WR Michael Jenkins - New England Patriots
|6-4, 217||Born: 6-18-1982||College: Ohio State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 29|
Week 21: vs Seattle Seahawks
Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. Tom Brady threw 33/50 for 367 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions vs. Baltimore in the Divisional Round of the playoffs; Julian Edelman also threw a TD pass (1/1 for 51 yards and one TD) to Danny Amendola. Rob Gronkowski had 13 targets for 7/108/1 receiving, while Amendola (six for 5/81/2) had one of his best games as a Patriot receiver. Edelman also saw 14 targets for 8/74/0 receiving, while Brandon LaFell handled seven for 5/62/1. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (four for 4/43/0) and Shane Vereen (five for 4/39/0) also helped out here and there. Against the Colts during the Conference Championship, the Patriots rushed for 40/177/3 while Brady tossed 23/35 for 226 yards, three TDs and one interception (with one sack taken for -6 yards, and three rushes for 13 yards). Edelman led the team in receiving with 11 targets for 9/98/0 receiving, while Vereen (four for 3/41/0), LaFell (six for 4/28/0) and Gronkowski (eight for 3/28/1) were all very involved. The other two TD passes went to offensive tackle Nate Solder (one for 1/16/1) and fullback James Develin (one for 1/1/1). All told, eight Patriots caught passes against the Colts - Brady is utilizing a diverse array of targets during the playoffs. The Seahawks field the league's number one ranked pass D, averaging 185.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores allowed during regular season offset by 13 interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 37 sacks (20th) generated. They intercepted Cam Newton twice during the Divisional Round game (23/36 for 230 net yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions thrown, with two fumbles forced by Seattle and two sacks taken for -16 yards, along with another eight hits on Newton by the Seahawks). During the Conference Championship, the Seahawks limited Aaron Rodgers and company to 19/34 for a mere 178 yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown, with one sack taken for -7 yards - they put on two crucial goal-line stands during the first quarter of the game, limiting the Packers to 18- and 19-yard field goals the first two times the Packers penetrated the red-zone. Shaun Hill was intercepted twice, sacked four times for -40 yards, had a fumble and threw zero TDs during the season finale in Seattle (26/37 for 203 net yards passing). Seattle's defenders go for turnovers as well as covering opposing receivers extremely well, having allowed three passing TDs and generated six interceptions over their past three games played. There are injury issues for the Seattle secondary entering this game, though - FS Earl Thomas is playing through a separated shoulder (he'll be in a brace and hasn't practiced much during the run-up to the Super Bowl), while CB Richard Sherman has some degree of elbow injury (conflicting reports have ranged from torn elbow ligaments to an ulnar nerve problem) - Sherman has practiced in full leading up to the big game though and insists the elbow won't be a limiting factor, while Thomas has spoken about needing to rely on his teammates more than usual on Sunday. Even though the Seahawks have some walking wounded in the secondary, they are extremely tough in this phase of the game - advantage, Seattle.