Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Hello and welcome to another edition of The Patriots Way, your source for all things New England Patriots.
– The New England Patriots have found much success recently by emphasizing their run game, something they haven’t done since the days of Corey Dillon. Much of this is due to matchups, team preferring the Patriots run rather than Brady pass, and personnel, the offensive line being one of the healthiest groups on the team. I would argue that the offensive line has been a strength of this team for some time, and is only now beginning to get the credit they are due. Dante Scarnecchia is an all-time great coach.
-The only other position group on the team that is as close to full health as possible is the secondary, which will face a huge challenge against the Broncos deep and talented receiving corps.
– Don Banks stops to marvel at the incredible run the Patriots have been on this millennium. It really is awe inspiring when you stop to think about how many times the schemes, strategies and key players have changed over the years and how the Patriots have consistently been in the upper echelon of the league the entire time while other franchises have gone up and down.
– The Broncos have signed CB Marquise Cole to their active roster, coming after news that top corner Chris Harris is out for the playoffs with a torn ACL. Cole is a former member of the Patriots who was a core special teams player and also played some defensive back. This is similar to the Colts signing former Patriot receiver Deion Branch a week before their divisional round matchup. Branch did not play and the Colts lost, let’s hope we have the same result Sunday.
– If punter Ryan Allen is not able to go on Sunday, the Patriots could end up signing a free agent punter, or there is the possibility that kicker Stephen Gostkowski handles both the kicking and punting duties. He looked good last week in that role, though if Gostkowski were to get hurt, that would leave holes at both positions.
– Tony Corrente will be the referee for Sunday’s game. He was the referee for the Patriots games against the Saints and the Dolphins game from December 15th.