by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Happy New Year, Patriots fans, or as we like to call it, Digital Day (01-01-10). It’s already off to a solid start, as New England begins 2010 with a home playoff berth in hand.

With the results of Sunday’s visit to Houston meaning little to the standings, it’s difficult to dig up concerns. Still, that’s the kind of stuff we do here at PD, so herewith, a few worries for the novus annus

Casting A Pollard: The last time quarterback Tom Brady stood on the same field as safety Bernard Pollard (late of the Chiefs, now with the Texans), bad things happened. Though signs from practice indicate that Brady will play Sunday, we hope he gets to the sideline as quickly as possible.

The Ghost Of Season’s Pass: The City of Houston’s fireworks display could continue through Sunday, as they’ve been one of the most productive passing teams in the league. Maybe the New England secondary – which has more questions marks than the Riddler – should see some field time to prep for the playoffs.

The Green-Ellis Mile: With Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor recently returning to health, we expect to see BenJarvus Green-Ellis have more carries than an Irish phone book. (Carries, Kerrys. It’s a reach.) This could, however, evoke speculation over Laurence “Times Square” Maroney (nicknamed for another famous ball-dropper), because Maroney getting too many rushes or too little would be interpreted as a bad thing. This, in turn, would mess with Maroney’s psyche.

Best case scenario? Maroney plays most of the game and shreds the Texan defense.

It Would Be Our Pressure: It seems a shame to ease up just when New England may have figured out how to pressure the opposing quarterback. While the defense only sacked David Garrard twice last week, the Jaguar QB found himself under more duress than my will power at a Ben & Jerry’s. Do Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess sit to give Rob Ninkovich and Pierre Woods more time, or does the starting D play as a unit in the hopes of continuing to coalesce?

Of course, if a starter gets hurt, then it hits the fan. Which means…

Bang The Conundrum: Play for practice, or sit for recuperation? Get your timing down and risk injury, or avoid contact and lose your momentum? These are the things we worry about.

But you know what? If those concern us the most, 2010 isn’t giving us all that much to worry about. Yet.

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