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Published on 12/12/2012 at Wed Dec 12 12:00.
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(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Big Pete provides Part 2 of his latest article…

Yesterday, we jumped into the Broncos / Patriots talk with a quick examination of their match-up in Week 5. Now, we’re going to talk about how the game would go if they met today! There is one thing that we automatically know going into any Manning versus Brady match-up; the game will be close, and more than likely be decided by a pivotal conversion late in the game. Which team will give them the Clint Eastwood stare, and which team will blink? That is the question at hand!

Currently, the Broncos are the only team in the NFL ranked in the top 5 in each Offense (4) and Defense (3). This means that the Broncos are the NFL’s most complete and balanced team. We aren’t a team that has a ridiculous offense, but a leaky defense, and we aren’t a team that has a stellar defense, but a squeaky offense. No, we are strong on offense, strong on defense, and strong on special teams. We are the epitome of “balanced”.

So what would happen if the week 14 Broncos faced off against the week 14 Patriots? Will this game happen in Denver or Foxboro? Does it even matter? One thing is for sure, it doesn’t take a statistician to quickly point out that the Patriots can hang 40+ points on ANYBODY! Then again, it doesn’t take a statistician to know that the Broncos defense can hold high power offenses to (besides garbage time), 14 points. So what would happen if the Broncos and Patriots played?

Looking into my crystal ball, I see the Patriots punting on their first drive as both teams figure each other out. Both teams are different from their week 5 showdown in Foxboro. The Denver defense is perhaps the most improved unit from week 1 to week 14 than any unit (both offense and defense) in the NFL. Conversely, I can also see the Broncos going down and scoring a FG on their first drive to take a quick 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, taking any lead against the Patriots early is akin to poking a bee hive with a stick. You just piss them off and make them swarm and attack you. The Patriots will take another halftime lead, but this time, it’s 21-10.

Remember how weeks ago I said that the Broncos needed to start beating down their opponents instead of just squeaking by with a win? Remember why I said we needed to do that? Yeah, it’s because destroying teams installs fear into your opponents. The Patriots know this, and regularly run up the scores, which makes teams fear them and take unnecessary risks against them (like Schaub refusing to take what is given, but instead trying to always go deep). Well, if there is one QB in the league who is immune to this, it’s Peyton Manning! Dink, Dink, Dink, Boom!, we score a TD and are back in the game!

The game is well into the 3rd quarter, and tension is high… you know what time it is, right? Damn right you do, it’s Miller Time!!!! Queue up Von Miller and Elvis Dumerville, cause it’s time for a sack party! Brady gets hit right when he’s throwing, incomplete… Brady does his signature “cry like a Rivers” yelling at the refs, cause he thinks that he’s Tom Freaking Brady, he’s above the rules of the game!!! What does Miller and Doom do? They buckle up their chinstraps, give each other a high 5, and line back up. They’ll show that crybaby QB what pain really is! 2nd down, Doom bull rushes and Miller does whatever the hell he wants to do, and blows Brady up! Another incomplete, and another quivering lower lip by Brady. It’s now 3rd and 17, and wouldn’t you know, HOLDING penalty. Yes my fellow Broncos fans, the Miller effect is taking place. 3rd and 27, and after a 19 yard gain, the Patriots punt.

Manning takes over and leads us on a TD drive for the lead. Our defense loves playing with a lead, and Tom Brady is once again rattled by the pass rush and starting to crack. He starts throwing ill advised passes (namely anything but his little 2 yard outs/slants/screens that WRs break off for 10 yard gains), and Chris Harris picks one off for a TD. Here we go Denver, lets put this game to bed and destroy the destroyers! With Brady having his brain fart, he settles back down and dinks and dunks his way down the field for a TD, thus keeping this game close.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, John Fox has a 3 point lead in the 4th quarter, so he makes sure that we start playing our patented “Prevent Offense”, so we start going 3 and out. We’re gonna have to rely on our defense to stop Tom Brady in the 4th quarter… That’s just too tall of a task. The Patriots score another TD to make it a 4 point lead. Can the Broncos flip the light switch back on and march down the field for a TD and a lead/win? If we’re in Denver, yes! If we’re in Foxboro, no! Unfortunately, as of today, it’s a game in Foxboro, which means we are once again out of the playoffs in the 2nd round. Will this piss Peyton Manning off? You better believe it! Will it change John Fox’s mentality of playing it safe and not closing out teams when you have the chance? Not even close! This is John Fox’s curse, and the reason why John Elway needs to turn on the 1998 Denver Broncos film and basically tell Fox that next year, they wont take their foot off the gas pedal until the clock shows 00:00

As of Week 14, no, the Broncos can not beat the Patriots in Foxboro (but they can in Denver). What do you think Broncos fans? Tee off and let it fly in the comments section!

