Cover32: No Matter the Opponent--New England Patriots' Health is Major Indicator for Playoff Success


The New England Patriots are still waiting to see which team comes out of the first round of the playoffs and comes to Foxboro, MA on January 11th for an 8:15pm Saturday night game. At this point either Cincinnati, Indianapolis, or Kansas City will be coming to town to try and squash the Patriots postseason hopes. San Diego, as the number six seed, would automatically travel to Denver if they knock off the Bengals on Sunday.

For the Patriots, whichever team comes into town next week is less relevant than one would believe. All three are good teams who are capable of making a run in the playoffs. However, the Patriots’ success in the postseason is more about taking care of their own house. For New England, the two weeks between games will give them the opportunity to get some key players healthy on both sides of the ball and get ready to bring forth their best effort against their next opponent.

For the Patriots, their Week 17 matchup last week against Buffalo was a microcosm of their 2013 season: an up-and-down performance highlighted by players stepping up who were not expected to be big contributors to the team. As we highlighted by awarding them both Game Balls this week, running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga played huge roles in defeating a motivated Buffalo Bills team.

On offense, the Patriots have been consistently inconsistent. No matter the opponent, the Patriots have been impossible to predict...