Pa­tri­ots in their com­fort zone

National Post (Latest Edition) - - SPORTS - Kyle Hightower

• Two things, among many, have been con­sis­tent for the Pa­tri­ots the past decade: Tom Brady at quar­ter­back and New Eng­land in the AFC cham­pi­onship game.

Brady will try to lead his team to its sev­enth- straight con­fer­ence ti­tle game Satur­day when it hosts the Ten­nessee Ti­tans in the di­vi­sional round.

It has been a chal­leng­ing week off the field for the Pa­tri­ots fol­low­ing re­ports of tur­moil i nvolv­ing Brady, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. But Brady says he’s never doubted his team’s abil­ity to com­part­men­tal­ize po­ten­tial dis­trac­tions. “I think we have a job to do and we know what our job is and that’s to go out and play foot­ball at a high level and play well,” he said. “Noth­ing re­ally should get in the way of that.”

Ten­nessee hasn’t been to a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game since the 2002 sea­son, but has been in­vig­o­rated com­ing off its first play­off win in 14 years.

The Ti t a ns e nt e r as 13-point un­der­dog, but line- backer Der­rick Mor­gan said it’s a role they em­brace.

“No­body re­ally ex­pects a lot from us. That’s fine,” he said. “We haven’t been a very suc­cess­ful team in the last 10 years. So it’s easy for peo­ple to over­look us. So we’ve got to take care of busi­ness and start win­ning games like this to get the re­spect.”

To get it, they’ll have to stop a quar­ter­back that has been nearly un­beat­able in this round of the post-sea­son. Brady is 11-2 in di­vi­sion­al­round games since 2002, pass­ing for 3,700 yards and 28 touch­downs. He also has a 6-1 ca­reer record against the Ti­tans.

Ti­tans quar­ter­back Mar­cus Mar­i­ota was mostly un­flap­pable in lead­ing his team back from an 18- point half­time deficit to beat Kansas City.

Tom Brady

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