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New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Three games to go. Three wins get Denver in the playoffs. I read this week that NO TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL has ever faced a 3 game stretch to end the season wherein each team to be played has won 10 games.
Denver can earn a playoff spot.
They can also get in if the Dolphins and the Ravens falter, but wouldn’t it be nice if they played their way in, convincingly?
If they are to do so, the first step is beating the Patriots. Impossible? No. Unlikely? Perhaps.
Spoiler alert here: I am going to pick Denver to win each of their next 3 games. And I am going to enjoy the last few weeks of the season.
KEY MATCH UP
Get to Brady. Harass Brady. Sack Brady.
That’s the formula that has worked in the past. It is a formula that can work Sunday.
The Patriots are one of the best coached teams in the league. They know the Broncos’ defensive weakness this season has been the run defense. However, that defense showed signs of life and improvement in the second half against the Titans last week. Will that continue Sunday? It needs to if Denver is to win.
If they can bottle up the run and rattle Brady, they can beat the Patriots.
Field position has been killing the Broncos in recent weeks. Last week, Denver didn’t run a play in Tennessee territory until the end of the first half and, even then, they only ran 1.
While much of that had to do with how bad the offense has been, it also had to do with the Titans’ ability to pin Denver deep in its own territory. Denver cannot have that this week.
Riley Dixon has been very good in recent weeks (get him in at QB?).
He needs to be great Sunday. A good return game from Khalif Raymond would help.
3 to go. 3 wins to get.
Let’s go, Broncos.
The version of the team, specifically the offense, we saw on the field last week won’t get things done.
There were signs of hope. The team dominated the second half and, if not for a very untimely fumble, they may well have pulled it out.
The defense very much settled in, even as they dealt with some key player losses. The offense moved the ball into the Tennessee Red Zone 3 times in the later stages of the game. That they came away with only 10 points on those trips is a problem that must be solved.
Denver can beat New England, especially in Denver.
They need to.