Now that the drama regarding the end of Monday night’s controversial game against the Carolina Panthers is starting to fade, it is time to move forward to Week 12 focusing on the New England Patriots and their next opponent, the Denver Broncos.
As all NFL fans know, Peyton Manning and the 9-1 Broncos, who possess the best offense in the league so far, will travel to Foxboro to take on the Patriots whose defense is injury riddled right now particularly in the secondary. The latest injury is to run-stuffing LB Brandon Spikes, who was officially limited in practice today with a knee injury.
While the injuries in the secondary should not be the deciding factor for a potential Pats loss, cold weather certainly could be. Normally, the Patriots’ offense would be able to compensate for a lackluster or beat up defense. Unfortunately for them, the temperature in Foxboro is projected to be in the teens and very windy at speeds of 23 mph.
Since wind and cold temperatures are fully anticipated for the game, it would not be surprising to see this game become less about the quarterbacks and more about the defense and running games. If that were to be the case you could make an argument for the Broncos’ running game being a step above the Pats’ with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball at the front of the pack.
As far as defense goes, the Denver defense is mediocre at best, but the Patriots may actually be worse if half of their secondary ends up limited or out for this game. Alfonzo Dennard has already been ruled out for the game and Aqib Talib is iffy at this point after missing the latter part of Monday night’s game. Also, Kyle Arrington has been nursing a groin injury and was in and out of Monday’s game as well.
If the weather does not turn out to be a factor, Manning should be able to pick his targets as he has a plethora of receivers at his disposal. The Patriots simply do not have enough healthy, competent defensive backs to cover the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and Moreno out of the backfield.
No matter what the conditions are I believe that this game will be a rough one for the Patriots, and they have a legitimate chance of losing their second game in a row on Sunday night.
The only hope for the Patriots this week, in my opinion, is if Peyton and the Denver offense turn the ball over frequently on Sunday. It will certainly be interesting to see if the Patriots can get a win against this very tough opponent on a national stage.