After a rare, one-year absence, the Patriots are back in the playoffs.
But fate hasn’t been kind: When they take the field against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, they’ll be without Wes Welker, the emotional sparkplug and offensive firecracker who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
In 2008, a similar ailment for Tom Brady is likely what kept New England from the postseason.
Can they overcome this year’s bout of misfortune?
It’ll be up to Welker’s replacement, rookie Julian Edelman, as well as top threat Randy Moss, Brady and the O-line.
All eyes will be on the Pats’ passing game. If it’s effective, Super Bowl dreams could flood Foxboro again.