Aside from the obvious "the whole team must stay healthy (more specifically Gronk and Revis)," and "we need the lucky bounces," what are the top 3 things that must happen if the Pats are to hoist the elusive 4th Lombardi?
1. The DL must create a consistent pass rush. A lot of this hinges on the health of Wilfork, Kelly, and Easley. In recent playoff losses, QBs have had a cakewalk bobbin up and down in the pocket with plenty of time just picking apart our secondary. The pressure, not necessarily the sacks, must be more consistent. If Easley can come in and generate pressure up the middle, it should leave a lot of room for Chandler/Nink to wreak havoc on the opposing QB.
2. The OL must protect Brady better in big games. In recent years, they have blocked extremely well in the regular season only to fall completely on their faces in the playoffs. Could this be attributed to the overwhelming amount of dropbacks? Possibly. The running game must do its part in order to help preserve the OL and contribute to a better performance.
3. Development of 2nd year wideouts, specifically Dobson and Boyce. I'm not too high on Thompkins but we will see how he performs in TC. Having Gronk back should leave Dobson/Boyce with a lot of open looks
These are obviously pretty broad areas that I've addressed but I really think it all comes down to the battle in the trenches. They must be tougher on both sides of the ball. Both the OL and DL must play exceptionally well, or at least to their potential, if the Pats are going to capture that 4th Lombardi.