The NFL postseason is upon us and once again the Patriots have received a first round bye.
After finishing the season 11-5 and at the top of the AFC East once again, Bill Belichick and the Patriots rode into Wild Card Weekend as the number 2 seed in the AFC, only behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last weekend, the whole Patriots team got to sit back, relax and take notes, watching the two AFC wild card games, the Indianapolis Colts at the Houston Texans, and the Los Angeles Chargers at the Baltimore Ravens. After the Colts and Chargers won, both on the road, it was determined the Patriots would face the Chargers in the Divisional Round on Sunday, January 13 at Gillette Stadium.
This bye week was very important to the Patriots, not only to create a plan on how to attack and defend against a strong team, but to also recover from injury. Cordarrelle Patterson, a big part of the Patriots offense, blocking and special teams missed Week 17 against the New York Jets with a knee injury. He, along with six other players, such as Adrian Clayborn and Jacob Hollister, needed this week to recover and refresh to be able to play a strong game both on Sunday and throughout the rest of the playoffs.
Despite the injuries, the Patriots are looking to reign supreme as the best team in the AFC with their eight straight trip to the AFC championship game.
In order to succeed both on Sunday and in the future, Tom Brady and the Patriots need to utilize both Tight End Rob Gronkowski and Wide Receiver Chris Hogan more than they have throughout the regular season.
Both Gronkowski and Hogan are strong, reliable members of the Patriots offense and need to be targeted more in order to more efficiently move the ball down the field.
The Patriots have mostly relied on their running game this year, using running backs James White and rookie Sony Michel. Both have produced big on offense, with White rushing for 751 yards and 7 touchdowns and Michel rushing for 931 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Although they mostly used the running game, wide receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon were most used for passing. Edelman missed the first four games due to suspension and has only been becoming more successful as the the year has progressed. Gordon however has now stepped away from football to focus on his mental health, allowing for more opportunity for both Gronkowski and Hogan.
Cayla Osowski, a huge fan of the Patriots, thinks it is important to utilize both Gronkowski and Hogan in the playoffs.
“They both have had quiet seasons and need to step up and make good plays to hopefully get us some big points. We can also use them as a secret weapon.”
Using these two players as secret weapons could be really beneficial to the Patriots as they approach the Divisional Round and continue on the road to Super Bowl 53.
Tune into CBS on Sunday, January 13 at 1 o’clock to see the Patriots in action against the Chargers in hopes of making it to the AFC Championship game next Sunday.