The Denver Broncos (9-1) take center stage once again on Sunday night to play the New England Patriots (7-3). The Patriots are coming off a heated Monday night loss to the Carolina Panthers, so you know they’ll be ready to go for this one.
Here are our five keys for a Broncos victory:
1. Flip the script
The Patriots ran an astounding 89 offensive plays against the Broncos last season. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase immediately took notice and said in the off season that he wanted to speed up the Broncos offense as well. With the Patriots battling so many injuries in their secondary, Sunday is the day to work fast and work deep.
2. Watch the penalties
Like the Broncos, the Patriots are capable of putting up some big points. That makes penalties that much more important. With as many veterans as the Broncos have in their lineup, they’re being called for too many penalties. They’re 9th in the league in penalties and have been docked 614 yards. Extra downs, extra yardage? Tom Brady will certainly take advantage. Discipline wins championships.
3. Keep the large backs in check
The Patriots boast some large running backs in 220-pound Stevan Ridley, 220-pound Brandon Bolden, and 250-pound LeGarrette Blount. These three are all used in the team’s rotation and they pound out some tough yards to keep Brady rolling. Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan will have to be up for playing a very physical game with these guys.
4. Attack Tom Brady
The Patriots have given up 28 sacks this season, which is the 8th most in the NFL. Von Miller needs to step up his pass rush and help Shaun Phillips. Less time for Brady means less time for Rob Gronkowski to be a threat in the open field.
5. Fire early and control the clock late
An effective offense early on will mean that the Broncos can mostly run the ball in the second half assuming they have a big enough lead. Running often not only would keep the ball away from Brady, but it would keep Manning out of harms way. Better yet, what if the Broncos are up by four touchdowns and we get to see a Tom-Brady-Brock Osweiler match up?