January 1, 2013

From shaky to solid on defense

New England's once-weak unit solidified as the season progressed, and is ready for the playoffs.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

PATRIOTS' PLAYOFF OPENER

WHO: Ravens, Colts or Texans at Patriots

WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 13, 4:30 p.m.

TELEVISION: CBS

At least he has extra time to recover after the Patriots earned their sixth bye in Belichick's 13 seasons as coach.

"It will be a good time to get everybody back into shape," Scott said. "We're not taking the week off, that's for sure. We're still going to be back in here working hard and getting ready for whoever we face next."

The players return from a New Year's Day break for two days before taking three days off. By the time they come back Monday, they'll know the identity of their opponent at home Jan. 13. They'll play Houston if the Texans beat the Bengals on Saturday. Otherwise the opponent will be the winner of Sunday's game between Baltimore and Indianapolis.

The Patriots have played all three potential opponents.

"I never really kind of rely on that," left tackle Nate Solder said. "I always go back and I study the same film, and prepare as if I hadn't played them."

Derrick Martin only played against one of them. The Patriots signed the veteran safety after the eighth game, and he has played in just five games since then. But he had a sack Sunday, one of six by substitutes.

"It's good to have those guys on your team that maybe necessarily don't get all the reps but that can step in and just be able to function at a high level," Patricia said.

And help turn a once shaky defense into a stingy one.

 

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