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Patriots.com News Blitz - 1/05/2010

More details regarding the injury to WR Wes Welker came to the forefront today as the Boston Globe reports the wide out will likely be sidelined for six months. A Florida-based physician said, "the recovery should be very similar to what Tom's [Brady] was." A league source says Welker tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.

Welker's injury occurred when he attempted to cut on the Reliant Stadium turf and his knee gave out. A day later, head coach Bill Belichick voiced his displeasure with the playing surface. "The turf down there is terrible," Belichick said according to the Boston Globe. "It's terrible. It's just inconsistent. It's all the little trays of grass, and some of them are soft and some of them are firm and they don't all fit well together, those seams. Some of it feels like a sponge, some of it feels real firm and hard. One step you're on one, the other step you're on another. I really think it's one of the worst fields I've seen." S James Sanders said the field had a "couple slick spots," and Julian Edelman added the "grass was a little soggy."

QB Tom Brady, during an interview with WEEI, made it clear Welker cannot be replaced. "You can't replace him there's no doubt about that. There's nobody that can substitute in for Wes and think that they're going to be Wes. He is everything you ask for. He is just an incredible player and leader. I think as football goes it's kind of the way it works unfortunately."

Brady says other players must step up in the absence of Welker. Rookie WR Julian Edelmanhas been the name surfacing the most because he can play the slot receiver position. "Julian's a hard worker. He has a different skill set than Wes," Brady said according to the Providence Journal. "There's things you do differently with Julian, and there's things you do differently with Wes. They complement one another. It's a pretty good offensive group of receivers when they're all out there. But in this situation, Julian is probably going to do a few things that Wes did but also the things that he does well."

The Providence Journal reports the Patriots have not begun an offensive game plan for the Ravens defense yet, which is only yielding 16.3 points per game. "We're just kind of getting started on them after coming back [Sunday] night and watching the film here," Bill Belichick said. "What we decide to do this week offensively we haven't even determined yet."

RB Ray Rice and NT Haloti Ngata are two Ravens players to watch come Sunday according to the Boston Herald. Rice was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl in his second season from Rutgers, and has rushed for more than 100 yards four times this season. Ngata, also heading to the Pro Bowl this season, solidifies the fifth-best run defense in NFL.

ESPN Boston reports defensive coordinator Dean Pees was sent to the hospital during the third quarter of the Patriots-Texans game Sunday with shortness of breath. After passing required tests, Pees was released from the hospital and returned home.

With the playoffs starting in just five days, are the Patriots still seeking their identity? The Enterprise answers that question.

Want to know who the Patriots face in 2010? ESPN has it here.

Expect RB Kevin Faulk to get involved heavily in the Patriots-Ravens game as "he always does at playoff time," according to NBCsports.com. The story also says NT Vince Wilfork and DL Ty Warren are the Patriots' two best defenders and must be healthy to stack up against a "massive Ravens offensive line." Last but not least, click here to find out what the Patriots must do to win.

*Profootballballweekly.com *listed their final regular season power rankings. Click here to see where the Patriots finished.

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