Patriots face familiar faces in wild-card round vs. Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Patriots’ defense demoralized offenses this season by limiting red-zone opportunities and allowing only one 300-yard passer. But it will face a tough challenge in its wild-card matchup against a Titans offense that led the NFL scoring a touchdown on 75.6% of their trips inside the 20-yard line.

Tennessee also was tops in the league with nine pass plays that went for 50 or more yards.

A loss to Miami in Week 17 has the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009. New England is 2-1 in wild-card games under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady but has never made it to the Super Bowl when opening the playoffs as a wild-card team during their era.

The Titans won seven of their final 10 games to earn their second playoff berth in three seasons and first under second-year coach Mike Vrabel. Vrabel won three Super Bowl rings in eight seasons with the Patriots as a linebacker.

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