Patriots vs. Broncos: 3 Offensive Keys
By Cyrus Geller
3. Red Zone
These funky stats always manage to appear every single postseason. Believe it or not, Denver’s “vaunted” defense was a mere 19th in red zone defense in 2015, and a disastrous 28th when they were at home. Only the Titans, Saints, Bills and Bears were worse inside the 20 in their home stadium. That is pretty astounding, and it will be something Tom Brady will try to capitalize on this Sunday. If the Patriots move the ball all day between the 20’s (which I think will happen) but keep settling for field goals, that is going to let the un-explosive Broncos offense stay in the game until the very end, and that is not what Tom Brady and Bill Belichick want.
Broncos are trash talking Pats, which is stupid
When New England is faced with goal-to-goal situations, they have to take advantage of specific matchups the Broncos give them. If Denver decides to leave Gronk 1-on-1 on the outside, Brady better be going to him every single time. Or if they play a soft underneath zone, let Julian Edelman do his thing and work his way into the end zone. Denver also tried playing a zone with Von Milller underneath and a safety over the top against Scott Chandler last time they played, and the result was one of the easiest touchdowns Tom Brady has ever had. If they try that crap again, you know number 12 will make them pay.
The bottom line is this: If the Pats score two or three touchdowns in this game, that will likely be enough to win. Peyton Manning is going to struggle to put up points against Bill Belichick’s defense, so 20 might be enough to win it. But if the Pats continuously fail in the red area and settle for field goals, that could set up for a knock-down, drag out fight to the end, and that favors the Broncos. However I am extremely confident the Pats will be able to convert these opportunities into six points, thanks to mismatches they have with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and even James White out of the backfield against these Broncos’ linebackers.
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