Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 238: Patriots Host Broncos and Old Friend, Wes Welker Tonight!

After a disappointing and controversial loss last Monday to the Carolina Panthers, Sunday night's game against the Denver Broncos looms pretty big for New England. For the entire season, this is the one game I've written off as a "hell no, they can't win" for the Patriots—especially after the Broncos burst out of the gate so strong and Peyton Manning looked virtually unstoppable. But now... my feelings have changed and I really think the Pats have a chance to take this game.

If you look at the AFC East standings, you'll see that the Patriots' lead over the the second place Jets and Dolphins isn't that sizable. If the Pats were to lose and either the Jets or 'Phins win this week, that lead gets just a little too close for comfort. So a win over the Broncos would be huge—huge for their hold on the division and huge for their confidence.

We also get our first glimpse of old friend Wes Welker in orange and blue. Welker is coming off an injury last week against the Chiefs where he left the game with a concussion. Most would have thought he was a definite no-go for this game but surprisingly he's been cleared by the medical staff and is confirmed to be playing Sunday night. I'm pretty sure a broken leg wouldn't keep Welker off the field against his former team.

As a side note, why is it that a hockey player is out weeks and sometimes months with a concussion but a football player comes back the next week? Seems fishy to me... I would think the chance for helmet-to-helmet collisions is much higher on the football field. This should make things interesting.

The Patriots do have some concerns within their secondary with four of the top five defensive backs listed ad questionable for this game. But Sunday night's weather could dictate the type of play and limit a high-flying passing attack with temps dropping into the 20s or lower and high winds expected. If both teams take to the ground, weaknesses in the secondary might not make much of a difference. Although the Patriots will need to step up their run defense since the Broncos are #4 in the AFC in rushing averaging over 90 yards a game.

On paper, it looks like the Patriots don't have a snowball's chance in hell to win this game. But honestly, especially this year, no game is a sure win. Maybe Bill Belichick should just plan to say something really mean to Wes Welker to throw him off his game. I mean, that is why he left New England, isn't it?

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