The Patriots opened the 2015 season on fire, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With a combined 91 points scored in back-to-back wins over Buffalo and Jacksonville in Weeks 2 and 3, there was some talk about the potential for this group to set a new record for points scored.
Then the production began to wane a bit, and injuries became a mounting concern soon thereafter. Lately, the offense has been such a concern that Bill Belichick chose to kick to start overtime in Week 16, hoping to give the banged-up group some help in the form of field position in the extra period.
However, Julian Edelman (foot) and Danny Amendola (knee) are expected to return in the playoffs, as is left tackle Sebastian Vollmer (ankle). Assuming all or most of the missing offensive pieces are back on the field, will that be enough to restore the Patriots to their September form?
That's our question for the New Year as the Patriots are set for the season-finale in Miami - Will the Patriots offense regain its early-season form when the injured players return in the playoffs?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
We've seen Tom Brady be productive with a lot less talent than Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell in the past. Throw in the emerging talents of James White and Keshawn Martin and there's no question the offensive production will rise significantly. Sebastian Vollmer also will be part of the mix up front, which will mitigate some of the pass protection problems the Patriots have had recently. Watching how Brady worked the ball underneath to his running backs, across the middle to Edelman and Amendola and down the seams to Gronkowski earlier in the season, how could anyone doubt what this offense is capable of? Assuming all these players are out on the field, there's no doubt in my mind that the Patriots will be scoring more points in the postseason.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
I've had my concerns about any kind of "magic fix" for the offense in the playoffs for a while now, but when Tom Brady mentioned that it would be "wishful thinking" to expect everything to be clicking immediately it made me even more worried. Julian Edelman's injury in particular has me skeptical. A broken bone in the foot for a shifty guy who lives off his ability to cut sharply and make tacklers miss after the catch is a major issue. I don't see him being 100 percent for the playoffs. Danny Amendola has been gutting it out for weeks and I'm not sure a short rest is going to make him significantly healthier. Most of all I worry about the offensive line, which really is what it is at this point. Even with Sebastian Vollmer the group has struggled in protection all year and to expect that to change in the playoffs is indeed wishful thinking.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.