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5 Ways New England Patriots Can Bounce Back Against Baltimore Ravens

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5 Ways New England Patriots Can Bounce Back Against Baltimore Ravens

New England Patriots
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots suffered what might have been their most demoralizing defeat of the season on Sunday when they lost a game they could have, and should have won against their division rival Miami Dolphins. That’s the kind of loss that can haunt a team for a long time, but the Patriots don’t have the luxury of taking their time getting over the loss.

The Patriots went into the Miami game in control of their own destiny in the AFC playoff picture. If they had won out, they would have earned the top seed in the conference and a first-round bye. Instead, now they need another loss from the Denver Broncos to snag the top seed. Amazingly, if it wasn’t for a poor showing from the Cincinnati Bengals, they would have been on the outside looking in at one of the two top seeds and the first-round bye.

New England may not even need the first-round bye as much as it would seem they do. Lately, Those byes haven’t been the key to winning titles as they were in the past. In today’s NFL, momentum is much more important than an extra week off. If there is any silver lining for the Patriots in their loss to the Dolphins, it’s that they have a chance to test their resolve in the face of adversity, something they’re sure to face again in their quest for a championship.

What New England needs to do this week is to start building that playoff momentum with a bounce-back win against the Baltimore Ravens. These are the five ways they can get back on track this week.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Get The Who-Man More Involved

Michael Hoomanawanui
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, or more affectionately known around Patriots nation as the Who-Man, is the next best thing New England has to Rob Gronkowski. His acrobatic, one-hand touchdown catch against Miami is the kind of play the Patriots need to open up space for their small receivers.

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4. Focus On The Bigger Picture

Bigger Picture
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's just one loss. In the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't be that big a deal. The ultimate goal is to win a championship, and the Patriots are still in good shape to get there.

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3. Protect Tom Brady

Protect Tom Brady
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins put constant pressure on Tom Brady all day, forcing the Patriots to throw short. If the Patriots want to win, they need the passing game to produce their big plays, and they can't throw down the field unless they can keep Brady comfortable in the pocket.

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2. Learn From The Miami Dolphins Game

Miami Dolphins
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Good teams need to have selected memory. Not short memory -- that just means you're masking potential issues. Instead of moving on blindly, the Patriots need to learn from the mistakes they made before they can move on.

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1. Get Back To Running The Ball

Rushing Game
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the best way to get back on track is to get back to basics. The Patriots have never been a run-first team, but they're at their best when the running backs can compliment Brady and the passing attack.