What the Patriots have to do on Sunday

The New England Patriots are headed to face one of the best running teams in the NFL. The Denver Broncos are ranked number two, just behind the Patriots last opponent, number one ranked Atlanta Falcons. Broncos Update staffers share a view from behind enemy lines as to what the Patriots need to do if they want to beat the Broncos. Get inside for the three keys to a Patriot's win.

What the Patriots have to do on Sunday
An Insiders perspective from Denver.
By Michael John Schon, BroncosUpdate.com

Three things the Patriots have to do on Sunday from the Denver perspective:

1) Stop the Run

For the New England Patriots to have any measurable success they must first contain the Broncos rushing game, forcing Denver to rely solely on the arm of Jake Plummer. While it may be difficult to shut down the AFCs number one ground attack, its not impossible.

It's important to use a constant rotation of defensive lineman to offset the thin air at Mile High. The Broncos thrive on wearing down their opponents and the longer that Jake and Co. are on field, the harder it will be for New England to stay fresh.

2) Limit the Turnovers

Unlike past years the Broncos now find themselves on the positive side of the turnover ratio at +6. They worked hard over the off-season on creating turnovers, closing in on pass coverage and stripping the ball. Through the first five games of the 2005 season that extra work has apparently paid off.

On the flip side, the Patriots have gone from one of the leagues best to one of the worst in turnovers. Their takeaway ratio of -6 has dropped them into 28th place in the NFL and you can expect the Broncos to try and exploit this at every opportunity. It's essential that New England hold onto the ball and control the time of possession.

The Broncos recent success is a direct result of capitalizing on their opponent's mistakes. Minimize the mistakes and you limit the home team from taking control of the tempo. Force Denver to beat you don't give them the opportunity.

3) Take away the 12th Man

Invesco Field can be a horrendous place to play for an opposing team. Coming in as the Defending World Champions only intensifies the matchup.

Offensively the Broncos will use the crowd and a hard count by Plummer to try and draw the opposition offside while defensively trying to minimize Brady's communications prior the snap. Both have worked effectively in the past and this Sunday should be no exception.

Understanding this, the Patriots need to take the crowd out of the game early. First drive possession is crucial in establishing the tempo of the game and the ability to capitalize quickly will remove any 12th man Bronco advantage.

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