It’s amazing how many times there has been an important game between the Patriots and the Broncos. This week is a game that could cement our status as the number one seed in the AFC. This game could also be the start of the Broncos plummet out of the AFC playoff picture. Let’s have a look at what are going to be the keys on offense and defense this week against the Broncos.
The key for success for the Patriots on offense this week is actually fairly simple: find Von Miller and keep him under control. If it was just that simple then everyone would do it but no one has really done a great job yet.
The secret is to run plays in his direction to slow his pass rush down. If Miller has to be ready to key on runs and pass rushing that is the best you can do. LaGarette Blount is playing as well as he ever has in his career and today could be a big day. If Blount is able to gain some yards on the ground then Brady’s life will be much easier. I think that Blount can run on the Broncos just like he did against the Ravens.
The passing game is going to have to be done carefully and be of the quick strike variety. Tom Brady will be able to buy more time if the running game is successful. That should allow him just a fraction more time by using play action.
Screen passes out of the backfield as well as using Bennett over the middle will be the best method of attack through the air. Talib (if he plays) of the Broncos will likely be matched up on Edelman so that should free up Mitchell and Hogan to catch some deep balls.
To say the Broncos are struggling a bit this year on offense is an understatement. They rank in the middle of the pack in points scored, which is low for them. Their QB, Trevor Simian, is more of a game manager in my opinion then a field leader. Simian is on the low end of the QB touchdown pass listing with only 16 for the season. In contrast Brady has more than him with four fewer games.
The key will be to start off the game just like last week versus the Ravens. Keep rushing the QB with four to five players, but just keep them guessing which ones are coming. This strategy seemed to keep a solid Raven’s offence off balance and should be the same with the Broncos.
Stopping the run should not really be a huge issue with the Broncos. Their best rusher, Devontae Booker, has only 511 yards on the season. To be fair, he is filling in for CJ Anderson who had knee surgery, so the Patriots will have to be solid.
I am expecting a very close, nail-biting game, a Mile High tradition. If the Patriots execute like they did last week on offense and defense, then we should win. Hopefully special teams don’t give us chest pains like they did last week.