Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly provides a closer look at Seattle's Week 10 opponent:
1. After missing the first four games of the season, Tom Brady has returned to the Patriots without missing a beat. How has Brady been able to miss a chunk of time like that and jump right back into the MVP conversation?
Perillo:That has been one of the truly remarkable aspects of the season for the Patriots. Brady looked as good as ever during training camp and the preseason, but to see him step right in without any noticeable rust has been amazing. He spent a lot of time working with receivers both individually and during live work at camp and it looks like that work has paid off. Brady is as prepared as any quarterback I've seen and his mental approach to the game is probably more impressive than anything he does physically. Perhaps that's one reason why he was able to overcome the time he missed so seamlessly.
2. How do Brady's two tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Marcellus Bennett, complement each other in the Patriots offense?
Perillo:Both have uncommon athleticism for the position combine with a willingness to block. What makes the tandem so effective is it gives the Patriots the ability to do whatever it wants depending on the look of the defense. If teams load up the box expecting the run, both are capable of doing damage in the passing game with Gronk consistently getting down the seam while Bennett has shown the ability to work underneath and make yards after the catch. If teams play sub with lighter fronts, they both can overpower smaller defenders as effective blockers and allow the offense to run the ball well without having to sub. In short, the Patriots don't allow the defense to dictate what it does.
3. Elandon Roberts is filling Jamie Collins' role on defense now. What has Roberts done so far this season to be one of the bigger surprises on the team?
Perillo: He's been a nice surprise with his ability to play physical against the run. He's not the biggest guy (6-2, 235) but he's sort of an old school thumper who takes on blocks and fills the gaps. I'm not sure how long he will be able to hold up playing that style at his limited size, but he's earned some playing time with his physicality.
4. The rosters of the Patriots and Seahawks are both filled with undrafted players. What has led to the Patriots being able to build so much talent over the years?
Perillo: Bill Belichick always tells the players that it doesn't matter how you got here, only what you do once you get here. So he's done a really good job of ignoring draft position, etc., and playing the guys who perform. He consistently finds players who can fill very specific roles, often on special teams, and once those players settle in he occasionally expands those roles to include offense or defense. Malcolm Butler is a great example of an undrafted player who was terrific as a rookie during camp. He made the roster and didn't play much other than special teams. As the season wore on, he started to see time as an extra DB and eventually saw his playing time increase. By his second year, he was starting.
5. Butler has proven to be one of the league's best DBs since his huge play in Super Bowl XLIX. What has changed/evolved for Butler on the field since that game?
Perillo:Other than his reputation, not much. We recently ran a feature on this topic on Patriots.com and Butler in many ways remains the same hard-working, humble kid he was in his rookie season. He's definitely confident, as most cornerbacks are, but he insists he hasn't changed his approach in any way over the years. He said he doesn't want to be defined by one play and has worked really hard to establish himself as one of the league's best corners.
Get to know the faces of the New England Patriots' offensive and defensive units heading into the team's Week 10 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.