There's still some question as to whether or not Patriots running back Dion Lewis will actually be in uniform against the Seahawks, but he has been activated to the Patriots 53-man roster, and if he plays against Seattle on Sunday night he'll give his team a weapon unlike any other on the roster.
PATRIOTS VS. SEAHAWKS
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If Sunday is the the day Lewis makes his return, here's what he would give the Patriots offense . . .
. . . an all-purpose back. While both James White and LeGarrette Blount have been used in a variety of roles this season, neither is as effective across situations as Lewis. Yes, White has been more effective as a running back this season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. And yes, Blount has been implemented in the passing game more frequently than he was a year ago. But at his best, Lewis is able to serve as a dynmaic pass-catcher as well as an effective runner between the tackles. As a receiver, he caught 78 percent of his targets last season, averaging 10.8 yards per catch, with 9.1 of those yards coming after contact, per Pro Football Focus. He also averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season, accumulating 160 yards after contact on 49 attempts. Though his size and skill set makes him an ideal sub back, defenses have to be prepared to see Lewis do much more than run routes out of the backfield.
. . . one of the toughest players in the league to tackle. It's unclear how well Lewis' knee will react to game action, but if he can approach his form from a year ago, he'll be one of the most frustrating players in the league to bring down. He forced 43 missed tackles on 85 touches last season proving that he needed very little in the way of running room in order to create positive gains. Backs in the Patriots offense are expected to get what's blocked for them, but there are times when running lanes break down and there's nowhere to go. That's when Lewis makes his money.
. . . a timely addition for Sunday's matchup with the Seahawks. What Pete Carroll's defense will try to do at Gillette Stadium is ensure it isn't beaten by the big play. The Patriots have two of the most efficient big-play threats in the league this season in Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan -- though Hogan is questionable to play with a back injury -- but they have no problem attacking with the short-to-intermediate passing game. It's how their offense is built. Along with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, the tight ends and James White, Lewis gives the Patriots yet another threat to attack the underneath areas that may be vulnerable against Seattle's Cover 1 and Cover 3 schemes. Remember: In Super Bowl XLIX, Shane Vereen caught 11 passes for 64 yards on 12 targets for New England. Lewis probably won't be in for that kind of workload in his first game back, but he and White could see a significant number of throws headed their way.