NFL Playoff Predictions: Why the Patriots Secondary Will Come Up Big

MichaelContributor IIJanuary 13, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01:  Sterling Moore #29 of the New England Patriots is congratulated by teammates  Patrick Chung #25 and  Devin McCourty #32 after Moore intercepted a pass against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Some analysts have categorized the New England Patroits defense as "Swiss cheese," and at some points throughout the season they were spot on with that analogy.

However, while the Patriots do start out slower than most teams in the league, they also pull together as a defensive unit to slow down every opponent after their first few drives.

Here is why I believe the Pats secondary will come up big tomorrow against the Broncos.


The Bye Week

Getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC was bigger for New England than any team in this conference. Without a doubt, the Patriots have had their problems on the defensive side of the football this season, but I am saying this will end against the Broncos.

After having two full weeks to correct mistakes and make adjustments from their Week 15 meeting in Denver, New England is primed and ready to go.

Yes, Willis McGahee was injured for the final three quarters of their first meeting and he will have an impact tomorrow. However, New England will be rested and coach Belichick will put together a defensive scheme similar to the one throughout the final three quarters in Denver. 


Tebow's Accuracy

Tim Tebow proved he could throw the ball against Pittsburgh. After posting 316 passing yards, no one can argue that.

He is dangerous down the field, but his short-to-mid range throws are still questionable. If Denver gets behind, they will have to start throwing. Tebow will have to force throws he is uncomfortable with and New England will take advantage.

The Patriots are second in the league with 23 interceptions in the regular season and that didn't come by accident.


Patrick Chung is Healthy

Without a doubt, the return of Patrick Chung is huge for New England. He played extremely well against Buffalo and didn't show much fatigue. He was one of the Pats' huge playmakers a season ago. If he is 100 percent healthy, he may be that player for them tomorrow.



The last time this secondary stepped on the field, as usual, they started slowly. However, after the first quarter, they did not commit any unnecessary penalties or huge blunders. They intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick four times and looked as if they were a top secondary in the league.

Youth can be a negative factor in some cases, but in this one, all I have seen as of late is confidence and excitement from this young group.

The secondary for New England will have a few tough times tomorrow against Denver. However, with their improvements, they will make key plays when needed.