By Mike DeVito
- Take Care of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware
The biggest difference between the 2015 and 2016 Patriots is their ability to run the football. Heading into their last match up with Denver in the AFC Championship game, New England had ZERO run game and Denver took advantage of it. They were able to stay in their nickel defenses, which allowed Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to wreak havoc, hitting Brady play after play.
The 2016 New England Patriots don’t have that problem. Not only can they run the football but the offensive line is also a much-improved unit. Priority number one for the Pats today has to be establishing the run to slow down the pass rush and force Denver into their base defenses. Running the football effectively today ultimately means the protection will be better and more of Brady’s targets will have time to get open.
- Emmanuel Sanders & Demaryius Thomas
Not much of a secret: in order for the Pats D to be successful today they need to keep these two guys in check. Sanders and Thomas are both at almost 1000 yards receiving with 5 TDs each. Denver has been struggling a bit on the offensive line so the front 7 can help the cause by ramping up the pass rush. This game is ultimately going to be on the Patriots secondary to stop these two play makers. With the young Tyler Siemian under center for the Broncos, disguising the coverage’s could also prove to be helpful.
- NO Special Teams Turnovers.
As a defensive player there is nothing worse then working your tail off to get a defensive stop and then on the way to the sideline having the coaches tell you to turn around and go back out because the punt returner muffed the kicked. Gotta get it fixed and I know New England will.
Mike DeVito (@MikeDeVito70) is a 9-year NFL veteran, playing with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. He is an alum of the University of Maine, color analyst for Black Bears football on TV and is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm-6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowmaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.