Monday Night Football: Broncos Have Much More to Lose Than Patriots

Chris RadezSenior Writer IOctober 20, 2008

The Denver Broncos have won nine out of 12 games against the Patriots under head coach Mike Shanahan, including four of the last five.

Denver has the advantage of fielding their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler. Cutler has already passed for almost 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

While the Broncos will have to play their backup running back, Michael Pittman, said tailback is averaging 4.7 yards per carry on 49 carries this season.

Besides...when has it ever mattered who Denver plays at running back? Not to mention the Patriots are allowing close to 120 yards per game on the ground this year.

The Broncos have a chance to move to 5-2, and will gain a decent amount of separation from the rest of the division with a win tonight.

Denver's offensive line has only allowed two sacks this season, while New England has only brought down opposing quarterbacks seven times thus far. The Patriots had lots of trouble getting to Phillip Rivers in San Diego last week.

All signs point to a victory for the Broncos. So what do the Patriots need to do in order to win?

To be honest, they practically need a miracle. The Pats' defense has been absolutely atrocious, allowing more than 320 total yards per game, while New England ranks 25th in the league with just 298 total offensive yards per game.

That's mostly due to the awful passing game provided by Matt Cassel. His inaccuracy has left the rest of the offense handcuffed and visibly aggravated.

It looks as though RBs Laurence Maroney* and LaMont Jordan will be out yet again, leaving Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk to carry the load. It will essentially be up to those two guys if the Patriots are going to have any type of offensive production at all.

If Randy Moss was actually putting forth some effort, Morris and Faulk might get some help on offense...but Moss has been obviously unmotivated to produce the type of effort he did with Tom Brady under center last season.

This is not the type of performance New England's front office expected when they re-signed him in the offseason.

It's time for the Patriots' defense to wake up and start doing some hitting. I'm expecting Cutler and Co. to test the often-beaten Deltha O'Neal deep...and he needs to make sure he's knocking that ball down. Both times he was beaten for touchdowns last week, he was in position to interrupt the play, but went for the INT instead.

Back to basics, Sir.

As a matter of fact...back to basics, New England Patriots, if you want any chance in this one.

*Update: Laurence Maroney is done for the season, after being placed on season-ending injured reserve. Visit the link for more info.