1. The Broncos Have no Pass Defense
Say what you will, but Denver's defense against the pass has not only been bad, it's been horrendous. The Broncos are 32nd in the league allowing a whopping 255 yards per game. Though the plays that have burned the Broncos aren't part of the Patriots repertoire yet, expect the Pats to try to exploit this part of the Broncos defense.
2. Matt Cassel Only Needs To Manage The Game
Critics call for Matt Cassel to be more of the Tom Brady style passing quarterback to win the game on Monday night. In this writer's opinion, Cassel only needs to manage the game to win. Sure a long bomb to Randy Moss may help, and Cassel trails most quarterbacks in the NFL at making those plays, but the reality is that the team only wants Cassel to be efficient. Whatever Chris Carter may say about Cassel, the kid can play, he just needs to get rid of the ball quicker.
3. The Offensive Line Will Provide The Blocking
Sure the Patriots offensive line has take it's share of heart this year for not protection Matt Cassel, But Cassel needs to learn to throw the ball away. Denver hasn't been able to apply pressure on the QB. Denver has managed just 11 sacks on the year, while Cassel has given up a woeful 20 sacks so far. Expect more play action and emphasis on the running game. Denver's 30th ranked defense is just what the doctor ordered, and will allow the Pats to control the clock in a must win scenario.
4. Dre Bly Will Kill The Broncos In Pass Defense
It's a widely known fact that Denver defender Dre Bly has struggled as a pass defender in 2008. Heralded as another positive piece of the puzzle in 2007, Bly has given up huge plays in the Broncos losses in 2008. Considering Randy Moss will draw coverage from Champ Bailey for most of the night, the patriots can get ahead of the count by trying to pick on Bly.
5. Belichick's Rebound Factor
It doesn't matter that Mike Shanahan has won 9 of his last 12 contests against New England as a head coach. Nor does it matter that Belichick is 2-5 vs the Broncos as a head coach in New England, and even worse 2-9 overall. What matters is that Belichick knows how to right the ship after an embarrassing loss. Expect the Patriots to have a game plan to eliminate the deep pass, and to shore up their run defense to force the Broncos to win the battle of attrition on the ground.