Why the New England Patriots Will Beat Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos...Badly!
Analysis and Predictions of the Upcoming Game Between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots on Saturday January 14, 2012.
While everyone is clamoring at the great performance Tim Tebow put together this past Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Invesco Field, they are forgetting all about where Tebow and the Broncos will have to play next weekend. The Broncos will have to travel to Foxborough to play against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots!
It is true that Tim Tebow does deserve some credit for actually throwing the ball well, for once, in the Bronco's amazing win this past Sunday, but the reality is it took them until overtime to do it. In addition, they beat a seriously banged up Steeler team without their top running back (torn ACL), their all pro center(serious high ankle sprain), one of their defensive backs (a sickle cell condition that prevented him from playing in high altitudes), and a hobbled quarterback (high ankle sprain). In addition, Pittsburgh lost two top tier defensive lineman early in the game (Keisel and Hampton). They still barely escaped with their lives.
This will not be the case next week against New England and Tom Brady. While it is true that some players for New England are a bit banged up (Mankins and Spikes), the Patriots have a host of players back and ready to go for the game this weekend. It is also true Tom Brady has a left shoulder injury sustained in the Miami game during week 16, but the hype surrounding it was much to do about nothing. Tom Brady came out in week 17 against the Bills and threw for well over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 49-21 victory. This put New England at 13-3 on the season and locked up the #1 seed in the AFC. This will give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This upcoming week against the Denver Broncos will be a rematch of the week 15 game against New England. This game resulted in the Patriots demolishing the Broncos on Denver's home field in a 41-23 route, a place where Brady has not played well in the past. While Denver did come out with a 13-7 first quarter lead and extended it to to a 16-7 lead early the first quarter, the Patriots responded heavily. The Patriots scored 27 unanswered points and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Gillette Stadium is an entirely different story. The Patriots are practically unbeatable there.
Tom Brady threw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, and added 1 rushing touchdown in the week 15 matchup. His counterpart, Tim Tebow, only threw for 194 yards with no touchdowns. That was on his home field no less. This week in New England he won't even get that luxury.
Even worse for the Broncos, their former head coach, Josh McDaniels, will be on the sideline as an assistant coach for New England after agreeing to terms this past week to take over his old job of Offensive Coordinator, once current coordinator Bill O'Brien leaves for Happy Valley to take over the Penn State head coaching position.
If there is one man who can really help scout a team, it's a man who was their head coach right before John Fox, their current coach, took over. In fact, Josh McDaniels even drafted the quarterback that is receiving so much attention; Tim Tebow. This will not bode well for the Broncos as New England already dismantled and exposed them the last time they played without the help of McDaniels who just joined them from his role as Offensive Coordinator in St. Louis.
Although the New England Patriots are the second ranked wost defense in the NFL behind the Packers, they are the #1 seed in the AFC for several reasons. Their defense while giving up plenty of yardage is fairly good at limiting points and is one of the top teams with a large turnover ratio. They have a plethora of timely interceptions this season including several in the end zone. Additionally they have Kyle Arrington who ended up tied for the league lead with 7 interceptions on the season. Despite losing their sack leader Andre Carter to a leg injury, they still have another sack master, Mark Anderson, who also ended up with 10 sacks on the season.
Another reason the Patriots will win is their offense. It is unmatched in the AFC. If there is one thing that is important in the new style of NFL play, it is offense for sure. There are none better than Brady, who drives the offense. This season he passed Dan Marino's longstanding passing mark of 5,084 yards and ended up less than 200 yards behind another man who passed the mark, Drew Brees. Brady also finished the season with 39 touchdown passes falling just 1 shy of becoming just the second player in NFL history with two 40 touchdown seasons in a career. Unlike Tebow, Brady does not need to rely on spirits or prayer to win. He relies on superior quickness and excellent football intelligence that has allowed him to become a three time Super Bowl Champion and break multiple single season records. #12 is arguably the greatest QB of all time and is the reigning NFL MVP.
In addition the Patriots boast the league's best tight end duo in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Both players are extremely dynamic and compliment each other well. The duo ended the season with 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns and unheard of stat line for two tight ends on the same team. Gronkowski is both an excellent blocker and an unstoppable force in the passing game with his wide frame and wide catch radius. Hernandez is a good blocker too and is extremely quick down the seam allowing him to act as a third wide receiver in the passing offense. They both have excellent hands.
The monstrous 6'6" 265 lb. Gronkowski shattered 2 all time NFL records for tight ends this season. He broke the all time season touchdown record formerly held by Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis who were tied for the mark. Their record stood at 13. Gronkowski ended the season with 17 touchdowns. On top of that feat, Gronk ended the season breaking Kellen Winslow's longstanding receiving yardage mark for tight ends, when he finished the season with 1,327 yards besting Winslow's old mark of 1,290.Gronkowski also ended the season with 1 rushing touchdown on a play that was ruled a lateral. His 18 touchdowns broke a franchise record for a single player formerly held by Curtis Martin.
