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New England Patriots Links 10/09/09 - Brady and the Champ

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Christopher Price offers his list of Five things to watch for Sunday against the Broncos.

In four games, the running back out of Minnesota has carried the ball 27 times for 78 yards. That an average of 2.9 yards per carry, with zero touchdowns. Nine of those 27 carries have gone for either no yardage or have ended up in a negative play. Almost half of his carries (11, to be specific) have gone for one yard or less. The next time he finds the end zone will be the first touchdown since Super Bowl XLII.

But this weekend will begin a key stretch for Maroney. With an expected increase in playing time, the opportunity is there for him to win back the fans that booed him last Sunday at Gillette, and become the same potent force he was at the end of the 2007 season where he ran for 100-plus yards in four of five games. That chance starts Sunday for him in Denver.

Tedy Bruschi breaks down the Patriots-Broncos in all phases and says to expect a chess match.

This is a thinking man's game this week. Josh McDaniels, I'm sure he's been in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's ear in terms of the ins and outs of the Patriots' offense and the adjustments they can make off his looks. Even before that, I'm sure Mike already had great background on the Patriots' offense, going up against a similar offense in training camp, so he'll be familiar with what the Patriots do. On the other side of the coin, the Patriots' defense will be looking at film of the Broncos this week and seeing plays that are similar to what they are used to seeing in training camp. So this game is all about wrinkles and adjustments coaches will make to counteract the schemes and defensive or offensive looks. A big key will be the sideline adjustments that coaches will make. You come out the first series, see what the team is running, and as soon as that series is over you're making adjustments on the fly. How good is Josh McDaniels at doing that? How good is Mike Nolan? We already know Bill Belichick is the best at making sideline adjustments.

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