The New England Patriots might be getting their most experienced offensive player back soon. Julian Edelman is off the COVID-19 list, and his problematic knee that landed him on injured reserve seems to be back in working order.
Edelman returned to practice on Tuesday fueling expectations he’ll be back in the lineup this Sunday on the road against the Miami Dolphins.
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Edelman Practice Report
Edelman’s presence at practice was clearly a welcomed sight for all of the players, and likely the coaches as well. Patriots receiver Damiere Byrd commented on what it was like to have Edelman return to practice.
We didn’t hear from Cam Newton, and we probably won’t until Sunday afternoon after the game against the Dolphins. Perhaps the comments will come from a jovial bunch as the Patriots have a chance to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Edelman’s Production Prior to the Injury
Prior to going on the injured reserve list after the Week 7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Edelman was having a mediocre season by his standards.
He had 21 receptions for 315 yards, no touchdowns, and some notable drops. The latter has always been an issue for him, so you want to say it’s not terribly alarming, but it is still a drop which is generally negative.
In Edelman’s defense, he had been hobbled by the knee injury that forced him onto the injured reserve list. To pinpoint the time period when Edelman seemed to be most impacted by the injury, we’d have to go back to the Week 2 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
He had a fantastic game with 8 catches for 179 yards in the Patriots’ narrow 35-30 loss on the road. While he was spectacular in the primetime matchup, which was also Newton’s high-water mark for passing yards this season, Edelman wasn’t the same in any of the games after that performance.
The hope is that he can come back to that form for the final three games of the season. If the Patriots are going to pull off the improbable, they will need Edelman playing his best football.
The Challenge Ahead
If we begin with the positive, it’s true, the Patriots aren’t mathematically eliminated from the postseason, and unless they lose to the Dolphins, they cannot be canceled this weekend.
On the negative side, and to put it plainly, the odds are shifted heavily against the Patriots making the playoffs. First and foremost, they have to win each of the last three games. That won’t be easy considering all three games are division matchups.
Even if the Patriots win out, they will still need a ton of help from other teams to reach the postseason. Zack Cox of NESN outlined the playoff possibilities:
Whenever that much help is required, it’s hard to feel good about postseason chances, but it’s not over until it’s over. Maybe Edelman can help to keep hope alive.
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