The Patriots averaged 4.4 yards per carry against Miami, but turned away from the run in the red zone. Part of this may be due to concerns about fumbling. How should the Patriots manage the run game moving forward?
Raj: Just go all out to be honest. Because numbers like that won't help, it's time to try something new. There's no doubt it's a risk and could backfire, but an aggressive running game is necessary for this Patriots team. They are close but they have to go a little bit out of their comfort zone if they want success in that field.
Jason: I think that going away from the run had more to do with personnel than confidence. The Dolphins were more vulnerable in the secondary than the front seven, so it made sense to attack there. My thoughts on the running game haven't changed much — with Gronk out, New England's personnel favors running a spread attack that features Vereen more often than not.
Derek: As last year's AFC Championship demonstrated, all it takes is one fumble to turn the tide of a game. With that in mind, one can hardly blame Bill Belichick for limiting Ridley's touches this season. However, with Gronkowski done for the season and the myriad of injuries limiting our defense, it's time to throw caution into the wind. The Patriots need to be firing on all cylinders to make it to New Jersey in February. Ridley is, by far, the most effective rusher on the team and Brady is going to need a solid ground game to set up his play action and get the most out of the passing game. It's time to go big or go home and the Patriots just need to go to war with the men on their roster. Maybe a Ridley fumble will put the dagger in the Patriots' season, but limiting his potential will almost assuredly lead to a playoff defeat anyway.