Welcome football fans it’s time to get ready for another Monday Night Football showdown featuring the high flying scoring machines the Denver Broncos and our very own New England Patriots. The Broncos arrive into Gillette Stadium coming off a loss last week to Jacksonville Jaguars at home and we still remember the shackling the San Diego Chargers planted on us last week on Sunday Night. It’s time to forget about both of those losses and focus on tonight match up in prime time on MNF!
Keys of the game for a New England victory:
1 – NEP Passing Offense:
Over the last few weeks we have seen moments of Bradyness (yes it’s a word created by us) from quarterback Matt Cassel and then last week’s game comes to mind. And it makes us question does he even belong in the NFL as a backup. For the Pats to be successful vs Denver they need offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to open up the playbook. Let’s get back to basics and some of what worked for us last year. That’s means involving Wes Welker more in the offense, coming over the middle, mixing it up for him and keeping defenders on their toes. Randy Moss needs to play with some emotion, get up in the air using the height advantage he has and fight for the ball. Open the deep threat vs the Broncos secondary, let’s force Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly into trying to stop the deep threat. Denver’s defense is down right horrible, it’s time for New England to expose it like other’s have exposed our weaknesses. We have our tight ends let’s not forget about them, we need too utilize move two man formations with both David Thomas and Ben Watson. And Jabar Gaffney use him for crying out loud please. He has the talent and the play making ability if we him the ball. Keep Denver’s defense on the field, wear them out, break them down, I don’t care just open the dam playbook.
2 – Denver’s Offense:
The leader for the Broncos is Jay Cutler, we know his struggles last year on the field. That’s in the past this year he’s only regained his form, throwing for 1,694 yards with 12 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions in six games so far this season. And let’s talk about his favorite target that’s Brandon Marshall who’s only caught 43 balls for 521 yards and 3 touchdowns in his five games this year. The fear of the deep ball from Cutler to Marshall against the Patriots secondary that was flat out embarrassed last week scares the crap out of me. This has me worried the most, can we be shamed two weeks in a row, we just might be. Good news for the Pats is that tight end Tony Scheffler could be out with a groin injury as well as former Patriot Daniel Graham who’s probable with a finger injury. Don’t forget the Broncos running game featuring Michael Pittman and Selvin Young that can pound the ball inside, and break it to the outside on the drop of a dime. Pittman’s been banged up, used and abused throughout his career but has seemed to have found new life in Denver’s backfield this year.
3 – Special Teams:
This advantage is clearly in favor of the Patriots with the likes of rookie Matt Slater, Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk any of the trio has the ability and explosiveness to return either a punt or a kick-off to the house. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has the range the majority of the time to kick the long deep field goals and hit the shorter one’s without any problem. Denver’s new kicker this year is Matt Prater who’s converted 13 of 14 field goals attempts this year with his personal best of 56 yards. Prater’s had tough shoes to fill as far as the kicking game is concerned in Denver. He’s replacing a sure hall of famer in Jason Elam, and doing it quite well so far in the season. In the return game for Denver the Patriots need to watch out for the explosiveness of Eddie Royal. If they allow Royal to get the big returns it adds more pressure on our defense by shortening the length of the field Cutler will have to work with.
4 – The Mind Game:
Who won’t love this part to the game. You have two geniuses one on the defensive side and another on the offensive side. It’s Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan two masters of their games. Belichick has proven time and time again what a master he is on the defensive side of the ball. No matter what the situation is or who the team is he will develop and create a game plan too shut them down the majority of the time. And the job that Shanahan has done over the years in Denver especially in their running game. You take the likes of Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis and Terrell Davis just to name a few. Watch the job that he’s constantly done with the running game no matter who or what combo of players he’s installed in their backfield. He gets the right player and just simply molds them into his style of runner and has continually had success in doing so. This should be like a chess match going back and forth all game, the winner only having to out smart his opponent just one time. One play either way and it just might be the decisive moment in this contest.
5 – Will, Pride and Determination:
Finally the team that wants this game more will ultimatelywin this meeting. For New England who’s still in thick of things in the AFC East thanks to losses by both the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets on Sunday. A Patriots win over Denver moves them to 4-2 on the season and only one game behind the Buffalo Bills. Another key point is that a win still has us in the playoff race with the 5th best record in the AFC at week’s end. For Denver a victory gives them a two game cushion going into their bye next week at 5-2. It’s Cassel and Cutler, Shanahan and Belichick, Denver and New England those are the key things to watch for in this match up. For the winner it’s an easier road to the playoffs, for the loser well if it’s New England just might spell the beginning of the end. For Denver it’s not the end, but it does make the rest of their schedule and games a lot more meaningful.
Tags: Ben Watson Bill Belichick Brandon Marshall Buffalo Bills Champ Bailey Clinton Portis Daniel Graham David Thomas Denver Broncos Dre' Bly Eddie Royal Gillette Stadium Jabar Gaffney Jacksonville Jaguars Jason Elam Jay Cutler Josh McDaniels Kevin Faulk Matt Cassel Matt Prater Matt Slater Miami Dolphins Michael Pittman Mike Anderson Mike Shanahan Monday Night Football New England Patriots New York Jets Randy Moss San Diego Chargers Selvin Young Stephen Gostkowski Tatum Bell Terrell Davis Tony Scheffler Wes Welker