Follow up notes from the Denver-New England game.

.

With the weather really not being that much of a factor (NFL record for pass attempts in a non-overtime game) New England made all the big plays at all the critical times and came away with a resounding 43-21 victory. What surprised me the most was how effective New England was at defending the run. HUGE game by Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins stuffing the running game and it made Denver operate in 2nd or 3rd and long all day, which plays right into Bill Belicheck’s wheelhouse.

What else can I say about Tom Brady that hasn’t already been said? He showed remarkable poise in all but 1 of his 53 drop-backs today and if not for at least 4 drops (more like 5 or 6) this game might have gotten even more out of hand.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, being that I’m a huge Patriots fan I’m trying to be as objective as possible but one can only imagine how this would’ve went had the Patriots had a healthy Mayo and Chandler Jones. A shutout would’ve been possible the way they were playing.

Now that this game is out of the way….the hard part is coming. Colts at their place in primetime, followed with Detroit, @ Green bay and @ San Diego. With the cupcake schedule the Denver has coming up, Somehow, they must win not only all 4, but they must win out. I just do not see them winning at Mile-High…which has been the biggest house of horrors for this team since it’s inception. Give me a road playoff game at Baltimore or Pitt any day over going to Mile High.

That’s all I have for right now. Plenty of time to dissect this one over the next two weeks.

Great Job Pats!!

Standard

Broncos at the Patriots, November 2nd, 2014

The basic skinny on how I see today’s match-up unfolding:

1) Brady vs. Manning

Of course, this is all the ‘everyfan’ is being forced fed by the major media outlets. My short take on this is that with the weather conditions that are supposed to be present at Gillette stadium today the match-up tilts solidly in Brady’s favor. Brady has consistently shown that he can throw a ball ‘through’ the wind. The reasons for this are that he generally throws a very tight spiral, and still possesses plenty of arm strength. Manning’s arm strength has declined, and he throws ducks. Wonderfully accurate ducks to be certain, but ducks none-the-less and that will be a factor because of the vastly improved back-end of the Patriots defense.

Edge: Brady

2) Coaching

No one is ever going to call John Fox a genius. He’s solid and well liked to be sure but it’s going to take more than that to beat New England up in Foxboro in bad weather. It’s going to take some surprises and new wrinkles. If Manning were the head coach, it might be a fair fight but he’s only the OC, not the HC. Last year Jack DelRio showed no ability to adjust to the weather and the momentum created by the Pats in the 3rd Q of last years regular season game. I don’t expect any genius maneuvers today. Conversely, Belicheck will be prepared AND he’ll have his troops ready for anything and ready to play hard.

Edge: New England

3) Emmanuel Sanders vs. Whomever BB decides to cover him with

I can envision Revis on Demarious Thomas, and Browner on Julius Thomas. Welker is dangerous, but not what he once was and can be covered by Dennard, Jamie Collins, Kyle Arrington or Logan Ryan. The Patriots have no one who can single cover Sanders other than Revis and he’ll be occupied. If the Pats had a heathly Chandler Jones this wouldn’t be such a huge deal but with the time Manning is likely to have, I can see Sanders getting an awful lot of short passes and using his quickness to make big plays on a slick playing surface.

Edge: Sanders

Running game:

New England will likely be pounding sand if they try and run it at the Broncos tough front 7. They are going to have to catch them off guard by using their warp speed hurry up in order to have successful runs but I don’t believe they can just line up and run it at them. Denver’s Hillman has home run speed and has shown the ability to break tackles after first contact and I can see them being able to line up and run it at us. Vince Wilfork is the X factor. He’s played like a shell of his former self since coming back from injury and he absolutely needs to be great today for the Pats to have a chance on D.

Edge: Denver

Passing game:

See Brady vs. Manning above.

Edge: Pats in inclement weather.

Special teams:

Huge apparent advantage to New England. Denver has a rookie kicker who’s never had a pressure kick in his pro career. The Pats Ghostkowski is about as good as it gets. Pats are not spectacular in the Kick return game, but can break big ones off in the punt return game. Denver is much the same, maybe a little better on KO returns than New England. With the way the wind is projected, punters also loom as potentially huge contributors to the success/failure of their teams. Both are solid with a slight edge going to Colquitt.

Edge: Slightly favoring New England

Prediction:

While snow is falling like it’s a blizzard, it is supposed to dry up but wind is still supposed to be a factor. I just can’t see New England losing a weather game that’s this important. Anywehre else, I’m taking Denver but today is New England’s day:

New England Patriots: 34

Denver Broncos: 23

Standard