Hiya Hiya MHR. Well, 8-5 has been achieved. For me, and most people I've talked to or read, this game against the Patriots will truly be a litmus test to see if our beloved Broncos, under the inexplicable Timothy Tebow, will be able to be competitive in the playoffs against teams like Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New England. My feeling is yes - the Broncos can be competitive and they can win this game. To do so, though, the Broncos will have to play their most complete game of the year - I think most of us can agree on that. To me, in addition to the old standby of "win the turnover battle," there are five keys to this game. They are:
1. Pressure Brady
I listed this one first, b/c I feel like we stand no chance if we fail to do this. If you let Brady sit in the pocket, unmolested, he will cut you to pieces before halftime. Still, I've seen a great many games where teams have been able to neutralize him by pressuring him consistently (against the Ravens, Giants and Steelers in particular).
2. Be Physical and Run the ball
The Pats suck at altitude - especially late in physical games. They're also not the most physical team you'll see. The Broncos need to use the O-line and pound, pound, pound. If the Broncos can wear them out, the running game will become more and more effective, like it did against the Raiders. The biggest point here would be to keep the ball away from Brady.
3. Create explosive plays in the passing game
With the way the Broncos play, these throws are there. I think Tebow will have to hit at least one or two passing plays of 25+ yards.
4. No Goose Eggs - Start fast and stay in touch
It's entirely possible that we'll be able to do the whole - don't score all game then turn it on late - and win. While it may be possible, I don't think it will work against Tom Brady. We need to put at least some points on the board in every quarter and stay within two scores (16). I'd put nothing past Tebow, but coming back from a 3 score deficit against New England wouldn't be an easy task.
5. Win Special Teams
Field position, kicking and returns could play a huge part in this game. Getting a good return or two, making our field goal opportunities and consistently pinning them deep could play a huge roll.