3 key matchups for the Patriots Week 16 matchup with the Broncos

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
1 of 3

This has all the indicators of a very odd game.

Denver has the worst run defense in the league; nobody allows more than their 5.2 yards per attempt average. Yet they’ve still won 7 games. The Broncos have also had issues stopping their opponents from scoring. But the Patriots are ranked last in the league for points scored.

What a way to end Christmas Eve.

You might think that the most crucial matchup would be the one between one of the best offensive-minded head coaches of the last 30 years against the best defensive-minded coaches ever. But Belichick and Payton have only ever met three times as head coaches.

Belichick has won 2 of those meetings, but there isn’t any real history between them. In fact, both coaches have praised each other in their respective press conferences this week. Well, that’s just no fun, is it?

Zack Cox of NESN reported that Belichick said he has “a ton of respect” for Sean Payton, and in response, Payton harked back to his tenure as Saints head coach recalling a game when Aqib Talib traveled all over the field to shut down Jimmy Graham.

Payton also invoked the Broncos game against the Lions last week when Aaron Glenn (who played under Payton in New Orleans) double-teamed Courtland Sutton to hold him to 5 catches for 71 yards (that’s not terrible numbers, but Sutton has previously managed 113 yards on five catches).

So, going into this Week 16 game, who are the three most intriguing matchups to watch for?