On Sunday Night Football, the New England Patriots will travel to Sports Authority Field at MileHigh in Denver, Colorado to take on the Broncos. This Sunday Night Football matchup will kick off at 8:30 PM/ET.
Coming off their bye week, the Patriots (6-2) will look to begin the second half of their season against a much-maligned Broncos squad. Denver has lost 5 of their last 6 contests. Despite Denver’s recent struggles, the Patriots and Tom Brady have had their own issues winning on the road in Denver over the course of his career. Facing familiar foes, expect a hard-fought battle from both sidelines.
Will the Patriots’ offense struggle against Denver’s defense?
Against the Chargers in week 9, the Patriots effective use their running backs in the passing game helped lead New England to over 300 yards passing. Running backs, James White and Rex Burkhead combined for 153 yards on a combined 13 receptions. It’s a good sign for the Patriots that they’re getting their running backs more involved in the offense. The depth of the Patriots’ stable of backs is their greatest asset.
With the Patriots’ wide receiver depth being tested after the loss of Chris Hogan, the Patriots will need to rely on their receiving backs to infuse the passing attack with a plethora of playmakers. Against the Chargers, Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Brandon Cooks received the most combined targets of any receiver or tight end on the Patriots. With Hogan out for the next few weeks, expect Brady to use Cooks, Gronkowski, and his stable of running backs in that order.
So far on the season, Brady has completed 66 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. The Patriots haven’t lost on the road this season and will look for that trend to continue for another week.
What to make of Denver’s defense?
According to NFL Stats, the Broncos have the 2nd ranked defense in terms of yards allowed. What’s bizarre about Denver’s efficiency on defense is the number of points they’ve allowed. While they rank 2nd in yards allowed, they rank 25th in points allowed. Denver’s opponents might struggle to move the ball, but what yards they do gain their opponents convert into points.
One way to explain this disparity is Denver’s pitiful offense. According to NFL Stats, the Broncos have the 22nd ranked offense in terms of points scored. Denver’s inability to move the ball and score is helping their opponents with field position and offensive opportunities.
The biggest reason, however, for why Denver’s opponents are scoring so many points against this elite defense: turnovers. Denver is minus 12 in the turnover department. According to NFL Stats, Denver comes in a tie for dead last with the Browns. If Denver has any hope of beating the Patriots on Sunday Night Football, then Denver will need to protect the ball better and win the turnover battle.
Broncos vs Patriots Betting Lines
The Patriots have rarely not struggled in Denver. It’s a hard place to play for any opponent, and even Brady isn’t immune to MileHigh’s altitudinal effects. The Patriots, however, play well coming off their bye weeks, and with the extra week to prepare for this opponent expect the Patriots’ offense to attack Denver defense with short passes to their running backs. The Broncos have switched to Brock Osweiler, and while he’s had success in the past against the Patriots, he’s not much of an upgrade over Trevor Siemian. Expect the Patriots to control this game from start to finish.
Play: Patriots -7.5 @ BetOnline.ag