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Vince Wilfork: Marshawn Lynch best RB we've played

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- The New England Patriots are gearing up for a mega-dose of Marshawn Lynch.

Talking Monday about the hammer-dropping Seahawks runner, Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Lynch a "tremendous" talent and the "best back we've faced."

Interior defensive lineman Vince Wilfork echoed those words -- and doubled down on his earlier comments -- telling Around The NFL that Seattle's offensive centerpiece looms as a doozy because of his ability to gain strength and power as the game wears on.

"Hands down, I think he's the best," Wilfork said. "He's proving it in the passing game, running game, blocking, you name it. I don't think there is any other running back out there that has that many explosive runs, yards after contact. He is exactly what his name is called: Beast Mode. It seems like when the fourth quarter hits, he hits another gear."

Wilfork sees a player on film "running over guys, running through guys, running around guys" to ignite a ground game that finished with the third most yards per outing (172.6) of any team since 1985.

"I think it's tough to look at any running back and see how many highlights he has where eight guys miss him on one play," said safety Devin McCourty. "So he's definitely going to be the toughest matchup we face all year, and you know, similar to Russell Wilson, it's going to be tough to kind of replicate that. We can't see that throughout the week in practice. It's going to be a lot of guys having to get to him and gang-tackle him."

What New England sees on tape was evident in the NFC title game, with Lynch wearing down Green Bay with 157 yards on the ground. He operated on a higher level, smashing his way through multiple would-be tacklers to churn out downfield yardage. After the Packers couldn't slow him down, the Patriots know this matchup sits at the very heart of Super Bowl XLIX.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the Patriots' deflated footballs controversy and tells you whom to trust in Super Bowl XLIX. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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