FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday continued to prepare to face off with the Tennessee Titans, seemingly unfazed by the fact that he and opposing QB Marcus Mariota have the biggest age gap between starting quarterbacks in NFL playoff history.
“It just comes down to how well you play,” Brady told reporters. “At the end of the day, it’s not like the old guys are going to win or the young guys are going to win, or the home team or the road team. It’s really going to come down to execution.”
“You’ve got to go out there and make the plays, make the tackles, you’ve got to make the throws, the catches, the blocks, the runs, whatever it takes,” he added. “Whoever does that better is going to win the game.”
Brady turned 40 back in August while Mariota turned 24 in October. That means Mariota was just 8 years old when Brady won his first Super Bowl.
The last time the two teams squared off was back in 2015, and the Patriots walked away with a 33-16 victory.
Come 8:15 p.m. Saturday, they’ll be up against a Tennessee team coming off a dramatic comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs, who New England failed to beat on opening night. The Titans are two-touchdown underdogs in the upcoming divisional game, but that’s not to say they’re not a talented group. Mariota and RB Derrick Henry won back-to-back Heisman Trophies while in college.
“I don’t think you can defend Mariota with one player, I don’t think you can defend Henry with one player. It’s got to be team defense because they’ll go wherever there’s space to go,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday. “They’re not just going to run into one guy, so you better have everybody ready to deal with them.”
Titans RB DeMarco Murray has been ruled out for the game after injuring his knee late in the season.
The Patriots on Thursday had full attendance at practice for the first time since Sept. 29, after WR Chris Hogan was removed from the injury report.
The Titans are also coming off a week free of controversy.
In speaking to the media for the first time since an ESPN report suggested there’s turmoil within the Patriots organization, Brady kept most of his comments centered on the Titans but said he didn’t think the distraction of the article would rattle him or his teammates.
“Not to us players,” Brady said. “We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do. There is a lot at stake and think everyone’s put a lot into it, so it doesn’t really matter what happens outside of this facility and what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s a big task to go out, win a playoff game.”
“I’m glad we earned the chance to be here,” he added. “We have to just go and take care of business.”
Remember – the game’s on 12! Be sure to join us at 7 p.m. on WPRI 12 for a special playoff edition of New England Nation, where our panel will get you ready for the game with insight, analysis and a look inside the Patriots’ locker room. Plus – be sure to stick around for our post-game show immediately after CBS game coverage.