Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Broncos-Patriots Preview & week 5 picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 9, 2009

CORRECTION Broncos Draft Football Before we get into this matchup, take a good look at the photo.  That is what the Broncos will be wearing on Sunday: 1960 throwback uniforms.  This has to be without question one of the ugliest jerseys in the history of sports, not to mention the vertical striped socks (photo below).  The socks were so hideous at the time that there was a huge ceremony to burn them all (well most of them, a pair does hang in the Pro Football Hall of Fame).  This ensemble, the original uniform of the Broncos, was literally all the Broncos could get at the time.  They were second hand because the owner at the time couldn’t afford anything else.  Needless to say, they were scrapped very quickly for the orange the blue the team has worn for a vast majority of their history.  A large part of me says it will actually be very fun to see the broncos in action wearing these uniforms on Sunday.  Just don’t try to adjust your TV set when you see them.  The Patriots will also be wearing throwback uniforms featuring Pat Patriot circa 1963 (In their case I much prefer the classic uniform to their current one).  Their the same ones (except an away version) that they wore in week one against the Bills.

Now, as for the game, this should be a great one.  It will be even better now that the forecast has greatly improved over the past 24 hours.  Yesterday they were calling for temperatures in the 20s and snow.  Now, the forecast calls for temps in the 50s and sunny skies (but don’t get too excited just yet, this is Colorado, and that means the forecast will likely change again).  At any rate, what we have here is a good matchup that is very compelling because you have student against mentor.  Josh McDaniels had great success as offensive coordinator of the Patriots under Bill Belichick, and now is he the head man of the Broncos.  Many of Belichick’s former assistants have gone on to head coaching positions, although it’s a stretch to say any of them have had real success.  McDaniels has started out his career 4-0 after a tumultuous offseason in which he completely revamped the team on both sides of the ball.  Belichick of course has a very proven track record of success, winning three Super Bowls with New England as well as numerous division titles.  It will be interesting to see if either side has an advantage in terms of knowing the other, because McDaniels and Belichick worked together for eight seasons, with McDaniels serving as an assistant on both sides of the ball at various times during his tenure.  It seems clear that McDaniels has modeled a lot of what he does after Belichick, so many ways the philosophies of the two coaches are similar.  Regardless, the mere fact that these two are coaching against each other will make for great theatre.

imagesThe biggest thing I’m curious to see in this game is how Denver’s defense performs against the New England offense.  the Patriots offense did suffer a disastrous blow this week with news that Fred Taylor will be sidelined due to right ankle surgery.  The good news for New England is they don’t expect it to be season ending, but they will definitely not have him available for this game.  That means they will rely on the trio of Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris.  Morris did torch the Broncos for 138 yards by halftime last year, but that was against a completely different defensive unit.  In any case, Taylor has been the Patriots’ best runner by far in the first four games, and missing him could be bad news against a Denver unit that has been extremely stingy against the run.  The Broncos held Dallas to 78 yards rushing last week after they had gone for 200 in each of the previous two games, so indications are that the Broncos have an advantage against the run in this game with the Patriots beat up.  The key here though could end up being the Patriots pass offense.  Tom Brady is definitely looking more comfortable in the pocket and has shown he can take hits when necessary.  He is also developing more of a chemistry with Randy Moss again and Wes Welker is back to help stretch the field as well.  The Broncos have gotten pressure on opposing QBs so far this year, so the key could be how much pressure they can get on Brady, especially with Elvis Dumervil.  If they can get pressure on Brady, it could play into the hands of Denver’s improved secondary.  If not, then it could be real fun to watch Moss against Champ Bailey, while the rest of the secondary tries to contain Welker and Benjamin Watson.

The Broncos offense hasn’t been at all flashy, but they will need to put up some points to help take some pressure off the defense.  The Patriots defense has been quietly effective the last two weeks against good offenses in Atlanta and Baltimore, so it could be a challenge for the Broncos to get some points on the board.  Correll Buckhalter is out with an ankle injury, so it will be up to rookie Knowshon Moreno to carry the load in the running game.   Buckhalter’s absence will also be felt in the receiving game, as he has been a favorite weapon out of the backfield for Kyle Orton.  A key for Denver offensively for this game as well as the rest of the season will be getting more production in the passing game.  Brandon Marshall stepped up big last week, but the Broncos will also need Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley, who missed the last two games due to injury, to produce as well.  The Broncos may also need a big game from former Patriot Daniel Graham, who has emerged as a reliable target for Kyle Orton in the early going.

