When fans of the Patriots think of Denver, bad memories usually pop up. Maybe it’s Champ Bailey and the 2005 Broncos handing TB12 his first postseason loss, or even the heartbreaking AFC Championship losses of 2013 and 2015 respectively. The Patriots will try to emerge victorious in Denver when they take on Von Miller and his Broncos team tonight on Sunday Night Football.
Here are a few things to consider going into tonight’s game.
1. Tom Brady’s history against the Broncos
Tom Brady is the GOAT. There is no way to dispute that claim, as Brady has performed remarkably for the entirety of his 18-year career. However, a slight blemish in Brady’s legacy could be his record against the Broncos. TB12 is 7-9 against the Broncos in 16 career games, with 7 losses coming in Denver (The Broncos are the only NFL team that Brady has a losing record against). Last year, the Patriots were able to win in Denver, escaping the Mile High city, with a 16-3 victory, but that was when the Denver defense was performing well. It will be interesting to see how Brady performs against a struggling Broncos defense.
2. The matchup between the Patriots’ offensive line vs Denver’s defense
The New England offensive line struggled mightily in the opening part of the season, allowing Brady to be crushed regularly. The Patriots may have been able to improve their offensive line play, but they face a tall task against Von Miller and the vaunted Denver pass rush. Denver’s defense has not played up to the mark recently, and facing an opponent who they’ve dominated in recent occasions may motivate them to play much better. The Patriot offensive line will need to keep Brady upright for them to stand any chance of winning.
3. How will the Patriots defense play against an anemic Broncos offense?
Just like the offensive line, the Patriots’ defense has been overcoming its shortcomings from the beginning of the season, with their statement performance coming in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons. On the other hand, Denver’s offense appears to have regressed from the beginning of the season, with their head coach Vance Joseph opting to switch from Trevor Siemian to Brock Osweiler at QB. Osweiller’s first start of the year was not pretty, as the Broncos got routed by 28 points against the mighty Eagles. However, the Patriots cannot afford to overlook their opponents, as Denver still has Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on either side of the field. Another interesting fact to note is that Osweiler’s first win as a starter occurred against the Patriots during a SNF matchup in 2015. Fortunately for Patriot fans, he has struggled mightily against New England in his last two outings against them.
Taking these factors into consideration, I still expect the Patriots to pull out a win in Denver, as I believe that TB12 can take advantage of a struggling Denver unit. Also, the Patriots improving pass defense should be able to stifle Brock Osweiler.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Broncos 10