The Patriots will need three players, in particular, to step up their play this postseason.
1. Patrick Chung: Prior to the start of the season, Metro chose Patrick Chung as the player who needed to truly step up for the Patriots to find success this year. While he did show solid play in spurts, injuries played a significant role in his lack of effectiveness this season.
Now Chung is back healthy, having played last week against Buffalo. The Patriots will need Chung at his best going forward, as a shaky-at-best secondary will surely be put to the test early and often.
2. BenJarvus Green-Ellis: He can only rack up the yards if he gets the carries, and lately, those carries have been distributed much more evenly with the Pats running back-by-committee approach.
A 1,000-yard rusher last season, Green-Ellis ran for just 667 yards this season with an average of 3.7 yards per carry — his lowest average since his rookie season. But come playoff-time, the Pats are going to turn to their veteran backs over wide-eyed rookies Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen.
Green-Ellis is the Pats’ best goal line back with 11 touchdowns on the season. And you can bet BJGE won’t be the one with a costly playoff fumble.
3. Brandon Spikes: Spikes is a guy who falls under the same category as Chung. A rookie last season, Spikes played the first 12 games of the season, making over 60 tackles with an interception to boot. This season, he missed the beginning of the year, and also the last half of the season with a knee injury. Spikes could be the hardest hitter on the Pats, and a guy that, paired next to Jerod Mayo, certainly beefs up the linebacking corps. With him in the mix, receivers will think twice about crossing the field, and QBs will certainly be aware of where he is.