The Denver Broncos are looking to keep their AFC playoff hopes alive.
The New England Patriots are a bad football team that could be moving on from legendary head coach Bill Belichick at the end of the season. How are Patriots fans reacting to the Belichick rumors?
DraftKings Sportsbook likes Denver’s chances on Christmas Eve. The Broncos are a touchdown favorite over New England. The total for Sunday’s game sits at 34, the lowest of the season to date. The over has potential if Denver’s offense can play as it did against the Cleveland Browns, but the under has been the best bet this season.
MHR: What do Pats fans want from Santa Claus this Christmas?
Taylor: A quarterback! A signal caller who can threaten defenses with both their arm and legs would be nice.
Fans have endured the ghost of Cam Newton, a mentally broken Mac Jones, and backup-turned-starter Bailey Zappe since Tom Brady left for Tampa. While the Patriots offense has had plenty of holes over that time, both on the roster and coaching staff, it hasn’t had a quarterback who could elevate his supporting cast. Someone like Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, or Jayden Daniels who has the potential to (but hopefully won’t need to) put the team on their back in critical moments would be a breath of fresh air.
MHR: How are New England fans reacting to the rumors of Bill Belichick being out after this season?
Taylor: There will always be a section of fans who support Bill Belichick due to his past success, and frankly, his defense has consistently been one of the league’s most competitive groups. That said, I think most fans acknowledge that Belichcik’s failings as a general manager and inability to build a competent offense are fair reasons for a reset. A dropoff should of course be expected, as few prepare their team for what to expect each week better than The Hoodie. But in a league dominated by explosive offenses, Belichick’s tunnel vision for defense has turned one of the most revered organizations in sports into a laughing stock.
MHR: What is the plan of attack for the Patriots on Sunday night, offensive and defensively? How does New England get the win?
Taylor: Offensively, the Patriots have had strong first halves before imploding due to turnovers and poor blocking. Bailey Zappe has admitted he needs to be better, but defenses don’t respect New England’s passing game, resulting in the ground game being suffocated by heavy boxes and blitzes. To have any chance in this game, they’ll need to protect the football and make Denver pay for selling out against the run. That said, the team will be without starting left guard Cole Strange, and rotational left tackle Conor McDermott will likely miss time with a concussion, so much easier said than done.
Defensively, the Patriots have been dominant against the run. If they can make the Broncos one-dimensional, they must keep Russell Wilson from making magic and tackle well to contain the underneath passing game. I’d be shocked if Denver reaches the end zone more than a couple of times, as New England’s defense has played some really good football since their bye.
MHR: What is your best bet for Sunday’s game at DraftKings Sportsbook? And what do you think of the current spread?
Taylor: I think 6.5 points makes sense for a home team fighting for their playoff lives, but the Patriots’ defense is a tough, prideful group that won’t go down without a fight. If their offense can punch in a couple of scores, I could see the game coming down to a field goal.
MHR: What are your expectations and predictions for Sunday’s game?
Taylor: I think (and hope) the Broncos win so the Patriots can retain their No. 2 overall draft slot. And with their offense’s inconsistency, I’d be surprised if Russell Wilson, who has never had a passer rating below 110 against New England, can’t pull this one out on his own turf.