Commentary

Every team has an X factor that will key its playoff success

Some are obvious, others are under-the-radar guys. Some are players, others coaches. But all of them are X factors who will determine just how their teams will advance in the playoffs, writes Scouts Inc.

Updated: December 31, 2007, 9:57 AM ET
By Scouts Inc.
Who's the key to every team's postseason success? It may be a player or a coach. It may be the obvious choice or someone who quietly does the little things that allow the team to succeed. Scouts Inc. looks at each playoff team and points out the offensive and defensive X factors.

AFC

New England Patriots (16-0, No. 1 seed)
Offense: RB Laurence Maroney
With the wintry weather conditions in New England, the Patriots will need a strong running game. The Patriots have the ability to attack both inside and outside with Maroney and on all three levels in the passing game with QB Tom Brady, which will force opponents to defend the whole field. Maroney has a good combination of size, strength and athleticism. Plus, he has great vision in traffic with good burst to and through the hole. He has great balance, lateral agility and flashed the ability to take over games late in the season.

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