FOXBORO -- We've heard it before, and Tom Brady reminded us again on Thursday.
"We're a game-plan team," he said. "We go in, we think they’re going to play a certain way. If they don’t, we have to make adjustments and try to move forward."
One of the many reasons Sunday's matchup between the Patriots and Broncos is so intriguing is that it appears as though the strengths of the Patriots offense and the strengths of the Broncos defense seem to match up perfectly.
Behind a recently-dominant offensive line and strong running from LeGarrette Blount, the Patriots have featured a resurgent running attack in recent weeks. The Broncos, on the other hand, are one of the best in the league at slowing down the run; they allowed just 3.9 yards per carry during the regular season.
Further emphasizing the importance of Denver's run defense is the fact that its secondary is reeling. Top corner Chris Harris is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Champ Bailey quite isn't the same dominating corner he was in the prime of his career, and Quentin Jammer was picked on by San Diego with some success last weekend.
So what are the Patriots to do? What will be this game-plan team's game plan? Will they lean on their running attack because it's what has worked well of late? Or will they look to exploit the seemingly weaker back end of the Broncos defense by allowing Tom Brady to air it out?
Brady delved into the thought processes behind answering those questions during a week of preparation.
"You try to figure out what you do well and you try to figure out what they don’t do well," he said. "You try to find a balance but sometimes you watch a team’s defense and you go, ‘Well, we’d love to try these types of things but that’s not really what we do really well.’ So you don’t do them.
"I think you have to figure out what you do well and then go out there and try to do it the best you can. This is the game where it matters most. This isn’t a big trial-and-error game . . . Let’s see what we do well, let’s see how consistent we can be at it, and let’s challenge them. Let’s see what they do well. It’s not like they’re going to install a whole new defense this week. They’ve got what they’ve done. We’ve got  games to really see how it sorted itself out, and you try to make an educated guess on how you think they’re going to play against us. That’s what you’re going to game plan, and you go from there, and you be prepared to make adjustments if you need to."
Brady was quick to point out just how important it will be to score points by any means necessary in order to keep up with the Broncos.
"They out-score you and they can score quickly," Brady said. "They can run the ball like they did against us last time. They have a bunch of guys who have caught a bunch of touchdowns. What that means for our offense is we have to be able to match it. We have to be able to eliminate the ability for them to possess the football, whether that’s controlling the ball through third downs, whether that’s not turning the ball over, [or] whether that’s getting the ball in the red area -- there’s not one phase of our game that we can’t be at our very best."
Whether that means another big game for LeGarrette Blount and the rest of the Patriots running backs, or whether that means taking to the air, Brady doesn't mind either way so long as the outcome is to his team's satisfaction.
"If we need to throw for 500 yards, hopefully we can do that," he said. "If we need to throw for 50 yards, I’ll throw for 50 yards as long as we win and whatever it takes for us to score more points than the other team, that’s what we have to do."