  • areferee

    Thanks Big Pete. A very realistic scenario. I believe you are wrong. The Broncos CAN beat the Patriots on either field. The Denver defense is fully capable of shutting down the Brady offense, even in Foxboro. But you COULD be right and your reasoning is sound.

    What is important at this juncture, is to win out the remainder of our schedule, starting with Baltimore.

    As far as the Pats are concerned, the 49ers are fully capable of beating them, also in Massachusetts. Then we need the Jags or the Dolphins to upset them, (a tall order), so any meeting of Fox and Belichick takes place at altitude.

    But let’s keep them coming one at a time and spend our considerations, at least for now, on the pissed off team from Maryland that can ruin any plans we have for the future by man-handling our QB and the other Broncos critical to our hopes for success.

    If Fox’s conservatism is good for anything, it is keeping their eye on the ball in the only game that matters… THIS ONE!

  • Speer999

    Agreed, I think the 49ers have a shot at beating the Patriots. That’s what I’m predicting anyways. Kaperneck will make the Pats defense play like “WTF”? Brady will have a hard time with this defense I think.

  • Gary_in_SD

    I hope you’re right.

  • Pete Baron

    Well, I did say that if we played them in Denver, we’d win. I just think going there would be a tall order. With that said, I’d say that a neutral field would be a “pick em” scenario… probably split the series 5-5 if we played 10.

  • Pete Baron

    I was a Texans fan on Monday, and I’ll be a 49ers fan this week! If we win out and the Patriots drop 1 game, we have a 1st round bye. I’d take the #1 seed if we could though (especially since I’m a season ticket holder).

  • Gary_in_SD

    Maybe the most important aspect of becoming a Broncos team capable of beating NE in the playoffs is being a team that is well aware of the fact that there will be 4 other AFC teams in the same playoffs. One that will be 100% focused on the first opponent and them only. Which of course will most likely not be the Patriots.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jvicars8784 Johnny Vicars

    When has this denver defense shut down Brady? They have played 3 times in the last year, when did it happen? How about we stick with non fiction for a second and not things that you hope will happen but have not. I am not sure who denver thinks they have beat here, but its nothing like what the patriots are.

  • Pete Baron

    Umm… did you bother reading the article? I have the Patriots winning! Besides, earlier this year, Porter and Mays were starters, and our defense was pretty bad. Since both have been replaced, our defense has climbed from lower third to the #3 overall defense.

    Also, again, don’t bring up the schedule, cause the Patriots have beat up the likes of buffalo, st. louis, NYJ, miami, and tennessee… that isn’t exactly a “who’s who” list of playoff caliber teams. I mean, they LOST to the Cardinals…. at least our only losses are to the #1 and #2 AFC and #1 NFC teams, and that was before our defense got fixed and Manning returned to form! Leave those weak ass arguments at the door my man. We’ve beaten teams on par with the Patriots, but unlike the Patriots, we haven’t lost to a complete laughing stock of a team (Arizona).

  • Pete Baron

    Very well stated. I think Peyton and John Fox won’t allow this team to overlook anybody. Even if we know that the 2nd round will be 100% Broncos vs Patriots, I can guarantee you that Manning will keep the offense focused on the team they play that week; same with John Fox.

  • TheTroglodyte

    “Unfortunately for the Broncos, John Fox has a 3 point lead in the 4th quarter, so he makes sure that we start playing our patented “Prevent Offense””

    ROTFL!!! OMG that is SO true!

  • http://twitter.com/animedpet chevss454 Will S.

