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  1. #1
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    Patriots and Broncos -- How do they match up??

    Here's my analysis of how the Patriots and Broncos match up. Discuss the analysis of others or provide your own.

    Everyone knows what a quality team the Patriots have been the past two years. They have won the last two super bowls and two years before that, they won another. Now, New England started the year slowly against a good number of decent teams having been riddled with injuries. Now they face a Broncos team that beat them earlier, but with much healthier players this time around.

    The Patriots seemed to show incredible defensive improvement in the second half of the year after poor showing throughout the first half. Still, New England did play a lot of weak offenses over the second half of the year and so we can't put too much stock into their performance.

    New England has a fantastic run defense and Denver has a fantastic run offense, so that should be an interesting matchup. A team that gained 4.7 yards per carry facing a team that allowed 3.5 yards per carry should be interesting. The Patriots are also likely improved quite a bit at defending the pass. They are ranked fourth in the lowest completion percentage allowed, but are ranked 30th in yards given up per passing attempt. This shows that they have had success stalling a lot of drives this year, but have also given up tons of big plays. The thing is that a lot of the front seven is more healthy that it was earlier in the year and that means that they should be able to get more pressure. They won't quite be as suseptible to the big play, but it's hard to ignore that passing yards allowed per attempt stat. That sucker just screams vulnerable. And while Denver doesn't pass it a lot, they do have a pretty decent passing game and I have to think that Denver will be able to exploit that a bit. When I try to decide if Denver will have any success against that good New England runn defense, I look back at the year that Denver has had running the ball, but also against some of the teams that they have run against. Denver has faced some excellent run defenses this year and has still excelled running the ball. I mean, they've faced San Diego twice, Kansas City twice, Dallas, Jacksonville (not as good against the run as you'd think, but still good), Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia (Don't forget that they held LT to almost no yards before we got to them and scorched them). So I can't help but think that New England won't be able to stop the run game without throwing a couple of safeties down. And if they do that, Denver has the WRs to beat their corners. Of course, Rod Smith has had a great year and while Ashlie Lelie has not had a superb year, his skills are well suited to take advantage of New England's weakness against the deep ball. Of course, Ashlie will need to do more than just stretch the defense and the Broncos success in the passing game will hinge on his ability to get some of the tough yards in the underneath routes. What also can't be overlooked is that while Denver doesn't have any great third wide reciever, they do have a pretty good set of tight ends with Jeb Putzier and Stephen Alexander. I would expect the Broncos to be able to pass the ball with no problem if New England has to stack the box to slow down the running game. Combine this with the fact that Denver has a pretty good offensive line that is underrated in pass-blocking and you have a offensive matchup that favors Denver a bit. Of course, it won't be a cakewalk, but I would expect for Denver to put some points on the board.


    Now, New England's strength on offense is their passing game. There is no doubt about this. Denver's strength on defense is against the pass (Despite the number of yards allowed per game). Denver ranks third in lowest completion percentage allowed and fourth in yards allowed per attempt. They also rank sixth in most interceptions.

    Last time these two teams met, Denver was able to get pressure all day. I can't help but think that New England will find a way to protect Brady better this time around, but Denver's secondary is just fantastic. I wouldn't take anybody else's secondary over ours (Though, we there are a few teams with better sets of safeties). For one thing they are young. But they have good technique, tackle well, are incredibly fast and are confident. I don't care that our young corners are rookies, they know how to play. Denver Scored big time with them. I'll give the edge to Brady in this game, but not by tons. Denver will be able to make a good number of stops with our great tackling and fast young corners that are hard to beat.

    As for the Patriots run game, this is the weakest point of the Patriots team. Even if Dillon is healthy, I just don't see the Patriots running the ball with any success. I just have no respect for the Patriots running game at all.

    They will have to rely on a lot of short passes to compensate and our corners are just superb at closing and tackling on those short passes even if they allow a cushion, so the Patriots will likely have to face a lot of long yardage third down situations. Now, with them having Brady, I would expect them to get some of those third down conversions, but having to convert on long yardage third downs would not be a good situation for the Patriots offense.

    Any way that I try to analyze it, I see the Patriots at a disadvantage.

