AFC Championship Game: Sealver Siliga To Have Important Role For New England Patriots

By philipalexander
Sealver Siliga
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

There has not been much made of the New England Patriots‘ defense having to stop the Denver Broncos‘ running game, but rest assured that it is very important. Last time these two teams met, Knowshon Moreno tore the Patriots’ defenders up. This time around, it will be up to guys like Sealver Siliga to stop Moreno and the other Broncos running backs.

Siliga has emerged as the best run-stuffing defensive tackle for the Patriots. Ironically enough, he was signed after being waived by John Elway. Siliga was not viewed as much more than a rotational run-stuffer.

That is exactly what Bill Belichick needed at the time, though. Vince Wilfork was out for the season, and the defense was getting gashed by opposing running backs. Siliga was signed to back up Isaac Sopoaga but ended up taking over for the veteran defensive tackle.

And the rest is history. Siliga is officially the starting nose tackle for the Patriots, and he has played a good percentage of snaps over the past few games. Chris Jones and Siliga have combined to form a passable duo at defensive tackle.

We should expect Matt Patricia to go about defending Peyton Manning like he did the last time. Patricia would often call for a nickel and dime defense (which is heavy on defensive backs). Manning saw that Patricia was selling out against the pass, so the veteran quarterback decided to go with a run-heavy approach.

Not much has changed since then. Patricia will likely do the same thing again, so Manning will check into a lot of running plays. Siliga will have to hold his own at the point of attack to force Manning to play right into Patricia’s strategy.

Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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