    I pointed out a few things about the Pats that are different now than in wk 5 after Part 1. Here’s a few other things that are different.

    The Pats starting Ss were rookie Tavon Wilson in his 1st start replacing an injured Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung. Chung is no longer a starter and Gregory is healthy and playing pretty well. Wilson plays sparingly if at all.

    Our CBs wk 5 were Sterling Moore and Devin McCourty who has moved to S with the addition of Aqib Talib. D. Thomas had a big game for the Broncos but he was covered by Moore who is no longer on the team. BB had seen enough of that match up & put Dennard in for Moore in the 3rd qtr. Dennard was targeted 7 times and allowed 0 catches in his debut.

    In other words, the Pats defensive backfield has been completely revamped since that game. Ss are Gregory and McCourty; CBs are Dennard and Talib. Every position has been changed for the better.

    The Pats were also missing starting OLB Dont’a Hightower out with a hamstring injury. Special teamer Tracy White started for Hightower but he was injured early and that forced BB to play dime with CB Ras-I Dowling for most of the game.

    With AHern out the Patriots still gained 251 yards on the ground and 223 through the air.

    The Pats are versatile and multifaceted on offense. Take AHern out, the Pats roll. Take Gronk out for 4 games and the Pats still roll. AHern is back and healthy for the 1st time since wk 2. Gronk is practicing and is expected back after the 49ers game. Both TEs have played together for only 2 games all year. We can’t wait to see them on the field together again.

    Hope this helps you to understand the Pats better.

  • Speer999

    We practically shut down Brady in the Second half of the last game we played. Knowledge tells me we (for the most part) figured out his system. We’ll have a better jump on that offense this time around. We can score earlier than before. Their offense will be a “little” more explosive during the first half, but our defense is a lot better. I admit, I am a little worried playing in Foxboro though (Gronk && Hernandez, smh). Broncos are a different team than the last 3 times we played the Patriots, “completely different”. F the Patriots, and F your pessimistic attitude toward my team. GO BRONCOS!!! P.S. I’m more fiction than you right now and I’m not hoping anything.

  • karen labanca

    I agree we play it to safe. Let Peyton go he will get us points. I have seen what happens when he lets Peyton go SD in the second half. Fingers crossed we can do it this year. If not this year then next year everyone will have played together a whole season by then.

  • http://playonlabs.net/ Greg Bays

    Thanks for the premature fantasy. I believe Manning and Brady would counter each other all game, but when the chips are down, it will be up to the D to come through and I’ll take Denver’s D stopping Brady over New England’s D stopping Manning. Another NE Lombardi party not happening this year, and before we start thinking about New England we need to dispatch Baltimore, Cleveland and Kansas City.

  • Speer999

    I was right against the Texans on Monday at least. They didn’t stand a chance, but the 49er’s do have a greater chance. I think some sports analyst would agree anyways. I just don’t see how anyone could see the Texans and the Falcons as a l33t team. I just don’t. Maybe I’m not seeing something here.

  • http://twitter.com/wc_ben Benjamin DeRita

    or Lance Ball up the middle.. no gain.. oh wait fumble!

  • http://twitter.com/wc_ben Benjamin DeRita

    agreed I was rooting hard for the Texans (like I usually do for Kub) but after they were down 21 it was over, they had no real incentive to fight back A) risk player health B) unnecessarily reveal playbook when a playoff match up next month is likely… Obviously you try and win every week but it got to the point where there was nothing to gain. Nevertheless it was really disappointing to see them lay an egg like that and embarrass Kubs on MNF

  • LE Markley

    Great read, thank you.
    I do disagree on one point with you here, which we have actually seen just the opposite of in the past two weeks the Broncos won… the “prevent offense” you so correctly call out… this woud be a one shot deal at this point. As much as Fox would want to sit on three runs and punt, I do not believe McCoy OR Manning would allow that. We saw two game ending, minuting sucking drives that did actually include throws when they were needed to actually kneel the game out the last two weeks… not just being content with punting. Why the change? Well because of the VP of course. He came out and said flat out after the quick three and out after three horrible run plays that that was not acceptable. So, we did see an improvement. Going against a very powerful Brady and Co, but a leaky Pats D, this will be the time that the Broncos bleed them dry, and kill the clock. Because even scoring again could give the Pats a glimmer of hope. Manning makes a 2nd and 7 completion to Stokley for 15 yards and they never look back, taking 5:13 off the clock to seal the game with a 6 point win. Den 30, Pats 24.

