Patriots-Broncos Match-Up Mania: Peyton Vs. Defense

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Once again, Peyton Manning is matched up against the New England Patriots in what could be the NFL’s signature game of the 2013 season. Have I been here before? Is Bill Murray coming to the game?

What does Bill Belichick have in store for the scaldingly hot, Manning-led Denver Broncos and the concussed Wes Welker? I’d be stunned if Welker isn’t ready to go on Sunday for obvious reasons.

Before we can even worry about how the Patriots will attack Denver’s offense, let’s consider the personnel problem. Injuries continue to pile up on the NEP roster on top of the losses of players like Vince Wilfork that are simply assumed by now. The team is running out of defensive backs.

Don’t be surprised if most of those DBs will suit up on Sunday night even if they are less than 100%. I suspect Aqib Talib, who is the player they need the most, will find a way to play because he can’t be happy with his performance against the Carolina Panthers last week. Don’t expect to see Alfonzo Dennard, though, after his “procedure” last week.

Every active player will simply recite the “Do Your Job” mantra about injuries about pretend the injured players don’t exist. As for Manning, Welker and Denver’s offensive machine, well they’ll exploit every shortcoming they find.

The Patriots have to hide their approach and/or disrupt Denver’s offense. Easy to say. Hard to do.

Former Pats defender Willie McGinest knows about beating Manning. His analysis:

It was always a chess match because the game plan changes according to personnel and what they were trying to do. The main thing is you can’t give Peyton Manning a lot…The one thing we tried to do was move around, confuse him, disguise a little bit and not let him get comfortable in the pocket.

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