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Three Biggest Difference-Makers for Patriots Down the Stretch




James White is one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL.

With seven games to go in the 2019 season, the New England Patriots enter the much-needed bye week with a chance to heal some injuries and reflect on some of the things the team needs to do better.

Having lost to Baltimore, 37-20, in the final game before the off-week, New England has a lot to think about in regards to improving. That’s especially true with the schedule set to get a whole lot more difficult down the stretch.

Despite an 8-1 record and currently holding the top spot in the AFC, the Patriots are far from a perfect team. Offensively, their running game has been nearly non-existent, their receiving game has been inconsistent, kicking has lacked, the offensive line is lacking, and the last few weeks have raised concern over the defense’s ability to stop the run.

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Times are still good in New England, but they will be a lot better if these three Patriots players expand their roles.

James White

The first name on this list, White hasn’t performed badly at all. In fact, he’s been effective when he gets the touches as a receiver or as a running back. The problem is New England hasn’t used him enough.

Obviously, his receiving ability speaks for itself. While his Super Bowl LI performance still comes to mind, he has been doing similar things his entire career as a receiver both inside and outside the numbers.

But if the Patriots want someone to extend drives on the ground game, White is the guy to make that happen. Though he has just 102 yards on 32 carries (3.3 yards per carry) a third of those yards are after contact. While Sony Michel puts up similar numbers, White can get things done in two ways. New England will need to lean on White down the stretch as his performance could dictate the Patriots’ success.

N’Keal Harry

He hasn’t even stepped onto the field yet but it’s apparent the Patriots need someone like Harry in their passing game. His size — 6-foot-4, 225 pounds — speaks for itself. But it’s his speed, strength, and catching abilities that make him a true asset for this team.

Had an injury not cut his rookie season in half, Harry may have been in line for offensive rookie of the year, even with the revolving door at the receiver position. He will help improve the Patriots’ red zone offense which ranks 21st in the league this season.

Brady is completing passes in the red at just over 50 percent, with one interception and several empty drives. Harry was preparing to play a big role in this part of the game during training camp before he was injured. Now healthy and ready for action, his contribution in the red zone will help the Patriots convert more touchdowns out of drives that have typically ended in field goals.

Isaiah Wynn

Still unavailable until Week 12, Wynn is the key cog on the line for New England when it comes to blindside protection and outside rushing. Since Wynn has gone down, Brady has been sacked seven times, pressured nine times, and hit 10 times off the left tackle with Marshall Newhouse blocking.

Wynn’s return can’t come soon enough for a guy like Brady who has been banged up a little this season. And as for the run protection, his presence could help steady the left side of the line for a guy like Sony Michel to burst through holes.

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