By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- If it feels like the Patriots have suffered much more than their fair share of injuries this season, that's because they have.
According to ManGamesLost.com, the Patriots lead the league, so to speak, in man games lost due to injury this year. That number is a simple tally of the number of games any player has missed due to injury on the year, and on the Patriots, that number adds up to 201.
Of the five teams which have suffered the most injuries, only the Patriots (No. 1) and the Redskins (No. 4) are currently holding playoff positions, with the Patriots of course sitting atop the AFC. The next team on the list currently in playoff position is Houston, with the seventh-most games lost to injury, and then Pittsburgh, with the 11th-most injuries.
The undefeated Carolina Panthers have lost 100 games due to injury, which is the sixth-fewest in the NFL. The Broncos and Bengals, who figure to account for the second and third seeds in the AFC in some order, have been lucky in the injury department overall. The Broncos have lost 80 man games, which is third-fewest, and the Bengals have lost 74 man games, which is second-fewest.
Of course, not all injuries are created equal, as both of those teams have lost their quarterbacks to injury, while the Patriots still safely employ Tom Brady under center. Though the Patriots have been without key contributors like Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, Julian Edelman, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower for varying stretches of time, they've had Brady for all 14 games thus far, and they've had Gronkowski suit up in 13 games. So long as they remain healthy, it seems as though the team can manage to survive.
The 12-2 Patriots clinched a first-round bye last week, and if they can win one of their next two games, they'll guarantee themselves the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Last year, when the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they finished in the middle of the pack with the 15th-most man games lost to injury at 178. The 2014 Seahawks were one play away from winning the Super Bowl, despite having the third-most (261) injuries, so reaching the championship certainly remains possible for this year's battered Patriots.
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