NFL New England Patriots

Five New England Patriots Players Key To Week 16 Victory

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Five Players Key To Patriots Week 16 Win

Belichick
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It feels like the New England Patriots are a lot worse than 10-4. All of the injuries on offense and defense are starting to take a toll on the team, yet New England has not lost any game by more than one possession. Still, there is a huge difference between winning and losing a football game.

This will come into play when the Patriots go on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Even though the game is expected to be close, one must give the edge to the hotter, more hard-nosed Ravens. There are a few reasons why Baltimore is 8-6 and poised for another potential playoff run.

Joe Flacco is definitely not an elite quarterback, but he is as clutch as it gets. He has been at the head of some close wins, including two game-winning drives in his last two games. Torrey Smith has been Flacco’s favorite target and is having a breakout season (59 receptions, 1,032 yards and four touchdowns). It also helps that Flacco has Dennis Pitta back.

The Baltimore defense is even tougher. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil form arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. Daryl Smith is having a bounce-back season as he has proven that he is still a play-making three-down linebacker. Meanwhile, Jimmy Smith is finally coming into his own this season, operating as a shutdown cornerback. These guys are very hard to score on.

So how will the Patriots win? It will be tough, but there is a way. These five players can help find that way.

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5. Aaron Dobson

Dobson
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Dobson is the best red-zone target that Tom Brady has left, so he must be healthy to help Brady score touchdowns.

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4. Chandler Jones

Jones
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Jones has a plus matchup against Eugene Monroe, who has struggled in pass protection ever since he was traded to the Ravens.

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3. Shane Vereen

Vereen
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With Julian Edelman in a tough matchup against Lardarius Webb, Vereen must step up as the go-to guy in this offense.

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2. Aqib Talib

Talib
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Talib must blanket Smith in this one or else Flacco will probably come through in the clutch once again.

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1. Tom Brady

Brady
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He is the straw that stirs the drink. Brady has willed this offense lately and must do it again against one of the best defenses in the league.