  • LE Markley

    One thing you aren’t accounting for though is the increased chemistry with the receivers than there was in week 5. If DT is focused on, Manning will go to Decker, if Decker is covered, he will go to Stokley, if he is covered, he will go to Tamme… they can’t cover them all. And the D in week 5 were winded and couldn’t keep up. That would NOT happen in the playoffs. And if Denver is lucky enough (focused enough really) to end up with a seed higher than the patriots, they cannot pull off their one word no huddle BS offense in Denver… Brady WILL get rattled and the game will be far far different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/austin.jewell.524 Austin Jewell

    The only bad thing about a 1st round bye in the playoffs is that if you are on a winning streak(like the Broncos)they could end up breaking this streak with a bye like that.

  • Pete Baron

    Can Speer get an Amen?!?!?!

  • Pete Baron

    Thanks for the N.E. perspective. Our (Broncos) Defense is arguably the most improved unit in all of football. Regardless of what moves the Patriots did on offense or defense, or who is about to come back from injury, our Defense has improved more than the entirety of the Patriots’ team, which will make the inevitable rematch all the better. Add in the fact that our offense is much more rounded and complete, and the Patriots and Broncos are a “pick-em” on a neutral field, and probably a very hard fought victory for whoever the home team is.

  • Pete Baron

    I love it!!!

  • Doom92

    We have absolutely sat on it the last three weeks at the end; I didn’t see an improvement there at all. Pete is right; Fox will lay down like he is the one that is beaten. Hopefully this week we will change that.

  • Pete Baron

    You speak the truth my man!

  • carsonic

    New to the site, and I have to say I really enjoy the writing and analysis! My only point of contention with this particular scenario is the idea that John Fox dictates what happens to the offense. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that this is PM’s offense, and he’ll do what’s necessary to maintain or extend the lead as he sees fit. And even if we do switch to a more conservative game plan, with Kuper back in the lineup, I think we’re successful enough with Moreno to push it down the field.

    But as much as I love the closeness of this scenario (and my feeling that we could win in it) the Patriots still scare me, especially after Monday night. My gut just tells me that Brady and Belichick have our number.

    Which means that when we do beat them in the playoffs, I will be so very ecstatic! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/animedpet chevss454 Will S.

    I gave you specifics as to why the Pats D has improved. Care to give specifics why the Broncos D “has improved more than the entirety of the Patriots’ team”?

  • http://twitter.com/animedpet chevss454 Will S.

    Aren’t you forgetting the Patriots flood the field with receivers, too? Not to mention the Patriots’ receivers are harder to defend. In 3 yrs, no team has stopped Gronk or AHern. Welker has the most catches in the NFL the last 4 yrs for a reason. As you said above, “they can’t cover them all”, only in the Pats’ case, ‘they’ can’t cover any of them.

    Why can’t the Pats use the no huddle in Denver? It’s only a hurry up no huddle 35% of the time. No huddle doesn’t mean hurry up.

    Cheers

  • LE Markley

    How did we sit on it when two out of the last three weeks they had drives of over 5 mins each that required having to get multiple first downs because the other team was using their timeouts to try to get the ball back? That is a huge improvement from running the ball three straight times for 3 total yards lost, and then punting the ball. Fox has come a long way from the run, run, throw (only if you have to) start of each series that he liked to do all of last year. The whole offense still needs to be able to rely on the running game to get first downs too.

  • LE Markley

    Oh I know how hard it is to stop the Pats offense, but in Denver they will have the crowd noise AND the altitude to deal with. When we played them eariler this year at their own stadium, they were using one word play calls and moving very very quickly each and every play. That couldn’t do that in an unfamilair place when they aren’t conditioned for Denver. It would slow them down, and help the defense adjust. It would change the dynamic of how the teams play each other. In Boston, they can do whatever they want, whenever they want.

