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5 New England Patriots Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2014

5 New England Patriots Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2014

Stevan Ridley
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The New England Patriots have championship aspirations for the 2014 season and they are not going to let anyone get in their way. Key players need to step up for the Pats in order to reach the ultimate goal. These particular players need to perform or else they are out the door. Here are five players who are facing make-or-break seasons in 2014.

5. Dont'a Hightower

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5. Dont'a Hightower

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Hightower showed strides at the end of the season last year. However, he had an extremely slow start. It is crucial that Hightower becomes more of a force in the linebacking corps. If he has a slow start to the season like last year, the Patriots might not be able to afford to wait for this guy to blossom.

4. Aaron Dobson

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4. Aaron Dobson

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
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The Patriots did not sign a true deep threat in free agency, which means they are relying on Aaron Dobson to stretch the field. Dobson certainly has the tools to take the next step, but he has much to improve. If Dobson continues to be "Drop-son", then his tenure with the Pats will be short-lived.

3. Alfonzo Dennard

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3. Alfonzo Dennard

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The signing of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, coupled with the promise of Logan Ryan, means that Alfonzo Dennard may very well be the odd man out -- especially with his legal issues. It is essential for Dennard to remain healthy and make an impact in the pass defense. Despite falling down the depth chart, he can still make an impact on this team. If he fails to improve, he may not be worth keeping.

2. Stevan Ridley

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2. Stevan Ridley

New England Patriots v Tennessee Titans
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With LeGarrette Blount headed to Pittsburgh, Stevan Ridley is now the lead running back again, which is a scary thought for Patriots fans. Ridley is a quick, powerful RB with a magnitude of skills; however, he cannot hold on to the freaking ball! Ridley desperately needs to improve his carrying, or else the Pats' running game will have no effect.

1. Danny Amendola

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1. Danny Amendola

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
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Amendola looked absolutely incredible when he was healthy. Unfortunately, that barely lasted one full game. Danny's ailments affected his rhythm with Tom Brady. By the end of the season, Brady lost all confidence with the banged-up receiver and would not even throw his direction. If Amendola plays up to his potential, this offense could be lethal. If not, then Amendola may find himself unemployed.

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