It's Halftime: What's Happened so Far in Titans-Patriots

Conklin tears ACL, will require surgery

The minute the Titans were named to play the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the National Football League playoffs, the Titans were widely pronounced as a heavy road underdog. The defending champs are 13-3 and coming off a bye week while the 9-7 Titans had to post a miraculous comeback from a 21-3 deficit in Kansas City to defeat the Chiefs 22-21.

"I mean, first of all, that's a very, very hard play to make, and that shows you his skill set, his athletic ability", Harmon said. That's the fantasy stuff of comic books.

He also is 6-0 against Mike Mularkey-coached teams. Instead, he pulled out 30 minutes worth of inventive play-calling. It's not lining up in one defense and playing it. By comparison, Mariota is 24 years old and has one playoff win. But they'll need more. And indeed they were. They find a way to make you kick field goals. And there was nothing flukey about the protection Mariota got last week, or his acceleration out of the pocket.

McNair did his best to lead the Titans back on the following drive, getting to New England's 33-yard line. It'd be stunning to see the Patriots lose, considering New England has been favored to win the 2018 Super Bowl for just about the whole season.

The story is much different in the night game Saturday.

Currently, Henry leads the team with 744 yards rushing. "And we're 80-1?" Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan said.

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The Titans will be without running back DeMarco Murray again on Saturday, so Derrick Henry will have to shoulder the load. I'm a huge Henry fan.

The Eagles picked up the No.1 seeding in the NFC with a 13-3 record, but crucially lost quarterback Carson Wentz to injury in the closing weeks of the season. An intentional-grounding call and holding penalty on back-to-back plays put the Titans in a third-and-23. Still relatively unknown, Henry remains underrated and offers great value on the individual markets.

One issue hounding the Patriots is they have frequently gotten too wide and deep in the backfield when pass rushing, allowing quarterbacks to take off unchecked up the middle. So I expect Marcus Mariota to skip his way to a large tally. It could be any of Eric Decker, Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews who benefit. Are you kidding me? I'm not biting that there's actually some turmoil going on over there. Because the Patriots are still monsters of offensive production.

Gillette Stadium in January is not a place for magical storylines involving New England opponents. Same goes for Deshaun Watson the previous game, although the Houston Texans came up short in their upset bid. Stout play from Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy and maybe Alan Branch assuming he returns will go a long way toward eliminating Henry from the equation.

In the backfield, Dion Lewis is back to his elusive best as a running back before an ACL injury while James White and Rex Burkhead have also made an impact. To date, most would agree that he has played and performed pretty well, especially considering it is his fourth decade on the planet Earth. "I learn an terrible lot from watching him, watching his defenses and watching the way that he does things". But it's the man mountain Rob Gronkowski who should be the star. As Gronk has proved throughout his career, he can completely take over a game, and if he is allowed to routinely beat the Titans defense, the Titans' odds of winning become substantially lower. A big target, Tennessee won't be able to stop him and should settle for trying to limit his gains after the catch.

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