ESPN’s “NFL Live” crew gave their keys for the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s AFC wild card game in Foxborough.
Tedy Bruschi’s offensive key: Making up for loss of Welker
“I think the first thing they have to do is not try to make Julian Edelman the next Wes Welker. They have to look at their other weapons. If you look at Randy Moss first, down on the line, look to Kevin Faulk. He should perform a big role in this game. Also Ben Watson. If these two players step up, it will be easier for Edelman to perform under a complementary role.”
Bruschi’s defensive key: Getting Flacco out of the pocket
“Defensively, the one goal [the Patriots] must accomplish is getting [Ravens quarterback] Joe Flacco off the spot. If you noticed Flacco during the year, if you get him to move, he is extremely inaccurate. He isn’t very mobile, he’s not athletic. If Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork are healthy and are able to get pressure up the pocket and get Flacco moving, that spells success for the New England Patriots.”
Mark Schlereth’s defensive key: Stopping the run
“Here’s my one concern with the New England Patriots and it should partially rectify itself when they get Wilfork and Warren back. They got shoved around in the fourth quarter of that football game [against the Texans]. You look at the Baltimore Ravens right now, they’ll run it against anybody. They’re very good. It’s going to be a huge task for these guys to come in off of injury and to really shut down that running game. If they can do that, then they have the opportunity to move Flacco off the spot and to create some turnovers. But stopping that Baltimore running game ... that’s the key to me.”