New England Patriots: Major Difference on Offense Will Help vs Broncos

BY Fansided and Nick Ziegler/FanSided via Musket Fire • December 15, 2016

The New England Patriots will be playing a big game against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. What is a major difference between the Patriots then and now?

The New England Patriots are coming off a great win at home on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore has been a team that has historically given the Patriots some issues, and it was good for the Patriots to hand them a loss.

On Sunday, the Patriots will be playing another team that has given them issues over the years. As great as Tom Brady is, he has struggled against the Denver Broncos in his career. When the Patriots looked like one of the best teams in the league last season, it was the Denver Broncos who clearly had their number.

In the 2015 season, the Broncos were able to beat them in both the regular season and postseason. Despite it being just a year later, the Patriots have changed quite a bit.

On offense, the Patriots were virtually a one-dimensional team last season. While throwing the ball often with Brady isn’t a bad thing, balance is always important on offense. In the two losses to the Broncos last season, the Patriots totaled 83 rushing yards in both games combined.

Even though Brady threw for over 275 passing yards in both games, balance on offense would have been good. In the AFC Championship Game especially, the Patriots weren’t able to get anything going on the ground.

This season, the Patriots have been more dedicated to running the football. With an 11-2 record, the balance on offense has certainly paid off.

Leading the way for the improved rushing attack for the Patriots is running back LeGarrette Blount. In his seventh season, Blount is having a career-year for the Patriots. In 2016, Blount has totaled 1,029 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in 13 games. Compared to last season, Blount’s numbers are drastically better.

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    Even with some losses in free agency, the Broncos still have a very good defense this season. However, the clear weakness in the defense is their ability to stop the run. This season, the Broncos are ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing defense. In 2015, the Broncos were ranked 3rd in the NFL at stopping the run.

    This clearly could be a way for the Patriots to attack the Broncos defense. A heavy dose of Blount could make things much easier for Brady. The Broncos still have an elite pass rush led by Von Miller, but staying out of third and longs can help the keep the pass rush of the Broncos in check.

    With an improved rushing offense, the Patriots are in much better position heading into Denver. Controlling the game on the ground could be the answer for the Patriots to win against the Broncos.