X-Factor/Sleeper – Rocky
Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots outside linebackerJamie Collins
(91) before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
X-Factor – Marshawn Lynch, Sleeper – Jamie Collins
Marshawn Lynch has definitely made his presence felt to the world this past week. As I’m sure all of you know by now, he was quite the catch during media week. On day 1, he would return question by answering “I’m only here so I don’t get fined.” On day 2, he replied to every question saying “I already told you why I’m here.”
It was pretty funny to watch. However, here’s the real question: will Lynch’s legs run as quick as his mouth did on Super Bowl Sunday?
The All-Pro running back rushed for 1,306 yards and a career-high 13 touchdowns here in 2014. He was a huge part in the victory last week against Green Bay in the NFC Championship game, totaling 157 yards on only 25 carries. “Beast mode” was in full affect that day, and it might have to be on Sunday as well.
A player that will be a huge factor in stopping Lynch will be outside linebacker Jamie Collins. Although he is listed as an outside linebacker, he does not make his money rushing the quarterback, as he recorded just four sacks this season. Where he does make his dues is everywhere else.
The second-year man out of Southern Mississippi recorded 116 tackles (13th in the league), and two interceptions while forcing four fumbles (tied for second in the league). His terrific campaign this past season came as a bit of a surprise.
He played in all 16 games last year for New England, starting in eight of them, and not producing much of an impact. He finished the year recording just 43 tackles, zero sacks, zero interceptions, and zero forced fumbles. He has become a vital part to this Patriots defense and will they will be relying on him mightily to help and contain the great Marshawn Lynch.