In Week 15, the New England Patriots will be facing a tough Denver Broncos team. What are the matchups to watch?
The New England Patriots are coming off an exciting win on Monday Night Football over the Baltimore Ravens. Although a pair of fumbles on special teams marred the performance, it was a complete game on both sides of the ball. The 17 unanswered points scored by Baltimore made the score close, but New England prevailed 30-23.
The Patriots’ defense limited the Ravens to just 42 yards rushing and Baltimore was just 6-for-16 on third downs. On offense, New England rolled for 95 yards on the ground with LeGarrette Blount grinding out five rushes for 18 yards and two huge first downs to run out the last 1:55 of the game (all statistics from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted). Tom Brady was his usual dominant self topping 400 yards passing and three touchdowns.
With Baltimore crossed off Brady’s Revenge Tour, the Patriots return to their House of Horrors: A trip to the high altitude of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Last season, the Patriots went into Denver twice and lost two winnable games.
In 2015 the 10-0 Patriots blew a 21-7 third quarter lead before clawing back to tie the game without Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and leaning on Brandon Bolden, Chris Harper, Brandon LaFell, and Scott Chandler to send the game to overtime before losing.
In the AFC Championship, another fourth quarter comeback by Brady fell just short as the two minute offense drove down the field to cut the lead to two points. Only a failed two-point conversion prevented the Patriots from taking the Broncos to overtime for the second time on their home turf.
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Last week Denver went to Tennessee and fell behind 13-0 before a frantic comeback attempt ended with less a minute to play when former Patriots draft pick tight end A.J. Derby fumbled the ball turning the ball over to the Titans. Denver gave up an 11 and 16 play drive to the Titans uncharacteristically allowing Tennessee to grind out 180 yards on the ground and control the clock.
Last week’s results no longer matter and it is a new week and two of the most successful franchises of this century face each other in a game brimming with playoff implications. Denver-New England is traditionally a great game and this year should be no different.
Read on for a look at how Brady’s Bunch hopes to move the ball against the star-studded defense of the Broncos followed by a look at how a resurgent defense in New England hopes to shut down the stuttering Denver offense: