Patriots vs. Broncos Preview: Patriot Bias?

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IOctober 9, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball under pressure by Paul Kruger #99 of the Baltimore Ravens on October 4, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 27-21.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

Known primarily last year as a team heavy on offense and light on defense, the Broncos have changed identities under Josh McDaniels. Now, the Denver defense leads the league in scoring defense, and an offense that relied heavily on the arm of Jay Cutler now sports a formidable ground game with the solid yet unspectacular Kyle Orton calling the signals.

It’s a recipe for success, as the Broncos are undefeated and atop the AFC West.

“Don’t call it an ‘inversion,” says Josh McDaniels. “Call it a ‘Den-version’ if you will. I’ve totally changed the mindset of this team, for the better, of course. I think it’s become apparent that Mike Shanahan wasn’t much of a disciplinarian. Heck, Shanahan spawned more ‘babies’ than Travis Henry.”

“Orton’s doing exactly what I’ve asked of him. That’s simply to not make mistakes. And Brandon Marshall is finally doing what I’ve asked of him, and that’s to make corrections to Orton’s mistakes. Like, for example, last week, when he grabbed an underthrown Orton pass that should have been intercepted by Terrence Newman and turned it into the 51-yard game-winning touchdown.

"That’s exactly what I envisioned for Brandon, after all of my panicked efforts to trade him failed.”

The Pats escaped with a 27-21 win last week over the undefeated Ravens, a result that, depending on your love/hatred for the Patriots, may/may not have been swayed by some controversial roughing penalties on the Ravens.

At least one former Patriot disagreed with the calls; former New England safety Rodney Harrison questioned Tom Brady’s toughness, quipping that Brady needed to “take off the skirt.”

“Hey, Rodney’s partly right,” says Brady. “Giselle wears the pants in this family. Skirt or slacks, our opponents need not worry about what I’m wearing. They do, however, need to worry about the pockets attached to what I’m wearing, and the size of those pockets. Because they’re large enough to hold an entire officiating crew.”

It’s the kind of matchup that Bill Belichick loves best—a game in which he can put his upstart former assistant in his rightful place with a loss. Belichick may be the “Daddy Mack,” but Denver’s young leader is the “’Mc’ Daddy,” and he wants to beat his mentor just as badly.

But for Tom Brady, it’s personal. He remembers the 2006 divisional playoffs in Denver, when a phantom interference call on Asante Samuel aided the Broncos in their victory. Why does that play stick in Brady’s craw? Because it was the last time a call went against the Pats.

Brady steers clear of Champ Bailey, throwing a touchdown pass apiece to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. The New England defense harasses Kyle Orton into two turnovers, and precious few passes to Brandon Marshall.

New England wins, 27-20.


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