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Justin Simmons vital to the Broncos success against the Patriots

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For Denver to keep its season and hopes alive, it has to cover tight ends better than it has the last four weeks. Simmons will play a big role in that regard Sunday.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The spotlight has been on Justin Simmons since before the season started.

John Elway ensured that when the Denver Broncos released fan- and locker room-favorite T.J. Ward in early September. Since that moment, Elway has been proven right, but the focus hasn’t left Simmons. With the season on the line Sunday night against the New England Patriots that’s not about to change.

Simmons will play vital role in how successful Denver’s defense is to slowing down Tom Brady and the Patriots (6-2) offense, specifically Rob Gronkowski. The last four weeks don’t offer much hope in that regard. The Broncos (3-5) are the worst team in the NFL at covering tight ends over that time in yards (378), per catch average (16.43), second worst in touchdowns (three) and receptions (23). For Denver to keep its season and hopes alive, that has to get better on Sunday night.

On Friday’s The Afternoon Drive Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro interviewed Simmons on how crucial this game is to the Broncos and what they have to do to end their four-game losing streak.