Patriots in their comfort zone
• 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.