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Patriots News Blitz 12/18: Young receivers making strides

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The Patriots will get one final day of practice in on Friday before heading down to Miami this weekend for a big divisional tilt that both teams badly need to keep their playoff hopes alive. Last night's overtime win by the Chargers gave the Patriots' chances a little bit of a boost, but they'll still need plenty of more help, none of which will matter if they don't beat the Dolphins.

Here is a Friday edition of the links!

Bernd Buchmasser of PatsPulpit takes a look at Jake Bailey's progress from year one to year two. He's been a vital contributor this season, both in field position and on kickoffs. The Pulpit also takes a look at how the Patriots and Dolphins have changed since Week 1.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic has a fun long oral history of Dan Connolly's kickoff return against the Packers back in 2010 that he nearly took to the house.

Sean McGuire of NESN has N'Keal Harry emerging as Cam Newton's "chance" receiver, with Newton giving the second-year receiver more chances to make plays. Zack Cox has Jakobi Meyers' growing belief in how good he can be, he's had one of the most progressive year of anyone.

Ryan Hannable has player's reactions to having Julian Edelman back at practice, which provided a nice boost this week for the final stretch. We'll see if Edelman is already ready to hop into a game or if he'll need another week or so to continue knocking off rust. Andy Hart has a theory as to why Jarrett Stidham has continued to ride the backup position.

Matt Cassel, writing for NBC Sports Boston and from experience, knows exactly how the Patriots will approach these final three games. Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald has Newton focused forward on the Dolphins.

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