(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Big Pete provides Part 2 of his latest article…
Yesterday, we jumped into the Broncos / Patriots talk with a quick examination of their match-up in Week 5. Now, we’re going to talk about how the game would go if they met today! There is one thing that we automatically know going into any Manning versus Brady match-up; the game will be close, and more than likely be decided by a pivotal conversion late in the game. Which team will give them the Clint Eastwood stare, and which team will blink? That is the question at hand!
Currently, the Broncos are the only team in the NFL ranked in the top 5 in each Offense (4) and Defense (3). This means that the Broncos are the NFL’s most complete and balanced team. We aren’t a team that has a ridiculous offense, but a leaky defense, and we aren’t a team that has a stellar defense, but a squeaky offense. No, we are strong on offense, strong on defense, and strong on special teams. We are the epitome of “balanced”.
So what would happen if the week 14 Broncos faced off against the week 14 Patriots? Will this game happen in Denver or Foxboro? Does it even matter? One thing is for sure, it doesn’t take a statistician to quickly point out that the Patriots can hang 40+ points on ANYBODY! Then again, it doesn’t take a statistician to know that the Broncos defense can hold high power offenses to (besides garbage time), 14 points. So what would happen if the Broncos and Patriots played?
Looking into my crystal ball, I see the Patriots punting on their first drive as both teams figure each other out. Both teams are different from their week 5 showdown in Foxboro. The Denver defense is perhaps the most improved unit from week 1 to week 14 than any unit (both offense and defense) in the NFL. Conversely, I can also see the Broncos going down and scoring a FG on their first drive to take a quick 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, taking any lead against the Patriots early is akin to poking a bee hive with a stick. You just piss them off and make them swarm and attack you. The Patriots will take another halftime lead, but this time, it’s 21-10.
Remember how weeks ago I said that the Broncos needed to start beating down their opponents instead of just squeaking by with a win? Remember why I said we needed to do that? Yeah, it’s because destroying teams installs fear into your opponents. The Patriots know this, and regularly run up the scores, which makes teams fear them and take unnecessary risks against them (like Schaub refusing to take what is given, but instead trying to always go deep). Well, if there is one QB in the league who is immune to this, it’s Peyton Manning! Dink, Dink, Dink, Boom!, we score a TD and are back in the game!
The game is well into the 3rd quarter, and tension is high… you know what time it is, right? Damn right you do, it’s Miller Time!!!! Queue up Von Miller and Elvis Dumerville, cause it’s time for a sack party! Brady gets hit right when he’s throwing, incomplete… Brady does his signature “cry like a Rivers” yelling at the refs, cause he thinks that he’s Tom Freaking Brady, he’s above the rules of the game!!! What does Miller and Doom do? They buckle up their chinstraps, give each other a high 5, and line back up. They’ll show that crybaby QB what pain really is! 2nd down, Doom bull rushes and Miller does whatever the hell he wants to do, and blows Brady up! Another incomplete, and another quivering lower lip by Brady. It’s now 3rd and 17, and wouldn’t you know, HOLDING penalty. Yes my fellow Broncos fans, the Miller effect is taking place. 3rd and 27, and after a 19 yard gain, the Patriots punt.
Manning takes over and leads us on a TD drive for the lead. Our defense loves playing with a lead, and Tom Brady is once again rattled by the pass rush and starting to crack. He starts throwing ill advised passes (namely anything but his little 2 yard outs/slants/screens that WRs break off for 10 yard gains), and Chris Harris picks one off for a TD. Here we go Denver, lets put this game to bed and destroy the destroyers! With Brady having his brain fart, he settles back down and dinks and dunks his way down the field for a TD, thus keeping this game close.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, John Fox has a 3 point lead in the 4th quarter, so he makes sure that we start playing our patented “Prevent Offense”, so we start going 3 and out. We’re gonna have to rely on our defense to stop Tom Brady in the 4th quarter… That’s just too tall of a task. The Patriots score another TD to make it a 4 point lead. Can the Broncos flip the light switch back on and march down the field for a TD and a lead/win? If we’re in Denver, yes! If we’re in Foxboro, no! Unfortunately, as of today, it’s a game in Foxboro, which means we are once again out of the playoffs in the 2nd round. Will this piss Peyton Manning off? You better believe it! Will it change John Fox’s mentality of playing it safe and not closing out teams when you have the chance? Not even close! This is John Fox’s curse, and the reason why John Elway needs to turn on the 1998 Denver Broncos film and basically tell Fox that next year, they wont take their foot off the gas pedal until the clock shows 00:00
As of Week 14, no, the Broncos can not beat the Patriots in Foxboro (but they can in Denver). What do you think Broncos fans? Tee off and let it fly in the comments section!