while serving as the backup to Tom Brady, and his 7-0 record as a starter.

"Nobody respects us. Nobody really expects a lot from us". So it's easy for people to overlook us.

Marcus Mariota threw for 205 yards while adding another 46 on the ground on eight rushes in last week's comeback win. Despite their win last week in Kansas City, this is a weak playoff team but they're not totally inept.

Championships are usually won by the best team. But Lewis is the man and it's been a while (much bigger than LeGarrette Blount's TD-fest here previous two years) since the Patriots had a feared running back. The Patriots earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 13-3 regular season record. Brady's uncharacteristic unevenness down the stretch, coupled with the revelation tucked in an ESPN blockbuster on tensions within the Patriots that his own coaches have seen "slippage" in Brady this season, has prompted the latest round of questions about whether age has finally started to leech Brady's brilliance. It was a Saturday night game.

"I think it just comes down to how well you play", Brady said. In his sixth season with the team, it was just the 10th postseason carry for Bolden and his first career playoff touchdown.

To advance to the AFC Championship game, the Patriots will have to go through the Titans first.

With Gronkowski and Cooks on the field, Hogan should draw single coverage.

BELICHICK and LEBEAU: There aren't too many current National Football League coaches that have been around the game longer than Belichick and Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. And since we haven't gotten a look at this year's playoff Pats, the talk surrounding New England is strictly focused on the aforementioned story which alleges an encroaching breakup.

New England right tackle LaAdrian Waddle left the Patriots' 35-14 victory over Tennessee with a knee injury early in the third quarter. Rob Gronkowski had a massive game with nine receptions for 168 yards.

Gillette Stadium in January is not a place for magical storylines involving New England opponents.

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