Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, as well as others, were forced to answer questions all week after ESPN reported that there was turmoil atop the organisation. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FOXBOROUGH, Mass.
On Thursday, the Patriots fielded ideal attendance for the first time since September 29.
Divisional round games continue on Sunday with the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3), who like the Patriots and Eagles had a first-round bye, hosting AFC South victor Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6).
Hogan attempted to return December 11 for the "Monday Night Football" game at Miami but caught one pass and was visibly limited.
After days spent issuing joint statements and then he and Tom Brady making the rounds doing radio interviews to discredit and deny the contents of the January 5 story from ESPN detailing the supposed "internal power struggle in New England", Belichick declared he and his team were "all in" preparing for the Titans.
In a joint statement last week, all three men brushed aside any insinuation of strife at the top of one of the NFL's jewel franchises. But age isn't exactly at the forefront of the 40-year-old Brady's thinking.
From The Tennessean: "Oh, we interrogated him until he was ready to drop yesterday", Titans coach Mike Mularkey said jokingly of Ryan on Tuesday. So, we try to go out, execute at a high level like it's a game day, try to play as hard, try to play as aware as we can. "But, he always has his eyes downfield, always knows when to run, when to throw the pass, and I would say his touch on the ball, too, that gets people open when he's scrambling is really good".
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Patriots receiver Danny Amendola hasn't noticed any change in Brady. The Patriots ranked 31st, allowing 4.7 yards per rushing play during the regular season.
Tennessee recognizes the challenge it faces against Brady.
"They've basically won two playoff games - one to get into the playoffs and a playoff game last week". Saturday will tell us a lot about that but when it comes to the Titans, they have some questions to answer as well.
CBS, with Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson and do I really have to list Jay Feely? If that happens, I'll certainly let you know as soon as possible. I'm not biting that there's actually some turmoil going on over there.
A better topic of discussion came from Titans safety Kevin Byard who stated openly that he wanted to make Brady look like Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. The 26-year-old quietly has 13 regular-season and playoff picks in five years. Marcus Mariota is the key. The 16- year age gap between them is the largest between starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in National Football League history.
"An extremely athletic guy, so there is a huge factor of mobility with him", New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. "I've played this game a long time". "There are only 53 guys on the roster, so when someone goes down - and it's football, there's an opportunity for injury every week - you have to know exactly what's going on so you can step in". Now you put everything that you have into this one-game season. "He also has a run element to him, and the run game is very extensive".
If the Titans are going to hang in this one and try for an upset they will have to get craft and sneaky.