NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the season moved along, it wore on me to hear Mike Mularkey and the Titans say being in games late gave them a chance to win, and that is all you can ask for.

It’s not that I was expecting them to run away with games on any regular basis. It was that the mentality that they couldn’t ask for or expect more of themselves.

It’s OK to say the standard is to seize and maintain control of a game, even if in the end you wind up satisfied you were in it at the end, particularly if you won it in the end.

But now, all that is tossed aside.MariotaIntroKC 1

The Titans are major underdogs Saturday night at the Patriots and with good reason.

And if they can stick around and be in this one to the end, that would be fantastic. Odds are stacked against them being able to spot New England an 18-point lead, as they did with the Chiefs in Kansas City.

A win Saturday would be a monumental upset, and the path to it is to play mistake-free football and stay in the game as long as possible.

“It'll be a good challenge, obviously,” Mike Mularkey said. “Number one seed, home-field advantage throughout. I'd like to see if we can play our best football, see where we're at with these guys. It'll be a good challenge going up there.

apple icon 72x72 precomposed“I like our football team, I like their mindset. When you get into the playoffs, anything can happen.”

We’ll look at a lot of numbers this week and find any crack we think the Titans may be able to slither through.

But we know, no matter what the stats say, the Patriots top skill is winning postseason games and getting to Super Bowls.

Staying close and being in it at the end has been too modest a goal in a lot of weeks.

This week, it’s just right.

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