Cover32: Under-the-radar players who could decide Pats-Broncos game


The New England Patriots play the cream of the crop of the AFC, the Denver Broncos, at mile-high altitude on Sunday afternoon. The Broncos were sluggish in their first game back from the bye week, and it showed as their offense failed to maintain consistency against a gritty Chargers defense. However, the big Denver defensive line stepped up, stuffing the Chargers’ game plan to ground and pound and even adding some timely pressure and drive-ending sacks.
This week, with the knowledge gained from their dramatic Week 12 come-from-behind victory over the Broncos, the Patriots match up with them following their strong win against the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were unable to replicate their dramatic come-from-behind victory in the Wild Card round over the Kansas City Chiefs last week. New England’s power running game punished the Colts defense and left them with no chance to catch up in the closing minutes.
The storyline that has been played out ad nauseum this week has been the matchup of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Add in the rehashed wide receiverWes Welker offseason move and the endless rehashed stories that come out of that and the average Patriots fan is hungering for some knowledge beyond the stars of the game. As we did last week in preparation for the Colts game, we present four under-the-radar players (two from each team) who could have a huge impact on their team’s chances for victory on Sunday afternoon.
New England center Ryan Wendell
The New England Patriots have had success in the passing game and running the ball after a tough start to the season. At the beginning of the season, the team struggled to move the ball on offense, as the running backs struggled to find space and quarterback Tom Brady struggled under a pocket-collapsing pass rush.
A big part of that problem was the interior of the offensive here for more: