by Dan Zeigarnik, Patriots Daily Staff
October 10, 2009
The Patriots take their show on the road this week and face their fifth straight undefeated opponent. Here are the top 5 matchups for this week:
1) Belichick vs. McDaniels
This week’s talk radio conversations about this matchup can be summarized by this immortal “I know that you know that I know” scene from the Princess Bride. As everyone knows, Josh McDaniels was the Patriots offensive guru the last couple of years. However, as Bill Belichick always says, the team that executes the plays on the field and makes those split second adjustments will win the game. The Patriots are better coached by the virtue of being under Belichick’s tutelage for years and therefore are in a better position to make those plays once the whistle blows.
2) Pats O-line vs. the Rush
So far Denver’s defense has been surprisingly good, at least on paper. It’s easy to look impressive when your opponents are the awful Browns and Raiders, a disgruntled and sub-par Cowboys team, and a decent Bengals team that should have won. Despite this, Broncos defensive pressing ability should not be overlooked. Elvis Dumervil will continue to grow his impressive sack totals. However, the Patriots are up to the challenge as Tom Brady is one of the best at moving around in the pocket and it seems like he got his mojo back against a great Ravens team.
3) Patriots Receivers vs. Broncos Secondary
Champ Bailey is widely considered the best corner in the league and will be matched up in man coverage against Randy. Moss will be up to the challenge and play decently, but wont burn the Broncos like he was able to do against the Falcons. The game will hinge on how well the other Pats receivers will adjust to Denver’s rush packages. If guys like Welker and Edelman can change their routes in time to get into open space, it will wreak havoc on Denver’s defensive schemes.
4) Kyle Orton vs. the Patriots Rush
Isn’t Kyle Orton the mediocre backup to a pretty unimpressive Rex Grossman? The law of averages suggests that he will inevitably play back down to his appropriate level. It will be the main goal of the Patriots front seven to make sure that happens sooner rather then later.
5) Broncos Running Backs vs. Patriots Linebackers
Denver has always been a run first team and the trend has continued despite the coaching changeover. With Correll Buckhalter out of the game, Knowshon Moreno will get most of the touches. He had an impressive career at Georgia and seems to be a rich-man’s Laurence Maroney, but it will the Patriots LB corps’ job to make him do the all-too-familiar dance for no gains that Maroney loves so much.