With Brandon Spikes now added to the ridiculously long list of Patriots on IR, how will his loss affect the Patriots post-season run?
Jason: For weeks, I've been saying that the Pats are one additional serious injury away from falling apart. We're going to see if I'm right against the Colts. But even if they get past Indy, think back to the last time the Patriots had to play with half of their starting defense on the sidelines. Two weeks later, Peyton Manning was hoisting the Lombardi. It's going to be tough to avoid that same fate.
Raj: Spikes is one of the most arrogant people I've followed. As a person, he's as classless as they get. However, he was an asset as a player and his presence on that already-shattered Patriots defense will be greatly missed. I don't know how the Pats can replace a pass rusher of his caliber but I'm sure BB has something planned up his sleeve (pun intended), The only thing I hope is the replacement is found asap because Andrew Luck and his confidence need to be shut down quickly.
Rick: It’s next man up for the Patriots’ defense, which seems to be the motto this season. Now, Spikes’ production has been down in the second half of the season because this injury has clearly affected him. Dont’a Hightower said it best that the Patriots will miss the intensity he brings on the field. With him, they were 30th against the run to begin with. I don’t think the Spikes injury will hurt them this week since Indy is not known for a successful run game with Donald Brown and Trent Richardson. If the Patriots do advance to the AFC Championship Game, then you could see more struggles for the Patriots’ run defense against either Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead of the Chargers or Knowshon Moreno of the Broncos, who ran for over 200 yards in the first meeting back in November. New England’s defense will have to put pressure on Andrew Luck with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich plus force turnovers to win this football game on Saturday. That’s where having a somewhat healthy Aqib Talib is very critical.
Derek: Compared to the five other Patriots starters placed on IR this season, the loss of Brandon Spikes may be the most tolerable. He had been playing injured for some time, so one would expect there to be less of a drop-off than when a surging Gronkowski or strong leader like Mayo went down. Another thing that helps the Patriots is that neither the Colts or Broncos (assuming both teams get that far) are great running teams. I would expect Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher to be able to pick up the slack here. If anything the loss of Spikes may hurt the most in the Super Bowl against a team like San Francisco or Seattle. However, we're really starting to count chickens there, so I'll just end by saying I still expect the Patriots to beat the Colts, even without Brandon Spikes.