Three Simple Things the Denver Broncos Must Do to Beat the Patriots
From what I can tell, there aren't many people outside of Bronco Nation that give the Broncos much of a chance to win the AFC Championship. But, if the Denver Broncos can do three simple things, they will be on their way to Super Bowl 50.
Nobody is really surprised that the New England Patriots are one game away from the Super Bowl. For one thing, they are the defending champions, and were on track to be the #1 seed in the playoffs until stumbling late in the season. They really are a good team.
The Denver Broncos are making their second appearance in three years in the conference championship under the leadership of Peyton Manning. The Broncos were victorious in the game two years ago when they beat the Patriots in Denver 26-16.
So much of the talk is about Brady vs Manning, but, that's really not where this game is going to be won or lost. You have two teams who have future hall of fame quarterbacks, plenty of play makers on offense, and a stingy defense. The coaching edge would have to go to Bill Belichick, but he has shown on more than one occasion that he is not infallible.
This game comes down to fundamentals, and which team can execute them most efficiently. If the Broncos want to get to the Super Bowl and win one for Peyton, there are three simple things they must do.
The New England offense can be virtually unstoppable, especially with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman both in the line up. The Patriots are going to move the ball, and they are going to score point. What the Bronco defenders have to do is make tackles at the point of the catch, and not let five yard gains become 10 and 15 yard gains because of poor tackling. The Patriots won't run the ball much, but when they do, the Broncos have to make sure that they have zero success.
This seems so basic and fundamental, but it's really the truth. So many things hinge on the offensive line's ability to protect the quarterback, and to establish a running game against the Patriots. If Manning has time to throw the football, he will be effective. Besides that, quarterback sacks are absolute drive killers.
If the Broncos can run the ball effectively, they can win the time of possession battle, which they have to do. The Patriots are going to score points. You just have to know it. The more possessions they get, the more points they are going to score. By controlling the clock, the Broncos will have a better chance of staying close to the Patriots, and giving themselves a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.
#3 PROTECT THE BALL
The Broncos played a clean game against the Steelers. Pittsburgh's lone turnover may have cost them the game. The same may be true this week. Take care of the football and you have an excellent chance to win the game. But if the Broncos turn it over and give the Patriots extra possessions and easy scores, it's going to be very difficult to over come. This is not a Bronco offense built to score 35 points.
The Patriots don't turn the ball over often. They only had 14 turnovers all season, fewest in the NFL, and so the opportunistic Denver defense can't count on some of those plays that led to some of the Bronco wins. Meanwhile, only two teams gave the ball away more than the Broncos this season.
Of course, I have to mention one other small detail. The receivers have to CATCH THE FOOTBALL!
There's no question, the Broncos have an uphill climb to get to the Super Bowl. But, I remind you. This is a very good football team, and this defense is the best they have had in the Peyton Manning era. Both of these teams are good enough to go to - and win the Super Bowl. But, only one team can advance, and in this case, it's going to be the team that wants it the most.
Before the season started, I said the Broncos would play in Super Bowl 50. I still believe!