With the Patriots enjoying their bye week, CSNNE.com Patriots insider Tom E Curran takes on four questions facing the team in the second half of their season.
1) What does the acquistion of cornerback Aquib Talib mean?
"As a corner, he's better than any other player the Patriots have on the field," Curran said. Talib will have to serve one more game of his suspension so he won't be available when the Patriots play Buffalo next Sunday.
2) Is Devin McCourty a safety or a corner?
Curran says no matter what position McCourty plays, the Patriots "need to get better back there in the secondary." Putting McCourty at corner gives the Pats "a more than serviceable No. 2" to go with Talib.
3) Injuries, specifically to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. A concern?
The hip and back are issues for Gronkowski and an ankle issue has slowed Hernandez. They'll have to be managed, says Curran.
4) The second half schedule: Can the Pats run the table again?
The Patriots were 5-3 at the bye last season and swept the second half, winning all eight games. Can they do it again? They play the Bills, Jets, Dolphins and Colts before being tested by the emerging AFC power Texans and one of the NFC's best in the 49ers. They're well-positioned for at least another AFC East title, says Curran.