The Broncos CAN Win This Weekend — Here’s How

I just ran a simulation of this week’s Broncos-Patriots Divisional Playoff matchup at whatifsports.com, and I am sure my eyes deceived me. While I expected something along the lines of a 49 – 21 Patriots victory, I was shocked to find my simulation result in a 34 – 17 Broncos victory behind 175 yards from Willis McGahee and an error-free game from Tim Tebow. It only took one try, and I didn’t bench Tom Brady for the simulation. I guess that means that there is more than a 0% chance that the Broncos will win on Saturday night. Shocking.

If the Broncos are to find sweet victory against the evil New England Patriots and their new cheating spy offensive assistant Josh McDaniels, all of the following MUST occur:

1. The Broncos must pressure Brady. Not two sacks and three quarterback hurries, but rather something like five sacks, seven hurries, and a couple of knockdowns. Gloom and Doom will need to meet at the quarterback at least twice in order for this lofty goal to be met. Von Miller had his best performance since breaking his thumb last week, and the Broncos will need even more from him and his fellow pass rushers Saturday night.

2. The Broncos must win the turnover battle. In the Week 15 loss to the Patriots, the Broncos set up the recipe for success in the first quarter. They ran the ball, kept it off the turf, and were moving up and down the field. Then the second quarter arrived. Three turnovers and a grand total of four offensive players later, the Broncos 16 – 7 lead became a 24 – 16 deficit. This cannot happen on the road against the cream of the AFC crop. If the Broncos avoid turnovers and cause at least two, I like their chances.

3. The Broncos must limit the offensive explosion to one of New England’s big three. With a steady pass rush, sound run defense, and adequate pass defense, there may be a chance for the Broncos to pull their biggest upset in franchise playoff history. By neutralizing two of the big three (Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez) and Patriots running attack, the Broncos defense may keep the score within reach.

As I said, if one of these doesn’t occur — just one slip on this list — The Broncos will be on the losing end of the equation. However, if they manage all three, they’ve got a shot.

We may well see the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.

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