Twenty-four is a number the Patriots haven’t seen in awhile. In a conversation between Patriots team reporter Meredith Gorman and myself, it was revealed that the feelings around the locker room indicated that Stephon Gilmore will play after not playing over the past four weeks. In his absence, the Patriot’s defense has looked a lot better. As with years past, they’re giving up yardage, but have been limiting points. They currently sit in the middle of the pack for points allowed, however prior to Gilmore’s injury they had allowed the most points.
That defense has faced other injuries as well, with Dont’a Hightower’s season concluding early, with the addition of injuries to Eric Rowe and Malcolm Brown, the efforts by the “reserves” has to be applauded. It will have to be again if the Patriots win, because Malcolm Brown has been ruled out again.
We’re over a full season removed already. Throughout most of this decade, the day on the calendar every NFL fan circled was the matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The last time that happened, the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on in 2016 on January 2There will also be significant pieces missing on offense. Facing a defense that has allowed the least yardage in the entire NFL this season, Brady will be without receiver Chris Hogan, and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.
That Denver defense is led by Von Miller. The linebacker ranks 3rd amongst all players at his position in sacks entering week ten. He leads a defense which also hosts (according to Ryan Fox’s preseason comments) the toughest secondary in the NFL. That defense was just slaughtered.
The Eagles scored 51 points against them.
^That was a really short paragraph. The Eagles went to town last week. Wentz didn’t even top 200 passing yards, and still put up four touchdowns. The Broncos were put in their place.
Their offense has severely limited Denver this year. In the loss to Philadelphia, the Broncos 23 points marked the first time they surpassed 20 since week two. This offense has reverted back to one without a quarterback. They might honestly be missing Tim Tebow right now. That should never happen.
Trevor Siemian lost the starting role the Brock Osweiler, a quarterback not skilled enough to play for the Cleveland Browns. The 0-8 Cleveland Browns who haven’t had a season with only one QB in how long? Complementing the passing game is CJ Anderson, who has been a let down for fantasy football fans everywhere his entire career.
Tyler’s Tickets to a New England Victory:
Have all eleven defensive players on the field: You do not get signed to an NFL contract without immense talent. Talent that should at least be strong enough to stop a laughing stock quarterback. They have played respectable defenses, but Denver has had a lot of trouble finding the end zone. After a disasterous first four game, the Patriot defense has not allowed more than seventeen points in a single contest.
Take the Cooks out of the kitchen: Despite a lackluster performance last week, the Denver defense is good… really good. They rank as a bottom five team in passing and rushing yards allowed. They don’t allow a lot of points. The way to defeat their secondary is with speed. Over the past five weeks, the Broncos have only allowed nine passing touchdowns. Only three of those touchdowns were for less than 15 yards, with multiple being closer to thirty, forty, even over sixty yards. Brandin Cooks with acquired for his speed. As one of the fastest receivers in the league, Cooks needs to be able to beat a tough secondary this week.
Tyler’s Tickets to a Denver Victory:
Test the corners: Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore are both expected back this week. They are coming off of a bye week, however neither was at full strength the last time their team took the field. Are they really at full strength?
It also has to be noted that the last time Gilmore took the field, he was awful. There were discussions about communication issues on the field, and number 24 has not played in a real game since then. Everyone else was able to expose the expensive defender. If he’s not fixed, maybe Osweiler can expose him too.
Tackle Tommy: There is no Chris Hogan this week. There is no Julian Edelman this season. There is no run game when you square off with Denver. For the Patriots to win, the pressure will be on Brady to perform without another one of his favorite targets. Von Miller leads a strong defense, capable of limiting the pass. Capable of hitting TB12. With enough pressure and incompletions, a strong defensive effort can rescue a poor offensive one.
The Patriots are well rested, coming off of a bye week. Denver on the other hand was just embarrassed. They’ve been mediocre for a while now on the offensive side of the ball. Facing a top offensive team, the Denver defense can only do so much.
Patriots 24- Broncos 13
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