What is your biggest concern regarding the Patriots as they head down the final stretch towards the playoffs?
Jason: Health, followed by health, and then health. The "next man up" philosophy only goes so far. They've lost two of their three best defenders and a key cog on the offensive line for the season, the Hall of Fame QB's throwing hand looks like with five Vienna sausages attached to a colostomy bag, and their two best pass-catchers visit the training room as often as NAMBLA members visit Little League games. They need to stay healthy to get anywhere in the playoffs.
Raj: Health. How long can the Patriots stay healthy? Players are falling like dominoes to injuries and it's scaring me. They can't go far in the playoffs if Brady is the only player on the field with experience. That's something the Patriots coaching staff has to look after. Possibly help prepare the players on how to avoid injuries before the game? Whatever it takes..But I hope to see no more injuries towards the final stretch.
Rick: The biggest concern for me on the Patriots is the defensive line. When you get into January, teams are going to pound the football. We have seen teams like the Jets and the Bengals (playoff contenders) run wild on the Patriots. I am sure Jamaal Charles and Knowshon Moreno could do the same. The losses of Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, and Jerod Mayo could loom large in the postseason. Plus, the hip of Aqib Talib is a major factor. We saw in the AFC Championship Game last year that if Talib isn't there, the pass defense is exploitable. Talib is playing like an elite cornerback this year. I trust the offense due to the balance they can have on the ground with Ridley, Blount, and the return of Vereen. Its the defense under fire that has been better, but it may be only a matter of time that the depth gets a little exposed.
Derek: Rather than repeat the "health" speeches of Jason and Raj, I'll take things in a slightly different direction.
The Tennessee Titans are a legit Wild Card contender.
Bernard Pollard now plays for the Tennessee Titans.
Do I need to expound on this any further?