NFL Game of the Week: Patriots vs Broncos
Two rivals in the AFC face off in Week 10’s game of the week, as the New England Patriots visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football.
These two teams have matched up several times over the past couple years in a rivalry that has included three matchups in the playoffs over the past five years. Including both the regular season and postseason, Denver and New England have played nine times since 2010.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a history of struggling at Mile High Stadium in Denver. With a career record of 3-7 in Denver, including playoffs, Brady has been at his worst when playing the Broncos in Denver.
These teams last played last season, when New England beat Denver 16-3 at Mile High Stadium. The Patriot defense was able to shut down the Broncos as New England went on to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
This season, the Patriots enter this matchup with a record of 6-2 and are tied for first in the AFC with Pittsburgh. New England is coming off its bye week, but have won four in a row after the starting the season a little shaky at 2-2.
New England last played the Chargers and won 21-13 in Foxboro. Brady was excellent again for the Patriots as he threw for 333 yards and one touchdown. Running back James White was the leading receiver, as he caught five passes for 85 yards.
The Broncos are coming into Week 10 with a record of 3-5 and are 2.5 games back of the division-leading Chiefs. Denver is looking to rebound after getting dominated by the Eagles 51-23 last week.
In Brock Osweiler’s first start this season he struggled greatly. He threw for 208 yards and one touchdown, but also threw for two interceptions and was sacked three times. The dominant Denver defense was gashed for 419 total yards by Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense.
New England seems to overmatch Denver in every aspect, but the Broncos seem to step up against Brady and the Patriots in what always seems to be a good game between these two teams.
Patriots Offense vs. Broncos Defense
The No. 1 offense will go to battle against the No. 2 defense this week in Denver in what should be a great matchup.
The Patriots offense is led by MVP contender Brady and his plethora of weapons. Brady currently leads the league in passing yards with 2,541 and is tied for fifth in passing touchdowns at 16.
Even with the loss of Julian Edelman for the season, the Patriots offense hasn’t missed a beat. This can be credited to the number of lethal weapons Brady has to throw to. Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks have been the main targets for Brady this season. Hogan and Gronkowski are tied with five touchdowns each while Cooks is leading the team in receiving with 563 yards.
While New England may not have a star running back, they have four running backs that are capable of being game-breakers. Mike Gillislee is leading rusher on the team with 355 yards, but James White is exceptional out of the backfield as he leads the team with 43 receptions.
The strength of this Denver team is by far their defense, which as a unit has been among the league’s elite for several seasons. Currently ranking second in yards allowed per game, the Broncos are able to shut down the run and force opposing quarterbacks into mistakes.
Currently ranking fifth against the run, the Denver front seven is led by linebacker Brandon Marshal,l who leads the team with 57 tackles. However, the star of this defense has to be Von Miller. A former Super Bowl MVP, Miller is one of the best pass rushers in the league. He currently leads the team with eight sacks.
The “No-Fly Zone” for Denver however is the strength of the defense. Corners Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib are two of the best in the NFL. The Broncos rank fourth against the pass, but at times struggled to intercept the opposing quarterback.
Broncos Offense vs. Patriots Defense
The Denver offense has been so awful this season that they made a quarterback change to Brock Osweiler. Safe to say this Bronco offense is desperate. Trevor Siemian has shown signs of promise, but too many interceptions caused a change.
Denver doesn’t lack weapons on offense, but when you don’t have a good quarterback that makes it tough to succeed in the NFL. Receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both very good, but don’t have the numbers to back it up.
The New England defense has been equally as bad, as they rank last in the league allowing 417 yards per game. The Patriots started off the season bad, but have made significant improvements on defense during their four-game winning streak.
New England hasn’t been good when rushing the passer either. With only 16 sacks on the season, 25th in the league, the Patriots have left their secondary exposed. The addition of Stephon Gilmore hasn’t paid off like most people thought it would. Plus, the loss of leader Dont’a Hightower could come back to be costly.
The Patriots seem to be the better team on paper and Denver is reeling with four straight losses. But, the Broncos always seem to step up when they play New England and have been able to shut down Brady in the past.
I think Denver’s defense is able to limit the explosive Patriot offense and get to Brady several times. The Broncos playmakers feed off the crowd and make enough plays to pull off the huge upset over the AFC-leading Patriots.
Prediction: Denver 20, New England 17
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.