How exactly did the Broncos beat the Patriots?
And other mysteries of the universe
Maybe, it’s better if you don’t watch.
Since the Broncos were playing at New England in the 11 a.m. time slot, and they had no chance of beating the Patriots, I did the only sensible thing a fan should do — go golfing. It was a successful day at Lakota Canyon where I found more balls than I lost.
But what the heck got into the Broncos? They won? By a score of 18-12? Seriously, what are the odds we could have gotten on the Broncos winning in New England and only scoring field goals. I don’t gamble — and this game is why — but I probably wouldn’t have had to return to work today.
So, what in the wide, side world of sports just happened?
In retrospect, we probably should have seen it coming. The Patriots were in a COVID-19 halt. They couldn’t practice as much. Yes, the Broncos had to sit through postponement of this game, too, but they could practice.
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was coming off a COVID-positive test. He looked like a guy who didn’t have many reps.
On the actual strategy front, Vic Fangio has dialed up more blitzes in wins against the Jets and Patriots. We’ll see how long this defensive scheme works before opposing teams start finding holes in those formations. (Hello: The Kansas City Chiefs are coming to town.)
Denver’s still got to find something on offense because six field goals rarely does it in the NFL. The offensive line is still Swiss-cheesey. Melvin Gordon is probably going to be out for a bit — the NFL will need to rule his DUI.
And the really scary thing is that the Broncos are sitting at 2-3 and haven’t played a divisional game. Normally two games each with the Raiders and Chargers are good for a few wins, but both of those teams look pretty solid and the Chiefs are the Chiefs.
Denver can still get back to 4-4 after losing to the Chiefs this week with wins against the San — er, Los Angeles Chargers at home and at Atlanta. (Just spot the Falcons a lead and see what happens.)
Despite their best efforts, the Broncos could still be in contention. This is a silly game.
AFC on top
The AFC seems to have more contenders coming into focus. We started the year with the Chiefs, Ravens and Patriots. Kansas City and Baltimore have done nothing to dispel our notions, while the Pats seem to be doing their early-season stumble. (We have just learned never to write off New England.)
Pittsburgh with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger is definitely in the Ravens’ and Chiefs’ class and you gotta give it up for the Titans who came out of COVID and crushed the Bills and beat the Texans to make it 5-0.
You want to root for Buffalo or Cleveland, but the Bills just don’t play defense and the Browns, though they have a favorable schedule, are a walking self-destruct button.
In the NFC, it’s still Seattle and Green Bay. Yes, the Packers got mushed this week by Tampa Bay. It happens. Although they don’t play until Thanksgiving weekend, do you really think the Bears can hang with the Packers?
We’re holding judgment on the Saints, who had a bye last week. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, New Orleans always starts slow. Everyone questions Drew Brees and then it’s Week 12 and you’re playing them in the Superdome and they’re unbeatable. We also want to hold on with regard to the Tampa Bay Toms/Gronks. Let’s check back in a few weeks.
The interesting thing to watch in the NFC is which team emerges from West. The Seahawks should win the division, but who from the Cardinals, Rams and 49ers will emerge? Watch the Cardinals, people.
• Week 7 starts with the New York Giants at Philadelphia. While this will be a punt-fest, it’s either watching this on Thursday night or the presidential debate. Let’s hear it for the Giants-Eagles game.
• Steelers at Titans … OK, that’s more like it. This is probably a bigger game for Tennessee as Pittsburgh’s bona fides are established. But this should be a good slobber-knocker.
• Green Bay (4-1) at Houston (1-5) … Yes, the records say this is a lopsided rout, except that the Texans have lost to Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Tennessee. Yeesh, who did the Texans hack off in the NFL’s scheduling department?
• Seahawks at Cardinals … Since this game won’t be on local TV — Chiefs at Broncos will — this is why we love NFL Sunday Ticket. The wars in the NFC West begin.
• Buccaneers at Raiders … Yes, Broncos fans, you should be rooting for Tom Brady.
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