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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/23/2009

When the Patriots found themselves in a slump, and hitting rock bottom after a blowout loss against the Saints and losing a fourth-quarter lead to the Dolphins, a couple defensive players helped right the ship. Veteran CB Shawn Springsand S James Sandershave been penciled into the starting lineup the last two weeks in victories over the Panthers and Bills. "For what we've kind of done the last couple of weeks," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said according to the Boston Globe, "we preferred what they give a little more than maybe somebody else."

ESPN Boston reports Patriots NT Vince Wilforkis the top-voted AFC interior lineman in Pro Bowl voting according to the fans. Wilfork's 294,798 votes topped the Ravens' Haloti Ngata who finished second. Click here to find out how many votes QBTom Brady,WRsWes Welker and Randy Moss, LBJerod Mayoand*KStephen Gostkowski *received.

The Assosiated Press writes the Patriots have a chance to end all playoff hopes for the Jaguars who must win their final two games and get some help from either the Ravens or Broncos for a wild-card spot. The Patriots have bounced the Jaguars out of the postseason in 1996, 2005 and 2007.

*WEEI *writes QB Tom Bradyis "the most accomplished quarterback in pro football in 2009" according to this formula.

Click here to find out where the Patriots land in ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows he has a difficult test in preparing his defense for Jacksonville's RB Maurice Jones-Drew. "He's a hard player to tackle (with) his strength, his balance, his quickness, his speed," Belichick said according to the *Boston Herald. *"You've got to wrap him up. You've got to have a lot of guys around him. If you give him a lot of space, it would be hard for any defender to tackle him." Jones-Drew has rushed for 1,246 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the season.

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