The Denver Broncos got back to their winning ways last week with Brock Osweiler efficiently leading the offense to a 17-15 victory over the Chicago Bears. Frankly, the Broncos should have won the game by a wider margin, but a failed goal line attempt and some officiating shenanigans made the game a lot closer than it should have been.
Meanwhile, the undefeated New England Patriots are looking a bit more mortal than usual despite their unblemished 10-0 record. The losses of Julian Edleman and Dion Lewis appear to have affected the offense somewhat and their patchwork offensive line is starting to create problems for Tom Brady.
Let's just say the Broncos could not have asked for a better opportunity in this game. Can they seize it?
Broncos 24, Patriots 20 - Tim Lynch
If the Broncos are going to win this game they must have two things happen early on. First, the offense needs to score early on and second the defense needs to light it up early. I'm really hoping for a 17-6 kind of halftime score from the Broncos, because I am certain the Patriots will have some half time adjustments that will help them mount some points late in the second half.
At the end of the day, Osweiler will be tested and will need to answer a Patriots touchdown drive with one of his own. This is going to be a huge 'eye test' kind of game for me personally. And right now, I think Brock will pass that test and win this football game.
Broncos 27, Patriots 20 - Pete Baron
The offense moved the ball up and down the field all day against the Bears who just beat the Packers. Brock looked fantastic, he really did. I saw him make "pro" throws. I want to remind people that "pro" throws doesn't mean being a gunslinger and reckless with the ball. Just like holding can be called on every play, so too can you say "this wide receiver was wide open!" So when I see Brock find that wide open receiver or tight end and hit him in stride, that to me is a "pro" throw. I also saw the RB's, TE's, and WR's play with fire and a smile. I haven't seen that smile in a long long time.
As many of us correctly predicted, the change in quarterback did in fact improve the running game. The bootleg did in fact start freezing the defense and make them play honest. Lets not forget that the Bears do have a better defense than almost all the teams we played earlier in the year. But that's not why I'm predicting the outcome that I'm predicting. Here's why: Did you see what the "No Fly Zone" did against the Packers? Listen to me Brady and listen very carefully, "They're coming for you, they're coming!"
Broncos 28, Patriots 24 - Jon Heath
Brock will have some struggles, but Denver wins thanks to superb defensive play. Broncos win 28-24, leaving Brady both defeated and sore for the first time in 2015.
Commentary by Ian Henson
The Broncos will be under relentless pressure, but after Brock Osweiler masters the 'toe throw' this week in practice, his incompletions will go up, but the New England Patriots sack numbers will go down. Oh and prior to the game Tom Brady's four game suspension will be imposed thus preserving Brady/Manning 16 until the AFC Championship game.
Broncos 20, Patriots 17 - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
With Mile High Magic, the NFL's No. 1 defense and an inspired running game, the Broncos will add another win at home against the Patriots, making the series 20-8 for games played in Denver. With Belichick up to his usual sneaky tricks, this game is going to come down to the defense stopping Brady and Osweiler doing what he did last week - protecting the ball and moving the chains. No heroics will be needed by the offense if Wade Phillips took good notes on Monday night. Broncos win, 20-17. Now if we could just get those refs to know what the bleep they are doing...
Broncos 24, Patriots 16 - Kelly Fleming
The Broncos are out for revenge on Brady and Belichick. The Pats haven't faced a top 10 defense yet this year with the exception of the Jets, who they beat by one score. They narrowly (if not by a bad officiating call) beat the Giants, with the 31st defense. Other than that they have faced the following ranks: 11, 17, 19, 22, 23, 26, and 27. If there is one team equipped to stop Brady and Gronk, it is the Broncos. Throw in the fact that their top 3 wide receivers are all injured and their starting RB is out for the season, and the Broncos' defense should be able to clean up. As long as Brock stays composed and doesn't let Belichick use his barely legal play calls to confuse him, the Broncos should come out on top.
Broncos 23, Patriots 20 - Kyle Montgomery
The Patriots have the best offense in the NFL in 2015, but in November, they've come back down to earth a bit. Take this last Monday: the Bills were able to limit Rob Gronkowski to two catches, providing a blueprint for the Broncos defense to do the same. On the other side, Brock Osweiler will have a tall task against a Patriots defense that leads the league in points allowed, but I believe Broncos runners and tight ends can be utilized (as they were last week) to take the pressure off Brock. Broncos 23, Patriots 20, and Ian Henson and I (who will be at the game as fans) go buy Osweiler jerseys at the team store thereafter.