After one of the most memorable performances in recent playoff memory, the Denver Broncos did the unthinkable by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime Sunday, setting the stage for a showdown in Foxborough Stadium against the formidable New England Patriots.
The Broncos will enter this contest with a ground attack that seemingly can't be stopped, supported by Tim Tebow and his deceptively effective passing attack that combines mobility, and accurate situational passing; and they will feature this offense—particularly the passing game—against the worst passing defense in the league.
Preview: Similarly to the Saints and Packers, the New England Patriots can more than make up for their deficiencies on defense with an offensive attack led by QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski and slot WR Wes Welker—a core unit that can seemingly score at will, no matter how far behind they may be.
This may wind up being the difference maker.
The Denver Broncos, however, are no longer a team to be taken lightly, but to be honest, when you compare them to the capabilities of the New England Patriots, there seems to be a very big gap separating the two teams.
This is not to say the Broncos don't have a chance, just that their chances may no be very good.
In order for this Broncos team to pull another upset, they will have to do far more than just shut down an offense, they will have to account for a series of offensive threats that are a constant on the field. Unlike facing the Steelers, the Patriots feature more than just Welker and Gronkowski.
For the Patriots, they MUST find a way to not only contain the exciting Tebow, but they also must do so while trying to contain the passing attack that is offered by Denver—a task that is not easily accomplished.
The quickest path to achieving this feat is to simply jump out on top of Denver early, and force this team to beat the Patriots inside a constant deficit.
Both teams will clearly have their work cut out for them.
Prediction: While the world watched the Broncos send a shocking statement like an earthquake felt around the world, it is still very hard to ignore the already established capabilities of their next opponent in New England.
The Patriots are known for being a very methodical, hardened core of veterans; often executing and striking in an assassin like fashion when you least expect it.
The Patriots seemed as if they were dead in the water in their season finale after the Bills jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead—the Bills lost 49-21...the difference between a veteran playoff team and an upstart playoff team.
In addition, the last time these two teams met was in Week 15 where Tom Brady passed for 320 yards, while Tim Tebow failed to even reach 100 passing yards in route to a 41-23 route.
I love the dream story being built in Denver right now, and the Broncos fans have plenty to be happy and proud about, but in the end, the Patriots should show themselves to be a bit too much for the upstart Broncos.
Final: Patriots 34 - Broncos 14