Hernandez, a former teammate of this week's opposing quarterback, Tim Tebow, at the University of Florida was no slouch either. He ended the season with 910 yards and 7 touchdowns. Hernandez provides immense quickness as he is built more like a wide receiver with amazing speed and quickness to get down the field and excellent hands in the end zone. This was especially evident weeks 6 when the Patriots took on a NFC East opponent, the Dallas Cowboys. In the Dallas game, Hernandez caught a touchdown pass from Brady with only 22 seconds remaining to put the Patriots on top 20-16 in a game that New England had been behind in the entire fourth quarter. Hernandez also displayed his great celebration skills as he opened his invisible safe, pulled out his money, and threw it in the air to make it rain!
I haven't even mentioned their wide receivers yet, which include Wes Welker who is arguably the best slot receiver in the history of the game. Welker broke a franchise record for yards this season with over 1,500 breaking the former mark held by Randy Moss. Welker also ended up with the second most receiving yards in the league this year with a mark of 1,569. He also hauled in 122 catches joining Chris Carter and Jerry Rice as the only players to have more than three 120 + catch seasons in a career. Deion Branch is another wide receiver who has both a great rapport with Brady as well as an immense amount of Championship experience when he was a part of 3 New England Super Bowl titles before bolting to Seattle. He has since returned, a bit slower and a bit older, yet just as savvy. Branch's best game this season came against San Diego in week 2 when he hauled in 8 catches for 129 yards. He also had another game with similar stats in week 12 against Philadelphia when he caught 6 balls for 125 yards proving that he can still be a force to be reckoned with in the passing game.
New England also boasts a solid running back core of 6 player that compliment each other well in the run game. New England's backs include Green-Ellis, Ridley, Woodhead, Faulk, Vareen, and the newly acquired fullback, Polite.
Green-Ellis, known as the The Law Firm, is a competent runner who ran for over 1,000 yards in the 2010 season. He also has a nose for the end zone, especially on the goal line. In addition, Green-Ellis has never fumbled in his 4 seasons in the NFL.His best game this season came against the Jets in week 5 when he carried the ball 27 times for 136 yards and 2 scores. Unfortunately he has since been hobbled with a toe injury that saw his statistics drop from last season.
However, despite The Law Firm's solid play, rookie Stevan Ridley has emerged as the go to back over the past several weeks with his explosive down hill running style that has allowed him to average well over 5 yards per carry on the season. In the season finally against Buffalo Ridley rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries.His best game of the season came against Oakland in week 4 when he had 10 carries for 97 yards and 1 touchdown. As the season has worn on, the coaching staff has gained more confidence and has begun to use him more in recent weeks.
Woodhead is a smaller back that boasts a slashing style. He is also an excellent receiver out of the back field, much like the longest tenured Patriot Kevin Faulk who is often used on 3rd downs and in the passing game. Both are often used as change of pace backs as well. While, Vareen has struggled to see the field this season due to a hamstring injury. Polite, the newly signed fullback, has seen time on both offense and defense and has been competent in both areas.
Denver has had a pretty solid defense since Tebow took over at quarterback, but their top safety, Brian Dawkins, has not played in several weeks due to a serious neck injury that may force him to retire. SInce Dawkins has gone out the Broncos defense has struggled despite their top pass rushing tandem in Von Miller and Elvis Dumerville. Champ Baily is a solid NFL corner. However, after Dawkins went out they have struggled to beat lesser opponents and almost missed the playoffs entirely losing to the Kansas City Cheifs in week 17, while ending up with a pedestrian 8-8 record. The Broncos barely made the playoffs however due to the pathetic play of both the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers and won their division with a weak .500 mark.
On offense the Broncos boast only one explosive player in Demaryius Thomas. They also have a competent, albeit older, running back in Willis McGahee. McGahee, Tebow, and Ball ran rough shot over the Patriots defense in week 15 when they rushed for a combined 130 + yards in the first half of play. However, in the end, the Patriots tightened up their defense and won the game handily.
In the end, it is easy to see why the New England Patriots will end the magical run of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are not playing at home - a place that provides extreme home field advantage, they will be without their top safety in Dawkins, the last time these two teams met the Patriots beat them handily, the Patriots have better personnel, the Patriots have one of the best quarterbacks of all time who is extremely playoff tested with three championship rings, the Patriots are hungry after not having won a playoff game since their Super Bowl run in 2008, the Patriots have a far superior coaching staff and they will have the Broncos former head coach on their sideline as an assistant, and the Patriots boast the best home record over the past several seasons in the NFL. Lastly, they will be playing for the loving memory of Myra Kraft who was lost to cancer in the off season. With all of these factors, it will be a big New England victory!
Patriots 41, Broncos 17.
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