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Pats overcame injury bug best

The teams still alive on Final Four weekend in the NFL tend to have weathered a minimal amount of injuries during the season.

That's not the case with the New England Patriots this year. Of the four conference finalists, the Pats sustained the most injuries, by far. New England lost 75 games to injury by players who opened the season as starters. The Pats have 14 players on injured reserve, also tops among the final four.

By comparison, the banged-up Buffalo Bills put 17 players on injured-reserve and lost 89 games to injury by season-opening staters. The key Pats who have gone down include center Dan Koppen, defensive tackle Mike Wright, cornerback Ras-I Dowling and safety Josh Barrett, all lost for all or most of the season. The Pats lost key pass rusher Andre Carter for the rest of the year after the 14th game.

San Francisco has only five players on injured reserve and only one is key - receiver Josh Morgan, who opened the season as a starter.The Niners have lost only 19 starter-games to injury.

Baltimore has lost only 33 starter-games, and none of their key starters have gone down for the year. The Ravens have seven on I.R.

The New York Giants have lost 33 starter games to injury, but they've overcome some key losses. Linebacker Jonathan Goff went down for the year. Cornerback Terrell Thomas and linebacker Clint Sintim went down for the year in the summer. Defensive line studs Osi Umenyiora (7 games) and Justin Tuck (4 games) missed time. New York has 10 on I.R.

---Mark Gaughan

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