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Open Thread: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos

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How Important Is This Game?

Well, it's "important." It's a conference game against a quality opponent, and it's a home game, and thus, a good performance and a W are important. You want to beat conference opponents almost as much as division opponents, you want to beat good teams, and you want to win at home.

You also want to keep winning when you are winning. And while you don't look ahead, you want all that stuff above, knowing that you're heading on the road next week to face a team that just beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

In other news, Deion Branch made his debut in Seattle, where the Seahawks brutalized the New York Giants, 42-30. It was 42-3 entering the fourth quarter.

Branch had 2 catches for 23 yards. He also carried once for 8 yards. He also got called for offensive pass interference. He's not mentioned in the gamebook following that 8-yard run on Seattle's first drive in the third quarter.

Here are the inactive players for tonight's game, as reported by the Boston Globe.

New England:
WR Chad Jackson
S Artrell Hawkins
TE Garrett Mills
OLB Pierre Woods
OL Gene Mruczkowski
OT Nick Kaczur
DE Marquise Hill
NT Johnathan Sullivan

Denver:
WR Todd Devoe
RB Cedric Cobbs
LB Nate Webster
G Chris Kuper
OT Adam Meadows
TE Nate Jackson
DL Elvis Dumervil
DE Courtney Brown

Chad Jackson missing another game is troubling. The Pats will also miss Kaczur and Hill. In Hill's absence, New England may stick to the 3-4. Denver might try to exploit the middle of the field when Rodney Harrison is on the sideline for a breather.