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5 New England Patriots Players Who Need To Get Healthy For Playoffs

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5 New England Patriots Players Who Have To Get Healthy For Playoffs

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Getting a bye week was optimal for the New England Patriots as it gives injured players time to heal. The headlines have all been about who is on the injured reserve for the Patriots, but there are some key players who are injured and must get healthy. Regardless of which opposing team will travel to Gillette Stadium in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, defeating said team will be no easy task.

There are three possible opponents for the Patriots next Saturday night: the Cincinnati Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. Only the Bengals have previously faced the Patriots, and they won that game. However, it was in Cincinnati, not Foxboro.

As for the Colts, you can never count that team out. Andrew Luck does not have the most eye-popping stats, but he certainly is a winner. The second-year quarterback has never lost back-to-back games, and has led his team to an 11-5 record in both of his regular seasons. Plus, there is Robert Mathis, who finished with an NFL-leading 19.5 sacks.

Then there is the Chiefs, which is the most puzzling of the three teams. Alex Smith does not strike one as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, but there is no doubt that he avoids mistakes. That is all he might have to do with this team. The Chiefs have been slumping recently, but there are enough talented players to help right the ship.

So any of these three possible opponents can win a road playoff game against the Patriots. It all depends on who is healthy and who is not. Here are the guys who must get healthy.

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5. Josh Boyce

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Boyce would probably have a limited role on offense, but he has the best deep speed among the Patriots wide receivers. He can make a big play.

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4. Alfonzo Dennard

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Dennard should be higher on this list, but Matt Patricia prefers to play Kyle Arrington in the nickel defense. Nevertheless, the young cornerback could be an asset in dime packages and serve as depth in case one of the top-three cornerbacks go down.

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3. Aaron Dobson

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Even though Dobson has been injured for a while now, there is no denying his natural talent. He is the starting “X” receiver (or split end) in Josh McDaniels’ two-wide receiver, two-tight end base offense. Anyone else would be a downgrade from Dobson.

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2. Devin McCourty

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McCourty is the best safety on the team and one of the leaders on defense. It would be hard to replace his coverage ability from the back end.

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1. Logan Mankins

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Mankins is the definitely the leader of the offensive line and the best run-blocking lineman on the team. His presence will be needed not only to get his teammates to protect Tom Brady, but to help open up holes for the Patriots running backs.