Patriots Cheat Sheet – Divisional Playoffs vs. Houston

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The “One Step Closer” Edition

More playoff action means more fans and more conversations about the Patriots happening on Monday mornings. We’ve got you covered so you can fake it if you missed the Pats victory last night that kept them alive in the playoffs.

Tom Brady likes playoff football. We know this. He likes winning playoff football, and he has now done it more than anyone else in the QB position’s history with his 17th win last night. Of course, he has a few losses to avenge, and that’s kind of the story the rest of the way.

Here’s what you can talk about when it comes to last night’s big win over the Texans:

  • Two Favorites, Two Injuries – The usual video game like stat line that comes from a big Brady-Welker day was offset with news you won’t find in the numbers: Danny Woodhead injured his thumb, and Gronk seemingly reinjured the forearm that kept him out of most of the last month. While you never want to say there are good injuries – Gronk is going to need surgery and is done for the playoffs, and Woodhead won’t be full speed – at least these are deep positions for the Pats offense.
  • Hello, Vereen – For most of the season, Stevan Ridley looked like he had the tap as the lead back for Tom Brady. What we didn’t expect was a trio of scores from the third string Shane Vereen to propel the Pats offense. The Pats will always be dangerous as long as anyone who touches the ball can score, and that’s what it felt like in yesterday’s game.
  • Redemption Stories – The Pats only had four losses on the regular season, but they have the chance next week to redeem one of the more controversial ones as they play host to the Ravens in the AFC Championship. Interestingly, three of the Pats four defeaters were all active in the playoffs this weekend, and even though the Seahawks went out, the 49ers have a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Moral of the story: there will be no shortage of story lines and shots at redemption.

We’ll be back next week after the AFC Championship against Baltimore to recap and either commiserate or celebrate. Cheat Sheet, out.