For the third time in four years, reigning NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots are the top seed in the AFC and have homefield throughout the playoffs.
The Patriots have played in six successive AFC championship games, and it will be a tough task for the Tennessee Titans to prevent New England from reaching a seventh.
The Titans (10-7) rallied from a 21-3 deficit to pull off a 22-21 wildcard win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will have to be at his best on Saturday to beat the Patriots (13-3) at Gillette Stadium.
WILL THE PATRIOTS REMAIN FOCUSED?
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.
Reports of discontent were quickly denied, but it would be only human nature for such a distraction to affect preparation. Still, if there is one thing the Patriots have done better than most under Belichick, it is quieting the noise.
CAN HENRY STAY HOT?
The Patriots had the NFL's 20th-ranked rush defense during the regular season, allowing a 100-yard rusher four times. The last two came in December when Miami's Kenyan Drake and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell joined Kansas City's Kareem Hunt and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon as players to eclipse the century mark against the Patriots.
Derrick Henry is coming off a 156-yard effort against the Chiefs as Tennessee's offensive line wore down Kansas City. It was Henry's third 100-yard game this season as he led the Titans during the regular season with 744 yards while splitting carries with DeMarco Murray. With Murray injured, Henry was the workhorse against the Chiefs and will have to carry the load again in Foxborough since Murray has been ruled out.
CAN THE TITANS CONTAIN GRONKOWSKI?
The Titans did not allow a tight end to have 100 receiving yards in a game this season. They were getting burned by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the first half of last week's game, which changed dramatically when Kelce was injured just before half-time. Kelce had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
The Titans now have to contend with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who led New England with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in only 14 games.
Gronkowski has gone for more than 140 yards in two of his last three games, but the Titans have excellent safeties in Johnathan Cyprien and Kevin Byard, who led the NFL with eight interceptions this season.
22. Juli 2018
|Vettel will not lose any sleep after Hockenheim mistake|
|I manifested my dream – Hamilton revels in Hockenheim win|
|Pakistan seal crushing series sweep of Zimbabwe|
|Furious Ozil accuses German media of turning country against him|
|Woods makes his move as Spieth and Schauffele wobble|
|Vettel crash sees Hamilton retake championship lead|
|RFEF confirms one-legged Supercopa de Espana in Tangier|
|Fognini downs Gasquet to clinch Swedish Open|
|Spieth and Tiger underway as Kisner falls back|
|Iniesta, Torres suffer defeats in their J.League debuts|
|Cornet ends title drought in Gstaad|
|Martial ´very focused´ at Manchester United - Herrera|
|Root, Williamson and Bairstow - hat-trick hero Clark flourishes in Roses battle|
|Sri Lanka spinning towards crushing series whitewash|
|Ozil explains controversial Erdogan meeting|
|It´ll be hard for Tuchel to get our players – Kovac expects Boateng stay|
|Fakhar Zaman fastest to 1,000 ODI runs|
|Neymar happy for World Cup winner Mbappe|
|I was born ready! - Bellew accepts Usyk challenge|
|Tuchel seeks Rabiot answers as Barca rumours persist|
|In-form Storm go top, Rampant Roosters thrash Manly|
|Bancroft discharged from hospital after taking blow to throat|
|MLS Review: Martinez breaks record as Atlanta march on|
|Brewers top Dodgers to snap seven-game losing streak|
|Munguia wins after 12-round marathon with Smith|
|Hart ready to leave City to revive career|
|Puel shuts down Schmeichel transfer speculation|
|Four-way tie at Barbasol Championship as Lincicombe misses cut|
|Lenglet happy not to face Messi|
|Tuchel keen to get PSG stars back after friendly defeat|
|Pulisic signing would interest Klopp|
|Whatever b******t you say, no one forgets – Klopp defends spending comments|
|Usyk outclasses Gassiev to make cruiserweight history|
|Pella books Cecchinato meeting in Umag, Ramanathan´s Newport run continues|
21. Juli 2018
|Kisner expects nothing but exchange of ´horror stories´ with housemate Spieth|
|Inter new boy Lautaro Martinez denies Zenit in six-goal thriller|
|McIlroy eyeing early gains to apply scoreboard pressure|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s close shave|
|Salah is fully recovered and full of joy – Klopp|
|De Laurentiis accuses Sarri of trying to sign whole Napoli team|
|Lewis Hamilton explains German GP woes|
|O´Driscoll hails ´Test match animal´ Warburton|
|Spieth relishing prospect of Tiger tussle at Carnoustie|
|Sanches pushing for Bayern second chance - Kovac|
|Put on the Sunday red and enjoy Tiger´s ride regardless of Carnoustie outcome|
|Flawless Spieth takes share of Open lead after Tiger winds back the years|
|PSG´s Tuchel to be patient with World Cup stars Neymar, Mbappe & Cavani|
|Sanchez joins United tour in LA after visa issues|
|Catalans crush Salford to confirm Super League safety|
|Hamilton not giving up despite Hockenheim heartbreak|
|Spieth surges into Open Championship lead|
|Dumoulin is our biggest threat – Froome|
|Sane: Low gave me good reasons for World Cup snub|
|Tiger Woods in the hunt and loving it at The Open|
|Vettel delighted with German GP pole performance|
|Deschamps lauds intelligence of ´extraordinary´ Mbappe|
|Thomas maintains advantage as Fraile powers to stage victory|
|Woods sets clubhouse target, Kisner edges back in front|
|Bayern Munich 3 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Sanches strikes in ICC clash|
|Dost re-signs with Sporting CP after initially rescinding contract|
|Impressive Lions see off Jaguares to seal Waratahs semi|
|I´ll show Mourinho I´m ready, says United´s Pereira|
|Fognini sets up final clash with Gasquet|
|Injury ends Bouchard´s Swiss hopes, Sevastova through in Bucharest|
|That didn´t Work-u...race leader pulls up short of 3000metre finish|
|Prowling Tiger Woods on Open charge as Spieth joins leaders|
|Federer will struggle away from Wimbledon - Henman|
|Hamilton expecting tough Sunday at Hockenheim|
|Spalletti expects Icardi, Perisic to stay at Inter|
|Vettel smashes lap record to take Hockenheim pole after Hamilton woe|