PLAY­ERS TO WATCH

Houston Chronicle - - PRO FOOTBALL -

LeGAR­RETTE BLOUNT

Blount is a pun­ish­ing run­ner who rushed for 1,161 yards, his first 1,000-yard sea­son since 2010, his rookie year with Tampa Bay. He led the league with 18 touch­downs on the ground, in­clud­ing 11 from the 1-yard line. He had 67 runs for first downs and seven for 20 or more. The Tex­ans saw Blount at his phys­i­cal best in Septem­ber when he car­ried 24 times for 105 yards and two touch­downs. He fum­bled once in 299 car­ries.

BE­NARDRICK MCKIN­NEY

The Tex­ans’ lead­ing tack­ler has to make sure to pro­tect the mid­dle of the field against a New Eng­land run­ning game that ranked sev­enth. LeGar­rette Blount (6-0, 250) is a power back who likes to run be­tween the tack­les. That’s where McKin­ney comes in. Ei­ther tackle, or slow him un­til help ar­rives. He recorded 129 tack­les, in­clud­ing 79 unas­sisted. He was the only player in the NFL with at least 100 tack­les and five sacks.

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