  • LE Markley

    There was a time in the not too distant past that we actually had the Pats number…. remember Bailey’s incredible pick-6 of 99 yards? We can get back to that with Peytons help.

  • carsonic

    I do remember back that far! Shanahan’s Broncos were Belichick’s kryptonite for a while. I do look forward to that day coming back around again.

  • Pete Baron

    Well, in the beginning of the season, we were ranked 30th in the league in total team defense…. 30th!!!!! There are only 32 teams! Today, we are ranked 3rd!!! That is a 27 slot jump!

    Tracey Porter has been replaced by Chris Harris. Joe Mays has been replaced by Keith Brooking (and now DJ Williams). Wesley Woodyard has gone from a backup to a pro bowl outside linebacker. Rahim Moore has come back from an abysmal rookie season to having a pro bowl caliber 2nd year. Tony Carter has also proven to be a ball hawk and one hell of a cover corner. Von Miller has transformed himself from a “pass rush only” player to arguably the most dominant defensive player in the NFL today! Derrick Wolfe was a green rookie, and is now a force to be reckoned with, and Elvis Dumerville started the season a bit dinged up, and is playing relatively healthy again.

    Add into that lethal defense the fact that Champ Bailey is still Champ Bailey and Robery Ayers is coming on strong, and it’s easy to see how our defense is the most improved unit on any side of the ball this year.

  • Pete Baron

    I also ask that you don’t take my “Broncos D has improved more than the entirety of the Patriot’ team” comment as an insult. It’s simply that the patriots have been the gold standard for so long, and so good for so long, that there isn’t much to improve upon, so when I see the Broncos getting exponentially better with each passing week, they will necessarily improve more than the Patriots, only because there is simply more room for improvement.

  • http://manchester-architects.com T-Money

    I guess we will just have to find out.

    Quite honestly I think the biggest mismatch is the LB core for both teams. Asking DJ Williams, or even Von Miller to cover Rob Gronkowski or even Aaron Hernandez is a really big, huge, tall order. Tom Brady is just as good as Peyton Manning is sliding up in the pocket and waiting for the small window to hit.

    The other part that scares me is NE’s balanced attack. I think they are just as good as the Bronoco’s at changing pace and calling the right ratio of run to pass. Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman are playing really well too.

    I’ll be interested to see how they hold up against the 49ers. If San Francisco can go up early and pound the ball – they might show a weakness that Denver can exploit I really don’t think that they performance against the Texan’s was all that impressive. I think Huston laid an egg more than anything else – but you know… because it’s Tom Brady and the Golden Untouchable Patriots – they are now the best at everything and TB is the MVP. (such horses**t)

    I guess time will tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if the high and mighty Titans of Boston trip over their own feet, tumble down the mountain and land face first in a steaming pile of their own —- you get the picture. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that’s the case.

  • Scott

    This makes sense except when considering Manning’s ability to audible plays and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Manning has too many options to be stuck with conservative play calling and this will never happen.

  • Jim_Jebow

    Ramen (I’m a pastafarian)

  • Jim_Jebow

    good point

  • disqus_F1niffZ3Ko

    I think it is spot on. To spot on. The pray to the clock gods needs to be outta here. Finish them off when you stick the fork in them, don’t let them remove it and stick it back. Turnovers and coaching is the key. Look at their (pats) coaches, not much in the class section, spygate and crap like that, they get caught, and brush (laugh) it off. It is tough to compete morally against the immoral. Sometimes you have to sink to their level. I am not saying cheat, just do not go into battle in the 21st century with mindset of the 1700′s. There is no brownie wins for honorable intentions.

  • disqus_F1niffZ3Ko

    I agree, it always seems the Pats only play the tough teams at home as well. Only One tough road game this year, the Ravens. The remainder 3 wining record teams have/will be at home. So far the pats have played the Texans@H, @Ravens, Colts@H Broncos @home when the Broncs were 2-2. What did the Texans have to play for? Pats Loosing to the Cards? LOL, If the Broncs loose to someone other than a Falcon or Pat or Texan, like the browns or Chefs then I still would not feel as bad as the Cards.

  • disqus_F1niffZ3Ko

    All arguments and opinions aside, it is the most likely AFC vs. AFC Champ play off this year. Odds are, we will find out.