The Patriots’ tight ends have been a focus of their offense all season.

Lost a little in recent weeks has been the New England defense’s success in slowing down a few key TE performers.

Dustin Keller had just one catch this weekend. And Antonio Gates was held without a catch for the first time in 34 games back in September.

But Sunday, the Pats will face perhaps the biggest TE test in the league: Dallas’ Jason Witten.


“He’s outstanding,” coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. “He’s really a guy you have to be aware of all the time.”

New England has clearly been aware of him in the past. Witten has just four catches in two career games against the Pats.

He’s hauled in 27 passes for 366 yards this season.

“Witten’s really an outstanding player,” Belichick said. “I think he’s one of the best tight ends in the league, no question about it.”

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