Rusher ready to continue banner postseason

Rusher ready to continue banner postseason

Dion Lewis has not lost a game as a Patriot over two seasons. But how action will the dynamic third-down threat see in the team’s Super Bowl LI matchup against the Falcons?

Obviously, Pro Bowler LeGarrette Blount assumes top-dog status in New England’s backfield.Yet there’s no disputing that Lewis adds a special dimension to the equation for coach Bill Belichick. Take the Pats’ 34-16 dismantling of Houston in the AFC divisional round, for instance, in which the fifth-year pro scored a touchdown in all three phases.

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Of course, Lewis also fumbled twice in that affair, perhaps contributing to a reduced role the following week. The Pittsburgh product received just nine touches as New England steamrolled the Steelers to capture the AFC championship. In contrast, Blount reached 16 carries for the third time in his playoff career.

Considering Atlanta’s team speed on defense, though, expect Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to give No. 33 plenty of opportunities on Feb. 5. The Falcons’ common opponents during the fall primarily featured straight-ahead bulldozers like Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin and Tim Hightower; scat backs were in short supply. Unlike the more physical Blount, Lewis serves as a home-run threat on every snap.

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Staying healthy has been a major problem for New England’s X-factor ever since he entered the league. Lewis missed the last eight contests of the 2015 campaign after tearing the ACL in his left knee and was sidelined for the first nine tilts this season. Now that he’s active, however, the opposition’s doing the suffering. In under two weeks, we’ll find out if the Falcons meet the same fate.

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