    Well, except that they have a good history of beating the odds and winning the superbowl in recent years.
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  2. #2
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    chargers had a very good run defense and we ran pretty well against them

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkPanda
    chargers had a very good run defense and we ran pretty well against them
    Yeah, that's what I meant. We've been able to conjure up a running game against a lot of good run defenses. The Chargers are a good example.
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  4. #4
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    Great analysis as usual....
    Thanks, Reid!

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  5. #5
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    The concerns about the Bronco's D vs the Patriots O and other concerns about the Patriots D vs the Denver O will be decided very quickly in this game. By the end of the 1st quarter I see both teams have 2-3 posessions and at that time, no matter what the score, we should all know what the outcome of the game will be. IMO, whichever team takes control early wins the game. Now, that being said, should the game somehow be tight with 2 minutes to go in the game, since I don't know much about you FG team and success throughout the season, the combination of Brady as the set up man and Venitieri as the best 'pressure kicker' in football, I'll take the Patriots.

    To continue this point, can someone tell me a bit about your FG kicker such as range and whether or not pressure has caused him to faulter in the past.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by husky71
    To continue this point, can someone tell me a bit about your FG kicker such as range and whether or not pressure has caused him to faulter in the past.
    Seriously? Jason Elam? Really? You need more?

    j/k...

    Elam's famous for his record-tying 63 yard FG a few years back... the truth is that he's lost a little range due to age, and the whole broken-back thing (Yes, litterally). I put his max range at 55 yds though... and about 65-70% accurate at that range.

    Nobody who knows Elam has ever questioned his ability to be clutch, though... Not that I know of. He just never had to dig his team out at the end of a SB... less publicity, you see...
    Thanks, Reid!

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  7. #7
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    Addendum- Elam's long for the year is 51 yds... but he's only 1/4 on kicks over 50 this year... he's 69% from 40-49 yds though.
    Thanks, Reid!

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by husky71
    To continue this point, can someone tell me a bit about your FG kicker such as range and whether or not pressure has caused him to faulter in the past.
    More Elam:

    With all due respect to Vinatieri (I think he's an exceptional kicker), but Jason Elam has been about as good as it gets over the course of his career.

    Here are his details:
    http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.ph...&contentID=713

    Career Comparison - Vinatieri (160 games) vs. Elam (204 games)
    Code:
    
    P   1-19  20-29     30-39     40-49     50+      Total    Lng  Blk  %
     
    V   6-6  103-107   76-92     70-99      8-17  263-321  57    3  81.9 
    E   4-4  114-120 105-115   83-133  35-58  341-430  63  10  79.3 
    
    PAT's
    V  367-374 98.1
    E  534-537 99.4 
    

    The glaring number there is the 50+ yard attempts and goals. Not only has Jason been relatively successful from that distance the high number of attempts indicates the coaches' confidence in Elam and their willingness to send him in.

    The kicking game gives no team a distinct advantage for this game... imo.
    Winter is Coming!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mount-n-Groan
    More Elam:

    With all due respect to Vinatieri (I think he's an exceptional kicker), but Jason Elam has been about as good as it gets over the course of his career.

    Here are his details:
    http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.ph...&contentID=713

    Career Comparison - Vinatieri (160 games) vs. Elam (204 games)
    Code:
    
    P   1-19  20-29     30-39     40-49     50+      Total    Lng  Blk  %
     
    V   6-6  103-107   76-92     70-99      8-17  263-321  57    3  81.9 
    E   4-4  114-120 105-115   83-133  35-58  341-430  63  10  79.3 
    
    PAT's
    V  367-374 98.1
    E  534-537 99.4 
    

    The glaring number there is the 50+ yard attempts and goals. Not only has Jason been relatively successful from that distance the high number of attempts indicates the coaches' confidence in Elam and their willingness to send him in.

    The kicking game gives no team a distinct advantage for this game... imo.
    Just had to go and show me up, huh? j/k
    Thanks, Reid!

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordtrychon
    Just had to go and show me up, huh? j/k
    I was working on a reply, but then got sidetracked. I wasn't going to let all my hard work go to waste though.

    Not trying to show you up... just giving a Bronco brother some support!!! After all you replied first.

    Winter is Coming!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimedes Owl
    Denver's strength on defense is against the pass (Despite the number of yards allowed per game).
    Bill Belichick was just mentioning this stat on his weekly radio broadcast from Foxboro. He defended those high passing numbers as coming from teams who had fallen behind and were trying to get back into the game. I think he referred to the passing yards as "trash yards".

