Brady walked toward the Patriots’ locker room at 1:09 p.m. ET. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
“What are you doing here so early?” Brady, with a light touch, asked a reporter as he arrived.
Saturday marks Brady’s 35th career playoff game, which is more than any player in league history. Brady is 6-1 lifetime against the Titans. The lone loss came Dec. 16, 2002, which was his second season as a starter.
Brady’s early arrival leads off the “final walkthrough” for the game:
Titans delayed arriving in Providence: On Friday, the Titans’ scheduled arrival was delayed about three hours as a result of a different plane sliding off the runway in Nashville, according to longtime Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky. The three-hour delay wasn’t spent entirely on the tarmac in Nashville. The team arrived in Providence at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Stat of the week: This marks the eighth straight year that the Patriots will host a divisional-round playoff game, adding to their own record.
Quote of the week: “At this point, I’m all-in on Tennessee. I’ll answer any questions about the Titans, but that’s it.” — Bill Belichick, on Jan. 9, after having answered questions Monday about an ESPN The Magazine article that detailed friction between him, Robert Kraft and Tom Brady.
Torbert assigned as referee: Ron Tobert will be the referee, working with an “all-star” group of officials from various crews.
CBS’ top crew on the call: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analysis), Tracy Wolfson (sideline) and Jay Feely (kicking expert) will broadcast the game on CBS.
National anthem: To be performed by Billy Gilman, a Hope Valley, Rhode Island native who bursy onto the national stage in 2000 at the age of 12 when he released the hit single “One Voice.”
Steelers and Jaguars double up with scouts: As is standard operating procedure, the other two teams still alive in the AFC field — Pittsburgh and Jacksonville — are scheduled to have two scouts apiece in attendance. They scout the game and then provide detailed reports for their clubs, usually with one scout focusing on one team and the other scout on the opposite team.
Prediction: How close the game ultimately is will be contingent on Patriots turnovers, as New England has a 143-15 regular-season record in Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure when it has a positive turnover differential. When the Patriots had one of their most unexpected playoff upsets, a 28-21 loss to the Jets in the divisional round on Jan. 16, 2011, turnovers were a big part of what led to the result. The Titans had a minus-4 differential in the regular season (21 takeaways, 25 giveaways), and while the playoffs are truly a one-game season, history says the Patriots — who had just 12 giveaways in the regular season — will take care of the ball. Patriots 34, Titans 17.