, Salem, MA


February 2, 2012

A look at key New England Patriots



Tom Brady, QB (12), 6-4, 225, 12th season, Michigan

Most accomplished quarterback of his era, has won three Super Bowls and is in his fifth ... Broke Dan Marino's record for yards passing in a season with 5,235, yet finished second in that category to Drew Brees' 5,476 for New Orleans ... Has career record of 2-2 against Giants ... Owns NFL mark for TD passes in a season with 50, set in 2007 ... Comes off mediocre game (for him) in AFC title win over Baltimore ... Operates no-huddle offense as well as any quarterback in history.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB (42), 5-11, 215, 4th season, Mississippi

Underrated runner with power and burst ... Never has fumbled in NFL career ... Scored 11 TDs rushing this season, has one in playoffs ... Has 29 career TDs ... Not a receiving threat ... Could be charged with picking up blitzes when Giants send DBs after Brady.

Danny Woodhead, RB (39), 5-8, 195, 4th season, Chadron State

Versatile back who also returns kicks ... Made it from Division II, where he was top player (Harlon Hill Award) in 2006 and 2007, to NFL ... Patriots pirated him away from division rival Jets and he became part of offensive core ... Good burst, excellent receiver, has not played much this postseason ... Lost fumble on kick return in AFC title game.

Wes Welker, WR (83), 5-9, 185, 8th season, Texas Tech

Led NFL with 122 catches, becomes second player with at least 120 twice in a career (Cris Carter) ... Has most receptions since 2007 in NFL (554) ... Set franchise record with yards receiving (1,569), was one catch short of his team mark ... Best slot WR in league, an All-Pro who was with Miami before Patriots acquired him in 2007.

Deion Branch, WR (84), 5-9, 195, 10th season, Louisville

MVP of Super Bowl win for Patriots in 2005 ... Left for Seattle in 2006 as free agent, but struggled there ... Reacquired in 2010 in trade with Seahawks, immediately slipped comfortably back into New England's lineup ... Had 51 receptions for 702 yards and five TDs this season, broke 61-yard TD catch-and-run against Denver in playoffs.

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