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Patriots Team Report: Division title on the line

New England Patriots Week 17 Team Report

(Sports Network) - Despite back-to-back debacles, the New England Patriots still have a chance at the AFC East title this week. New England must beat Miami and hope that the New York Jets fall to Green Bay.

The Patriots can also win the Wild Card if they beat Miami, the Jets beat the Packers, Denver loses to Arizona, San Diego loses to Seattle and Cleveland losses to Atlanta. In a worst case scenario, the Pats could miss the playoffs with a loss.

New England's offense couldn't get much going against the Jets' defense, managing only 216 total yards. Patriots' QB Tom Brady completed just 19-of-37 passes for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Brady is struggling to find some consistency in the offense in recent weeks.

"Yes, I mean you hope, you know, at the end of the year with as much work as you put in, you really play the best you can play. And you know, for one reason or another we are just, you know, we are not finding that right way right now," said Brady.

"And it seems sometimes like the harder you try, the harder it gets. And you know, the Jets played pretty good. But you know, I think it comes back to the way we executed and just didn't make enough plays to win Sunday."

The Patriots threw a lot of short passes against the Jets, averaging just 3.1 yards per pass. WR David Patten caught five balls for 38 yards, while RB Kevin Faulk added four receptions for 38 yards.

New England has slipped to 12th in the league in pass offense (224.1 ypg) due to its struggles in recent weeks. Brady must be sharp with his throws against the excellent Miami secondary.

The Patriots must establish some type of running game with Antowain Smith to keep the Dolphins off balance in this tilt. Smith registered just 46 yards on only 14 attempts versus the Jets. The anemic New England running game is mustering just 92.8 yards per affair.


LBs Ted Johnson, Mike Vrabel and Roman Phifer must step up and close the running gaps for Ricky Williams this week. Phifer led the way for the Pats' defense against the Jets with 11 tackles, while Johnson recorded 10 stops. Look for the Patriots to slide safety Lawyer Milloy into the box to help the front seven stop Williams.

New England CBs Ty Law and Leonard Myers must perform better this week. The Patriots secondary surrendered 285 yards through the air to QB Chad Pennington and the Jets. Overall, the Patriots are in the middle of the pack in the league in pass defense (205.1 ypg).

COMING UP: This is the finale of the regular season.

12/27 10:55:30 ET

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