Broncos vs. Patriots: Why New England, Brady Will Pick Apart Denver's Secondary

Mike StangerCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bears 13-10 in overtime. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Tebow-mania —recently on life support—was resuscitated after the Denver Broncos' 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Renewed talk about the miraculous powers of Tim Tebow—who was begotten, not made—will once again dominate sports talk radio and clog up bandwidth on the Internet this week.

Granted, the Broncos won a game that they probably shouldn't have, but then again, many people looked at the Broncos-Steelers matchup as the possible upset this past playoff weekend.

Truly, the Broncos played in a favorable environment for a big win—namely, a home game against an injury-depleted Steeler team.

They won't have such an advantage next week against the New England Patriots, however.

You see, Tom Brady isn't Ben Roethlisberger. No slight against Roethlisberger—very few are in Brady's class—but Brady doesn't rely on improvisation to succeed.

Quite frankly, the Steelers run a grab-bag offense that looks more like something you would see on the playground than on a professional football field.

The Broncos won't face the same playground style in the Patriots. They can't rely on their corners—Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman—to just shut down the Patriots' wideouts.

Whereas the Steelers rely on hitting the big plays to their fast receivers, which take time to develop, the Patriots run a fluid, timing-based offense that utilizes that tight ends effectively and exploits weaknesses by spreading the ball around.

Just like what happened in Week 15 of the regular season, the clock will strike midnight next weekend for Tebow and the Broncos, as Brady and the Pats will once again shatter the glass slipper and smash the pumpkin carriage in Gallagher-like fashion.

True, past performances don't guarantee future results, but they can also give us a clue as to what the future might hold.

And the future doesn't look bright for the Broncos.

In that Week 15 game, Brady made the Broncos' defense weep, lighting up the secondary to the tune of 320 yards passing and two touchdowns.

He effectively utilized the tight ends all game, as Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski collectively caught 13 passes for 180 yards and one touchdown.

Brady spread the ball around, too, hitting six other receivers in that game, including season-long absentee Chad Ochocinco, who caught a touchdown pass.

All of this took place in the Broncos' backyard while they were riding mile high on Tebow Kool-Aid.

Next weekend's game is at Gillette Stadium with a well-rested, Belichick-prepared team. Add the return of Josh McDaniels to the mix and the outcome will most certainly be the same—a Patriots runaway victory.

But take heart, Broncos fans. After all, it's Tom Brady's world; all of us—including Tim Tebow—just live in it.