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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Keys to the Patriots Success this Postseason

The New England Patriots have had six seasons in the 18-year Brady–Belichick era in which they have lost five or more regular season games. Those seasons were 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008 (Tom Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season, Matt Cassel played out the year), 2009, and now 2018. In 2001, the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, and here they are now gearing up to face the Rams in the Super Bowl once again. So, why is it that even though the Patriots had one of their worst regular seasons since 2001, they find themselves in the Super Bowl yet again?
The Running Game
Between Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead, the Patriots running backs have been superb so far in the playoffs. We are used to the Patriots using their running backs primarily in the passing game, but so far in the playoffs they have found an exceptional balance between running and passing the football. They have put up 331 rushing yards and 691 passing yards in just the last two games. Michel has been a huge factor for this offense putting up 242 rushing yards and five touchdowns in just the first two postseason games of his career. Michel, White, and Burkhead will play a huge role in the outcome of this upcoming Super Bowl.
The O-Line
One thing that has been consistent throughout the entire season is the Patriots’ offensive line and they have continued their success so far through the playoffs. To this point, the Pats O-line has allowed zero sacks in the playoffs and have been very effective on the running game as well. The offensive line will have to continue their dominance in the Super Bowl if they are planning on stopping the player who had the second most sacks of all time in the regular season, Aaron Donald.
Pass Rush
It seems that the Patriots pass rush has come alive in the playoffs so far this season, recording a total of six sacks. If the Patriots can pressure the quarterback the way they did against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs, they should be in good shape as a team. However, the Los Angeles Rams have one of the best offensive lines in the league and have only allowed one sack in the playoffs so far, so it will be a tough task for the Patriots pass rush in the Super Bowl.
Gronk and Edelman
Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman looked like shells of their former selves for most of the regular season. However, it seems that they both have come out of their shells and are starting to show their old selves again by making big plays in big situations. The Patriots would not be playing in the Super Bowl this week if not for these two making huge plays on third down in the dying minutes of the AFC Championship game. Expect both Edelman and Gronkowski to have big games in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots will have to deal with one of the best all-around teams in the Super Bowl and winning the game will be no easy task for them. When you look up and down the Rams’ roster, it is hard to find a real weakness. The Patriots are going to need near perfect performances out of their offensive line and their defense. Players like Edelman, Gronkowski, and Brady will have to play their best game of the season if they want to win their sixth ring.

About the Contributor
Jonathan Hopkins, Sports Editor