Can The Broncos Slow Brady And Company?
There are many parallels between the New England Patriots’ 10-0 start to this NFL season and their 10-0 start in 2007 but the one major difference and an area of concern for the team has to be the injuries that have piled up. The Patriots have already lost star wide receiver Julian Edelman and running back Dion Lewis, their offensive line is banged up and now they could be without another pair of receivers in Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson this week. New England is a very resilient team but there has to be some concern about being healthy down this final stretch and come playoff time. Next up for the Patriots is a tough test against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football and while Peyton Manning will not play that might make this matchup even more difficult for the visiting side.
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Sunday November 29, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
Manning won’t play again this week because of a number of nagging injuries but the reality is that Denver might be better off without him at least this week. Manning’s injuries had clearly taken a toll on the future Hall of Fame quarterback and his 17 interceptions this season were too much for any team including the Broncos to overcome. Instead, the Broncos will turn back to Brock Osweiler, who did an excellent job of protecting the football and taking what the defense gave him in last week’s 17-15 win over the Chicago Bears. Osweiler completed 20-of-27 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns and made it clear that he deserves to be the starter for Denver at least in the short term. The question heading in to this week is whether or not Osweiler and company can score enough points to end the Patriots’ perfect start to the season and the truth is that will largely depend on whether or not the Broncos’ defense can slow down Brady. The New England offense adjusted without a number of key players last week and still scored 20 points and while they will have to be better when it comes to protecting Brady in the pocket they still have enough talent to win this game. It might not be the matchup the football fans wanted in Brady versus Manning but the Broncos are good enough on both sides of the football to give the Patriots a scare. Look for Denver to keep it close for the full four quarters with Brady and New England finding a way to win this game in the fourth quarter and extend their perfect start to 11-0.
Handicapping The Total
At their best this could have been a very high scoring Sunday Night Football matchup with plenty of turns but injuries have taken their toll on both teams and that should lead to a more conservative approach for both the Patriots and Broncos. Look for Denver to try and run the football in order to dominate possession and keep Brady off the field for as long as possible while the Broncos’ defense keeps the injury-riddled New England offense from scoring enough points to push this game over the total.
Pick: New England -3