    Belichick respects Shanahan a great deal and is anticipating getting new looks from the Bronco's offense to try to confuse the Pats defense. It should be a great game, I can't wait until saturday !

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampFoot
    Bill Belichick was just mentioning this stat on his weekly radio broadcast from Foxboro. He defended those high passing numbers as coming from teams who had fallen behind and were trying to get back into the game. I think he referred to the passing yards as "trash yards".

    Belichick respects Shanahan a great deal and is anticipating getting new looks from the Bronco's offense to try to confuse the Pats defense. It should be a great game, I can't wait until saturday !
    Nice response... and on your first post, too! Welcome to the boards, and hope to hear more REASONABLE discussion (We've been invaded by trolls in the smack forum, you know). Good to have you here!
    Thanks, Reid!

    Click on my sig to read JetRazor's and my story. Or PM me with any questions.

  13. #13
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    to me, possibly the biggest factor in this game will be which teams pair of rookies responds best. of course all us bronco fans are well aware of the seasons that fox and dwill had, but playoffs are another animal. will they be able to keep their emotions in check? one blown coverage due to emotions could end up being the difference. i dont think the pats have a chance of winning this game on the ground. they will have to get yards and points through the air. if these two young guns can come up with some big plays we should be able to come out on top.

    on the other side, the pats have two rookies on their oline. yes they have had one playoff game now, but that was at home. it will be interesting to see how they hold up. we have a veteran defensive line, but depend on our rotation to keep everyone fresh. brady likes to run no huddle but might not be able to due to crowd noise. might be too much to expect the rookies to deal with pryce, warren and the crowd noise without huddling. if one or both cant handle the situation, our young cb's will be inconsequential. brady is a great qb, and can make time by moving in the pocket, but if there is no pocket brady isnt going to beat anyone with his legs.

    im sure bellichick knows he has alot of inexperience on his line and i expect him to try and protect them. but if he has to leave a back or te (or two) in to block, that allows coyer to throw lynch and our speedy backers at brady from everywhere. i like our corners against their wideouts, so if they are going to use a max protection, i hope coyer keeps blitzing the house, mixed in with a few 9 man zones to keep brady guessing.

    i feel that if the broncos go out and execute they should be able to win this game.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbronc
    to me, possibly the biggest factor in this game will be which teams pair of rookies responds best. of course all us bronco fans are well aware of the seasons that fox and dwill had, but playoffs are another animal. will they be able to keep their emotions in check? one blown coverage due to emotions could end up being the difference. i dont think the pats have a chance of winning this game on the ground. they will have to get yards and points through the air. if these two young guns can come up with some big plays we should be able to come out on top.

    on the other side, the pats have two rookies on their oline. yes they have had one playoff game now, but that was at home. it will be interesting to see how they hold up. we have a veteran defensive line, but depend on our rotation to keep everyone fresh. brady likes to run no huddle but might not be able to due to crowd noise. might be too much to expect the rookies to deal with pryce, warren and the crowd noise without huddling. if one or both cant handle the situation, our young cb's will be inconsequential. brady is a great qb, and can make time by moving in the pocket, but if there is no pocket brady isnt going to beat anyone with his legs.

    im sure bellichick knows he has alot of inexperience on his line and i expect him to try and protect them. but if he has to leave a back or te (or two) in to block, that allows coyer to throw lynch and our speedy backers at brady from everywhere. i like our corners against their wideouts, so if they are going to use a max protection, i hope coyer keeps blitzing the house, mixed in with a few 9 man zones to keep brady guessing.

    i feel that if the broncos go out and execute they should be able to win this game.
    So you expect us to go Philly on them.

    I don't know about that. For one thing, I've never really thought of New England as a max-protection scheme. I would think of it as more likely that they run some three reciever sets on us and hope for their offensive line to do a decent job with protection. Really, Denver's D line hasn't gotten consistent pressure this year. But we have gotten some pressure. That's why some teams like Washington went to a max protection scheme. I guess if New England went to a lot of max protection on us, I wouldn't be surprised completely, because we did get good pressure last time, but I still wouldn't count on it happening.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordtrychon
    Nobody who knows Elam has ever questioned his ability to be clutch, though... Not that I know of. He just never had to dig his team out at the end of a SB... less publicity, you see...
    Yep. The only time I've ever seen Elam miss a game-winner, he was kicking from 58 yards and it was snowing.
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