This is another big test for the Broncos, certainly their toughest of the season to this point without question.  The Patriots are 3-1, and when you look at their team it’s easy to wonder why anyone is saying there are problems up there.  It is interesting to note that the Broncos are the only team in the NFL with a winning record against the Patriots since 2001 (5-2).  However the Patriots blasted Denver last year 41-7.  The national folks certainly are expecting a good one Sunday, as CBS is sending its top crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to do the game.    This is a difficult one to pick, because the Patriots seem to be their usual selves, and while the Broncos have played so well so far they have done it against non-elite competition (no disrespect intended to the Cowboys, who I don’t think are a playoff team right now).  The Mile High crowd will be rocking, and the Broncos will have most of their famous alumni present as they are honoring their 50th anniversary team.  The Patriots are always tough on the road, so something has to give.

Who to pick???

thinking…..

thinking….

thinking…..

(after agonizing and hair pulling)…what the hell, I’ll take the Broncos to get it done at home.  I think the Broncos defense will come up with a huge play to swing a tight game in the fourth quarter.  That is provided the Broncos don’t play at a level matching the 1960 team whose jerseys they will be wearing.

The Pick: Broncos 21 Patriots 17

Now to the rest of the picks:

Last week: 11-3 Season: 47-15.  Honestly I should just quit while I am ahead.

– Bills over Browns: Needless to say this is not the game of the week.  I take the Bills mainly because they are at home.  Both teams have been major disappointments.

– Ravens over Bengals: The Ravens are out for blood after a loss last week in New England.  Cincinnati has a talented offense, but I don’t like their odds on the road against the Ravens D.  Baltimore’s offense should also rebound at home in this one.

– Steelers over Lions: Pittsburgh still doesn’t look entirely right, especially on defense, but they have found their running game.  That will be enough against Detroit, although this game will be competitive.  It will be a de facto home game for the Steelers with more terrible towels in the seats than Lions fans.

– Cardinals over Texans: Arizona has had a bye week to regroup, and their offense should have a field day against a Houston defense that has not really stopped anyone yet.  Houston might score enough to keep up and make this entertaining, but in the end the Cards will prevail at home.

– Jaguars over Seahawks.  Jacksonville really showed something last week against the Titans, dominating the action on both sides of the ball.  The way Seattle has underperformed and is once again battling injury, I like the Jags in a road mini upset here.  Matt Hasselbeck may be back and Seattle needs him.  In any case my pick of the Seahawks to win the NFC West is looking really stupid right now.

– Cowboys over Chiefs: I am shocked that national people are picking the upset here (I have seen more than one pick for KC).  I know the Cowboys haven’t been great, but they are better than the Chiefs.  Arrowhead is no help when the home team is this poor.

– Giants over Raiders: This is the blowout of the week.  Even if Eli Manning is hobbling it won’t matter.  The Raiders are such a mess that a trip east is the last thing they need.  The Giants continue to prove that people (including me) underestimate them in preseason every year.

– Eagles over Buccaneers: Another blowout of the week.  McNabb and Westbrook are back for Philly, and the Bucs are still a big mess in absolutely every way.  If the Phillies end up losing to the Rockies in the playoffs, this will be a good way for Philadelphians to feel better.

– Panthers over Redskins: two disappointing teams go head to head.  The Redskins are fortunate to have ugly wins against the Rams and Buccaneers, while Carolina is still looking for a win.  They should be able to get it at home, and maybe save Jake Delhomme’s job for another week.

– Vikings over Rams: Another blowout, this time for the visiting team.  The Rams might just be the worst team in the league, while the Vikings bring Adrian Peterson, a great offensive line, and great defensive front seven, and oh yeah that Favre guy.

– 49ers over Falcons: This should be entertaining.  I should point out I picked the Niners to win the west LAST YEAR, and then naturally underestimated them this season.  I still think Atlanta will be a playoff factor in the NFC, but the Niners have mojo right now and the home field will sway them in this one.

– Colts over Titans: These are two teams going in opposite directions.  The Titans are desperate for a win, and they’ll have a Sunday night crowd behind them, but Peyton Manning is not going to feel sorry for Jeff Fisher and company.  The Colts smell blood in the division, and that’s usually bad news for opponents.

– Jets over Dolphins: Miami is a home in the Monday nighter, and thus I am tempted to say the Wildcat will carry the day, but I think the Jets have something to prove after losing on the road last week.  Braylon Edwards makes his debut after being acquired in trade from Cleveland, and I think he will make an impact in new surroundings.

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2 Responses to “Broncos-Patriots Preview & week 5 picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    I don’t have your email address so I just thought I’d stop by and [expletives deleted] say contratulations on the win. My dog has broken ribs, my tv has a busted screen, my wife left, my foot is broken, my hand is broken, but it was good game. LOL…disappointed, my dog got kisses, my wife got kisses, my TV is okay, but my hand is hurting a little, as is my foot, but Cutler who?

  2. kdeazy said

    that was fairly close with the guess of the score

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