Instant thoughts: Pats to face Denver in Divisional Round

Posted on January 8, 2012

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Immediate reaction to the Denver Broncos’ shocking victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime:

  • Denver quarterback Tim Tebow was a true gamer tonight, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. Tebow’s ability to lead and his intangibles were on full display. The Patriots’ defense will have to make sure to limit the big plays next Saturday if they want to come away victorious. Pittsburgh’s defense did a poor job of that today.
  • Injuries, injuries and more injuries ultimately proved to be too much to overcome for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton were all banged up. Roethlisberger wasn’t close to 100 percent while Keisel and Hampton couldn’t even finish the game. Throw in that safety Ryan Clark couldn’t participate and it was all just too much.
  • The Broncos’ lost momentum as the fourth quarter moved along. The Steelers were beginning to look like the championship team we were accustomed to seeing while Denver’s inexperience was starting to show. The turning point for awhile appeared to be the Steelers’ forced fumble on Willis McGahee that resulted in the Steelers’ offense capitalizing and evening the score at 23. Denver didn’t quit however and eventually was able to pull away and take home the win.

Tom Brady torched the Broncos' defense just a month ago in Denver. Can he do it again next weekend at home in the playoffs?

  • In the end the Patriots appeared to have gotten the matchup they would’ve liked the most. The Broncos were a pedestrian 8-8 in the regular season and now have to travel to New England to take on the AFC’s top seed. The Patriots handled the Broncos a month earlier – in Denver, winning by a score of 41-23. New England will go into Saturday’s game as heavy favorites. Expect the upcoming contest to be closer, but a Patriots’ win is certainly in the forecast as they attempt to get to their sixth AFC championship game in the last 11 seasons.

photo courtesy of patriots.com

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Posted in: Patriots