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News Blitz 1/16: Jamie Collins is on the brink of becoming a star

Posted Jan 16, 2014

In this edition of the Patriots.com news blitz we take a look at the emergence of Jamie Collins and also focus on what the Patriots offense will need to do to win on Sunday.

Before we move on from last week's win against the Colts completely, check out NFL Network's 'Sound FX' from the game. There were some great quotes from Brady, Edelman and much more from the Divisional round.

And if you liked what you saw out of Jamie Collins last week, then you're in luck. Nick Underhill of The Republican says Jamie Collins has been great in practice and is well on his way to becoming a star in the NFL. In addition to his sack and interception from last week, Underhill says Collins did a number of other things right that may have gone un-noticed. For example, it was his pressure on Andrew Luck that forced a bad throw and led to an Alfonzo Dennard interception.

"Collins' athleticism during the game was somewhat surprising to everyone who was witnessing it for the first time. But those who watch him in practice on a daily basis couldn't help but smirk when asked about the performance," says Underhill.

Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com's Around the League, broke down how the Patriots offense has adapted every year since 2001. He commends Belichick for his ability to adapt and change on the fly. The Patriots have recently become a run-heavy offense and Rosenthal says its simply because Belichick is playing to the team's strengths.

"Since Gronkowski was lost for the season in Week 14, the Patriots have settled into their power-rushing approach. LeGarrette Blount, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden represent the deepest and most versatile backfield in Belichick's tenure," says Rosenthal. "This is still a top offense, just different."

However, despite the emergence of the running game, Adam Kaufman believes the Patriots passing game will determine the result on Sunday. In an article on Boston.com, Kaufman says the Broncos will attempt to stop the run and essentially dare Brady to beat them through the air. Luckily, Brady has completed 72.8-percent of his passes for 1,774 yards, 17 touchdowns, and zero interceptions against Jack Del Rio-coached defenses. Kaufman believes Brady will need to continue that trend on Sunday in order to come out with a win.

Tim Britton of the Providence Journal agrees and says that Brady will need to play better than he has in the Patriots last three AFC title games. But in order to do that, he's going to need to get out of the sick bed. As the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian explains, Brady missed practice yesterday and was sent home because he was sick. Guregian notes that Patriots fans shouldn't fear, however, because the Patriots have had success when #12 is sick.

"In the AFC Championship Game in January 2005, Brady played against the Steelers with a 103-degree fever that required him to take IV fluids the night before. All he did that day was go 14-21 for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 41-27 Pats victory. So it's pretty much a certainty he'll be there come Sunday," assures Guregian.

But even if he wasn't there, Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots would have a contingency plan. He says the Patriots have a plan for essentially every possible situation or scenario that could arise before or during a game.

ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill offers a great perspective on Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Merrill spoke with the centers who have played with the two quarterback's in the past.

"There are at least a dozen men who have done it, and most of them say they wouldn't want to snap to anyone else," explains Merrill.

Comcast Sports Net's Rich Levine offers his own take on the Brady-Manning rivalry and asks "Who would you rather have" in a five separate fun categories. The questions include which player would be the better Amazing Race teammate, which player would you prefer to plan your bachelor party, and which player would you prefer to deliver your baby if your wife goes into labor in a broken down elevator.

Peyton Manning said yesterday that Bill Belichick will go down as the greatest head coach in NFL history. NESN's Luke Hughes notes that Manning showed a lot of respect for Belichick during his press conference yesterday and praised his coaching.