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Los Angeles (AFP) - The Tennessee Titans can expect to feel the full wrath of an aggrieved Tom Brady and the New England Patriots as the defending Super Bowl champions launch their postseason campaign on Saturday.
coach Bill Belichick and billionaire owner Robert Kraft.,The Patriots have been riled this week following a bombshell ESPN report which painted a picture of internal strife and a terminal rift between Brady
The three pillars of the Patriots dynasty, who have delivered five Super Bowl titles since 2002, which included a claim that Brady had pushed for understudy Jimmy Garoppolo to be traded against Belichick's wishes., have pushed back hard against the revelations
Brady, was incensed by the suggestion that he had engineered Garoppolo's departure or had appeared "liberated" by the trade., who is seeking to gild his legacy as the greatest quarterback the sport has seen with a sixth Super Bowl
" Brady said this week.,"That's just such a poor characterization of anything
"In 18 years, I've never celebrated when someone has been traded, been cut, describing the report as "completely wrong.",
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," the 40-year-old added
Belichick, delivered a blunt riposte to the theory that he could be ready to walk away from the Patriots following the report rift with Kraft and Brady over the Garoppolo move.,
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- Focused on Titans -
the famously taciturn Belichick responded with one word -- "Absolutely" -- insisting he remained solely focused on the Titans.,Asked if expected to return to coach New England next season
" Belichick told reporters on a conference call. "That's where my total focus is.",
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,"Right now my interest is trying to do the best I can for our football team to get ready for Saturday night against Tennessee
History suggests the Titans can expect to be given a rough ride on Saturday in their AFC divisional round.
Past controversies, who are rarely more dangerous when they perceive an injustice.,
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, from 2007's Spygate to 2015's Deflategate have invariably brought out the best in Brady and the Patriots
Having marched through the regular season with 13-3 record, the Patriots should have too much firepower against the Titans, and scraped past the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend with a 22-21 victory in the first round of the playoffs., who finished the regular season 10-7
the Philadelphia Eagles will hope to prevent a season which had promised so much from ending in disappointment when they take on the revived Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.,Elsewhere on Saturday
but crucially lost quarterback Carson Wentz to injury in the closing weeks of the season.,The Eagles picked up the No.1 seeding in the NFC with a 13-3 record
- Redemption for Falcons? -
Without Wentz, with back-up quarterback Nick Foles featuring in a nervy 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders before missing most of a 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.,
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, the Eagles' hitherto explosive offense sputtered
Eagles coach Doug Pederson acknowledged that there were questions about how the Eagles would fare in the postseason without Wentz.
there's going to be wonder,"Yeah,
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, " Pederson said. "But I'm going to tell you, 'Listen, the fans,
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, can make it bigger than it really is.",
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,these guys are football players.' I think sometimes the outside, whether it be the media
The Falcons meanwhile,
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, desperate for a return trip to the Super Bowl next month after the trauma of blowing a 28-3 lead against the Patriots in last season's showpiece,
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, and ground out a battling 26-13 win on the road against the much-fancied Los Angeles Rams last weekend in the wildcard round., have shown signs of a revival in recent weeks
Quarterback Matt Ryan is adamant that the Falcons, have the ability to upset the No.1 seeded Eagles., who finished the regular season 10-6
" Ryan said.,"We're not here just to get here
and to win games like this.","We want to make noise while we're here. This is what it's all about. It's about giving yourself the opportunity this time of the year to compete and play in games like this
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