Inside Enemy Territory: 5 Questions About the Denver Broncos

Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent questions about their team and the upcoming game. Today’s Q&A comes from Kim Constantinesco of the Denver Broncos blog,Predominantly Orange. Constantinesco discusses the local coverage of Tebow in Denver, whether his passing ability is something the Patriots should be concerned with, stopping the Patriots’ offense, and more. The Patriots-Broncos game is one of the most anticipated and hyped games of the year and should be a memorable one.

Here’s our Q&A:

1. What is the coverage of Tim Tebow like in Denver? Does it focus largely on Tebow’s religion or is it focused on football? (You can read my thoughts on the matter HERE)
In Denver, the focus is solely on football. Sure, there are a few radio stations that will bring up his religion, but most people around town are only looking at his ability to play the game.
It’s the national media that is playing up Tebow’s religion for fans of other teams. Who doesn’t like to see a player from an opposing team being mocked for whatever reason?  The media is set to collect eyeballs and ears, so what they do with stories is they break it down into boxes. They break everything down into good/bad, right/wrong, black/white so that they can package it and get it to the masses as quickly as possible. The thing with Tebow is his story doesn’t quite fit into these boxes. We’re used to professional athletes being self-centered, money-hungry beings that Tebow doesn’t fit into the typical football player mold because of his convictions.
That’s why his football skills are often overlooked and his character is exposed at the national level. Non-conforming stories sell.
2. Can Tebow put up another big passing game (yardage-wise) against the Patriots or was the Steelers game a fluke?
The Steelers game was not his first big passing day. It was his first big one in a while mostly because his confidence was shaken after a turnover-ridden few weeks, as would happen with any young quarterback. After his passing drought, Tebow got his head straight, listened to John Elway’s ‘pull the trigger’ advice and let it rip against the league’s No. 1 ranked passing defense.
The Pats are more vulnerable in the secondary, so I expect Tebow to have another solid day in the air. His confidence is back and he’s coming off of a great week of preparation.
3. Last time the Pats and Broncos squared off, Denver’s defense did a good job limiting Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, but Aaron Hernandez was able to have a big game. What adjustments will Denver make to prevent that from happening again?
For Denver, it’s going to be about getting their rushing game going so that they can eat clock and keep the Pats’ offense off the field as much as possible. However, when Tom Brady and Co. do step up to the plate, they are going to bring a 5-6 man rush on Brady. That’s what they got their 2 sacks off of last time. Additionally, Denver’s corners will have to disrupt routes to throw of the timing of Brady and his receivers. Finally, the Pats got a lot of their receiving yards because of missed open field tackles by the Broncos. That has to change to limit Welker, Gronk, and Hernandez.
4. In Week 15, Denver piled up 252 rushing yards, including 167 in the first quarter alone, against the Patriots. Can they duplicate that success again on Saturday, and do they actually need to duplicate that success on the ground in order to win?
I think the Broncos are at their best when they’re balanced offensively, so I would hope that the rushing game would still produce, but the passing game needs to take the pressure off of them. They don’t need to duplicate that kind of success of they don’t turn the ball over.
5. Game prediction?
The Broncos keep things close, and hold the Patriots offense (relatively speaking), but I don’t think it will be enough to prevail.
Pats – 27 Broncos – 24

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