Denver Broncos: Key matchups vs. the New England Patriots
Matchup 2: Mike Purcell vs. Patriots Interior Offensive Line
Though the Patriots will struggle to throw the ball against the Broncos (and anyone else), they do bring the NFL’s number two rushing offense into the Week 5 matchup.
The Patriots’ interior offensive line is solid and has shown the ability to move interior defenders off the ball to make room for a plethora of backs.
The Patriots come with a variety of looks and run actions, providing the defense with a lot of “eye candy” to confuse them.
The Broncos will rely heavily (figuratively and literally) on nose tackle Mike Purcell. If Purcell can get a push up front and tie up blockers, Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson should be able to scrape behind and make plays.
Lacking a dynamic runner with Newton out, the Patriots will rely on tough running up front, and Purcell’s play will really determine how the Broncos defense sizes up.
If the Broncos can win on early downs, limiting the Patriots run early philosophy, they stand a good chance to get turnovers on 3rd and long situations.
Purcell will need to anchor effectively to ensure he holds the line of scrimmage and keeps additional blockers from reaching their next assignment (most often a linebacker).
Purcell’s play so far earned him quite a nice extension, and it is already time for him to earn it.
All in all, the Broncos stand a good chance to go into Gillette Stadium and come out victorious. But to do so, they need to win these key matchups.