When it comes to injuries, no NFL team has been more unfortunate as the New England Patriots. Since week two, the Patriots have had key players missing each and every week. But in securing a first round bye on the final day of the regular season, the Patriots were able to finally achieve full health. This coming weekend, for the first time since week one, the Patriots will have all 22 starters on the field.
The most impressive aspect of the Patriots 12-4 record in 2012 is the amount of injuries the team had to overcome to achieve that record. At one time or another this season, the Patriots lost stars Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones for an extended period of time. It seems as though there is a change of fortune for the Patriots and at the right time as they are finally healthy just as they begin their playoff campaign.
After seemingly being on the short end of the injury stick all season long, the Patriots are now the most fortunate team left standing. While the Patriots have all 22 players that started in week one healthy enough to play Sunday afternoon, none of the other playoff teams can say that. Each one of those seven teams has at least one player who started week one for them off of the active roster whether it be due to injury or release.
Of course, that’s not to say that the Patriots are completely healthy. After 16 games no player is completely healthy or rested, but there are no serious key injuries. The Patriots did list 20 players on their official injury report Wednesday but that’s not uncommon for a team led by Bill Belichick. Most of those are just small injuries that players have been dealing with all season. In fact, only 3 of those 20 players missed the team’s week 17 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
On Sunday, the Patriots will host the Houston Texans in the AFC divisional playoffs and for the first time since early September, they will have their full week one starting lineup on the field. Of the eight remaining teams in the league they are the only one who can say that. Not that the Patriots need any change of fortune considering that they have the best offense in the league and a much improved defense, but that’s what seems to have happened. This pleasing news for the Patriots may bring them one step closer to their ultimate goal of another Super Bowl win.