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Patriots Have Used More Players Than Any Other Team in the NFL

The NFL tracks the number of players that each team puts out on the field over the course of the season and no one should be surprised that the New England Patriots are #1.

Injuries have forced the Patriots into back-ups at nearly every single position over the course of the entire season, as key starters have missed extensive time. The Patriots have fielded an absurd 70 players over the course of the season, ahead of the Ravens (69), Bears (69), and Colts (68).

On the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots have played 33 players, trailing only the Ravens. Tom Brady is the only starter to not miss any time this season. The Patriots have cycled through their top five wide receivers (Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Keshawn Martin), their top three tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Michael Williams), their top two running backs (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount), and nearly every single offensive lineman (Nate Solder, Shaq Mason, Bryan Stork, Tre Jackson, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Josh Kline, Ryan Wendell).

The defensive side has been healthier with just 31 players (7th most). The defensive line has been fairly healthy, with nickel rushers Jabaal Sheard and Dominique Easley the only players to really miss time. The rest of the defense has been in flux as the top three linebackers (Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny), the top two safeties (Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung), and the rotation of cornerbacks across from Malcolm Butler (Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher, Justin Coleman) have, or will, miss time.

The Patriots starters have missed twice as many games as any other contender (Bill Belichick still won't get Coach of the Year), but they are fortunate that only two of their main starters are out for the year (Solder and Lewis). Their other losses were either to back-ups or were temporary. With a bye week in hand, the Patriots are in a good position to nurse their injuries prior to their opening game of the playoffs.