PFF Preview: Broncos @ Patriots, Week 9

Easily the most anticipated game of the week, John Kosko reviews the Broncos and Patriots duel in weather that is expected to be inclement here.

| 3 years ago

Easily the most anticipated game of the week, John Kosko reviews the Broncos and Patriots duel in weather that is expected to be inclement here.

PFF Preview: Broncos @ Patriots, Week 9

2014-Prev-WK09-DEN@NETwo of the greatest of all time face off for the 16th time on Sunday as the Denver Broncos (6-1) travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to battle the New England Patriots for AFC supremacy. This highly anticipated matchup has been covered from every angle, sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone not because of the potential home field advantage in the playoffs at stake, but because two legends are winding down their Hall of Fame careers. What makes this game even more interesting is that it is expected to occur during inclement weather.

Peyton Manning had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history last year, but he also had a couple of blips along the way. Arguably his worst outing of the season came against the Patriots in the regular season where he threw for a season-low 150 yards. One big reason for this was Manning’s struggles under pressure. On nine of his 38 drop-backs, Manning completed one pass for 5 yards, an interception, two sacks and a QB Rating of a 0.0. For 2013 Manning was pressured on 22.7% of his drop-backs and was second in Accuracy Percentage. In the AFC Championship game, Manning handled pressure much better, completing 66.7% of his passes with no interceptions or sacks.

New England’s secondary has been very stout against the pass this year. With newcomers Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner joining free safety Devin McCourty, the Patriots have given up 211 yards per game, 2nd best in the NFL. With eight interceptions to go along with 21 sacks, the Patriots defense is rounding into championship form. Revis has given up just 1.01 Yards Per Coverage Snap (13th best) while McCourty has given up just 0.23 Yards Per Coverage Snap (10th best).

So while everyone is focusing on Manning vs Brady (and rightfully so), Peyton Manning and his inconsistencies versus Bill Belichick’s defenses have been big factors in these matchups.

Three things to watch for:

Denver Broncos

DeMarcus Ware – A lot has been said about the duo of Von Miller and Ware, but Miller has been the force while Ware has been average. Ware has a +1.9 grade on the season (19th at the position) and a Pass Rushing Productivity of 10.0 (14th).

Ryan Clady – After missing most of the 2013 season, Clady has been rusty in 2014. While he hasn’t given up a sack and posts a solid 96.5 Pass Blocking Efficiency, Clady has a -6.6 PFF grade with a -6.9 in run blocking

Virgil Green – Tight end Julius Thomas makes all the headlines, but Green is the run blocking force on the team. Grading at a +5.9 in run blocking that’s 2nd best in the NFL on just 123 snaps.

New England Patriots

Tom Brady – Since Week 4, Brady has a PFF grade of +16.3, has tallied a 14:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has been sacked just four times.

Dont’a Hightower – The third-year linebacker is having his best season yet. With five sacks and 23 run stops, Hightower is sixth in the NFL at inside linebacker, +7.2.

Patrick Chung – Quietly having a solid year, grading at +4.3 while being stellar against the run. With 15 stops, Chung posts an 8.2 Run Stop Percentage mark, good for seventh in the NFL.

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| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • Tim Lynch

    Sheesh, judging by this article the Patriots have no weaknesses and the Broncos are in big trouble. lol

    • Thomas Bell

      No kidding. I would say Ware is playing a little better than “average.” 14th in the league out of 64 DEs with 7 sacks. Oddly stilted article on a couple of levels….which really stands out on a page that has been hailed as the ultimate in objectivity.

  • Wobetmit

    Koskos blog in PFF is rubbish. There were extenuating circumstances that in game one. PFM played the first game with a high ankle aprain and still ran it up to what 21-0 in the first half in nasty weather. DRQ injured himself out of the game at the end of the half and then the secondary couldn’t hold the fort. Fox almost plotzed the week before and Del Rio was coaching. The second time they played, PFMreduced Bellicheks defense to whimpering babies in the playoffs when the chips were down. Inconsistencies my ass, the guy is money and has way more character than Brady.

    • TFB

      You want to bring up the Broncos injuries in the first game but fail to mention the Pats injuries in the playoff game. You say Manning is money? I say he has the most playoff losses in NFL history and I believe the most first game exits in the playoffs. So funny looking at the score of the SB…. who really had a whimpering defense…?

      Patriots upgraded at cornerback easily with Revis over Talib, who is so prone to getting injured in the most important moments. Be prepared for more extenuating circumstances on Sunday. The weather will be rough, especially for Manning.

      I’ll take Brady’s character over Manning’s all day. I don’t care about his pizza or his commercials, though some are pretty funny. I’ll take the character Brady shows on the field. Nobody gets as hyped up as he does when they score and nobody want’s to be on the field anymore than he does when he is on the sideline waiting his turn to get back out and throw.

      • Broncosnative

        You just did the same thing that wobetmit did, make it all one sided. You know damn well that Peyton manning is always eager to get on the field, just because he doesn’t jump up and down doesn’t mean he doesn’t take it seriously. Everybody is foolish when they’re trying to compare both manning and Brady, both are elite HOF QBs who are role models in the league. When are people gonna get that the nfl is a team sport, explain to me how does one player continuously lose a game for his team? Don’t you think with a playoff record like that manning wouldn’t even be a starter in this league? Can you honestly say that Peyton manning bluntly lose every single 11 playoff games for his team?

        • aiak

          What the hell is your problem ? Trying to be all reasonable and rational on the internet ! Get the hell out, buddy ! lol j/k

      • Jake Redmond

        How about his character when he left his PREGNANT WIFE for a super model?

        • aiak

          A valid point in general but irrelevant to the guy’s performance on the field..

  • Jake Redmond

    What a crap article.
    Ware + Miller = Best Pass Rushers in the NFL
    Chris Harris is the #1 corner in the league right now + Talib is awesome.
    Manning doesn’t have to be great in every single game.
    No mention of the Broncos new found run game (which we will see a lot of considering the weather).
    No mention of the Broncos’ #1 run defense or their #6 overall defense.
    John Kosko is a fucktard and doesn’t need to write for a site that claims to be impartial.

    • aiak

      I have to agree…except the part abt Kosko being a fucktard…lol

      I hope Hillman’s injury isn’t that bad and we don’t pick up new ones in the game..Go Broncos !

  • Broncobilly

    What a crock. Denver is playing the best of any team in the NFL going into this game — this from a bunch of so-called experts on the sports desks of TV and newspapers. The Broncos defense is arguably as good as their offense. Add it up and it will be a Broncos win at Foxboro. PFF b.s. aside, Broncos win!

  • Robert Mahaney

    What is up with all the East Coast homers in the media this week? NE is shaky, beating up on bad teams. Denver has made it through the gauntlet of the NFLs best. Why would you pick against Denver?