It seems finally New England will be healthy and it couldn’t be at a better time. The Patriots have been a banged up team all season long with multiple injuries to several players. Aaron Hernandez was injured on a play in the Arizona Cardinals game and missed a few weeks, and when he is finally healthy, Rob Gronkowski, the other very talented tight end is injured on an extra point attempt and made his limited return against the Dolphins in the final game of the season. Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez will finally be taking the field together at full speed for the whole game since game one. The importance of having both of them healthy for their play off game can’t be described. New England needs both tight ends in the playoffs because they are both huge targets for QB Tom Brady, and when they play the offense is instantly better.
They lost Rob Ninkovich to an hip injury in the final game of the season, and it had looked like a bad injury, but thankfully it seems he will be ready to go for the first playoff game for the Patriots. Ninkovich needs to be out there on the field, on certain plays, as he has been consistent at pressuring the QB and creating havoc. Justin Francis, and Trevor Scott who have gotten extra playing time have made the most of it, and proved they are good pass rushers and will play in the playoff game. Francis, Scott, Ninkovich, and Jones all healthy, and playing is huge for New England, it gives them more packages, and depth that offers them to continue playing the hot hand at pass rushing. Jermaine Cunningham, a solid pass rusher, who has had to earn every rep is finally back for New England, and will be available for the playoffs.
Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib, the CB tandem that has helped New England upgrade their secondary has been injured for the last few games. They are expected to play versus the Texans in New England’s first round divisional playoff game. They are very important in bringing back to the team healthy because it allows Kyle Arrington to play slot, which he is better at, and allows Devin McCourty in his best spot at safety. It instantly upgrades the back field. It doesn’t make it the best secondary, and they still allow plays but they are head and shoulders better then how they previously started the season without them. Talib and Dennard will be keys for the defense to pull their own weight and win playoff games.