Justin Bannan will play a key role in stopping the Patriots' running game.
The Denver Mannings face the New England Bradys this week, or it least it seems that way. Of course, there are other elements to a game of football besides the quarterback, and the running game, defense and special teams will also make a difference in the outcome.
The New England Patriots have added a new wrinkle to their offense this year in the form of the running game. Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post attributes the new wrinkle to head coach Bill Belichick. Certainly Belichick is involved, but Legwold fails to mention former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels' role as the offensive coordinator in developing New England's offense.
What's clear is that the Broncos will need to prepare to stop Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden. The Patriots can turn to the running game to keep the clock running and reduce the number of opportunities for Peyton Manning and Denver's offense.
Running the ball takes it out of Tom Brady's hands, and that could benefit the Broncos if they can stop the run as well as they have this season. The Broncos boast a much-improved run defense and have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season.
The Broncos could turn to Willis McGahee and use a similar ball-control offense to try to slow down the Patriots.
Other AFC West news:
Legwold also talked to Champ Bailey, who said the Broncos have a whole new attitude this year.
Scott Bair of the North County Times says linebacker Donald Butler is becoming a force under the guidance of Takeo Spikes.
Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune says the Chargers know how to contain Darren Sproles.
Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area talked with center Stefen Wisniewski about the differences between the zone-blocking scheme and the old power-blocking scheme.