WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
The Patriots have scored 41, 31 and 45 points in their last three meetings with Denver. Last October, New England ran for 251 yards on 54 carries. The Patriots had 35 first downs and went 11 for 17 on third down. Stevan Ridley ran for 151 and Welker was targeted 15 times, catching 13 for 104 yards. Ridley’s still here. Welker isn’t but Danny Amendola is good to go and he’s shown that when he’s healthy he can do similar damage. The Broncos are excellent at applying pressure with their edge players, Shaun Phillips and Von Miller along with sub-rusher Robert Ayers. The Patriots had blocking mishaps last week that led to a pair of costly sacks. The Broncos linebackers – Wesley Woodyard and Dan Trevathan – can fly. The secondary can be had, although Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been playing better since getting to Denver. The Bronco linebackers may be able to contain Rob Gronkowski some but the X-factor of Shane Vereen, Amendola working out of the slot and Aaron Dobson continuing to play solidly gives the Patriots plenty of aerial firepower. And they know they can run with authority on this defense.