Eric Decker The New England Patriots currently have 89 players on their active roster. However Tom Brady Jersey Salute to Service , only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.Today, the series continues with one of New England’s news wide receivers.Name: Eric DeckerPosition: Wide receiverJersey number: 81Opening day age: 31Experience: 8Size: 6’3, 215 lbs.2017 review: After a shoulder injury limited him to just three games and nine pass receptions in 2016, the New York Jets decided to let Eric Decker go in June 2017. It did not take long for him to find a new home, however, as the Tennessee Titans signed Decker to a one-year, $3.85 million contract just six days after his release. The deal proved to be a good one for the Titans, as the veteran became one of the team’s most productive pass catchers.Playing 71.7% of Tennessee’s offensive snaps (733 of 1,022), Decker finished the season second on the squad with 54 catches and third with 563 receiving yards. He also caught one touchdown and ran one kickoff back for 22 yards. While Decker failed to produce statistics similar to the ones he had prior to 2016’s season-ending injury, he was still a reliable target that quickly earned quarterback Marcus Mariota’s trust.The postseason was more of the same for the eight-year veteran: serving as the Titans’ rotational number two/three wide receiver option, Decker played a combined 110 offensive snaps (of 137; 80.3%) during the team’s two playoff contests. He finished with eight total receptions for 106 yards and caught what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the wild card game against the Kansas City Chiefs.Decker certainly had his moments during the 2017 season, and was a productive pass catcher coming off major injury. However, he also failed to live up to his price tag, displayed inconsistent hands at times, and was unable to consistently establish himself as a number two wide receiver for the Titans. As a result, Tennessee decided not to bring Decker back after his contract had expired in March.2018 preview: As quickly as his free agency experience was over in 2017 Authentic Dwayne Allen Jersey , as long it took Decker to get off the open market this year. After the Titans decided not to bring him back, he remained unsigned for almost five months before the Patriots added him on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The deal gives the 31-year old a chance to compete for a roster spot in New England but does not guarantee him one: Decker has to earn his spot on the team.So far, he has shown little in his quest for making the cut. Decker has been mostly disappointing in practice so far – he made some solid plays but struggled mightily with drops – and saw only limited exposure during the first two preseason games: playing a combined 22 snaps over the last two weeks, he did not catch a pass. The third preseason contest will therefore be a big one for Decker.If he cannot hit the rotation and develop some chemistry with Tom Brady, his tenure in New England might come to a quick end again. So far, Decker appears to be headed down this road – but there are still two weeks left for him to prove his worth and show that he can be a valuable depth piece in an offense that seemingly lacks just that at the moment. Barring ties in Week 17 — and there are some wild scenarios should certain games end in draws Sunday — the road to the playoffs is quite straight in the NFC. The path to a first-round bye in the AFC has a bunch of curves in it.Already in are NFC division winners Dallas (East), New Orleans (South), Chicago (North) and the Los Angeles Rams (West). AFC divisions clinched belong to New England in the East and, well, nobody else. But there are clear leaders .Seattle owns an NFC wild card, and the LA Chargers have one in the AFC, though they can still win the AFC West.“You either believe in something or you don’t,” says coach Pete Carroll, whose 9-6 Seahawks made the postseason in what was considered a rebuilding year. “I think just staying the course and knowing we’re on to something. Believing in the history. We know what we’re capable of doing. We’ve shown it over a lot of years. You’re always adapting, but it’s staying what you’re true to. I think that’s what is happening. We look like a team that we have seen before, and that’s powerful.”Most powerful so far has been New Orleans, with the league’s best record at 13-2 Limited Malcolm Mitchell Jersey , and a dynamic offense led by Drew Brees. The Saints have home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.The Rams (12-3) get the other opening-round bye if they beat San Francisco on Sunday. If they lose and the Bears win at Minnesota, Chicago (11-4) earns the week off and Los Angeles drops to the third seed.A Bears win also could keep the Vikings (8-6-1) out of the postseason, providing defending champion Philadelphia (8-7) wins at Washington. Only the Vikings or Eagles can get the second NFC wild card.“We’ve got to empty the bucket, and that’s the way we’ve got to play next week at home,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph says. “I’m really looking forward to that environment.”In the AFC, seeding is more muddled. Any of four teams could be the top or second seed.The simplest route is if Kansas City (11-4) and New England (10-5), currently the top two in the conference, both win Sunday. But if the Chiefs lose at home to Oakland and the Chargers (11-4) win at Denver, Los Angeles moves into the top spot.Houston (10-5) also could wind up No. 1 in the AFC with losses by the Chiefs, Patriots against the Jets, and Chargers. New England, the only unbeaten team at home this year, would get the first seed with a victory and losses by the Chiefs and Chargers.And get this: Houston doesn’t even own a division title. If the Texans fall at home to Jacksonville, the winner of the Colts at Titans game in Tennessee takes the AFC South, and the Texans become a wild card, joining either the Chiefs or Chargers.Texans coach Bill O’Brien, whose club began the season 0-3, is intrigued by the division being so ensconced in the playoff picture this year.“I think that’s an interesting question because I can remember the question was Devin McCourty Jersey , two years ago, ‘Why is the AFC South so bad?'” he says. “Now, ‘Why is it so good?’“…I’ve never thought it was bad. I think every year it’s been extremely difficult to win games in the division. I just think there’s a lot of great coaches. You’ve got Frank (Reich) in Indy, Mike (Vrabel) in Tennessee, Doug (Marrone) in Jacksonville. You’ve got a lot of great players, quarterbacks, so you’ve got a tough division.”The AFC division often looked at as the toughest has been the North, which, not surprisingly, has come down to Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. Except the Ravens (9-6) host the Browns, while the Steelers (8-6-1) must beat visiting Cincinnati and hope their archenemies from Cleveland sidetrack Baltimore, either beating or tying the Ravens.Neither the Ravens nor the Steelers can be a wild card — except if Pittsburgh ties the Bengals, then Indianapolis and Tennessee also tie. Then the Steelers are in.Of course, Pittsburgh also can win the North with a draw and a loss by Baltimore.Your head spinning yet?