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Week 12 X-Factors: Patriots vs. Broncos

We need to come up with a catchy hashtag for James White.
We need to come up with a catchy hashtag for James White.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots WR corps is decimated, their OL is banged up and had a crappy day, but they are getting healthier on defense. The Patriots will not be facing Peyton Manning for Brady vs. Manning, Round XVII since we like to do Roman Numerals. Instead it will be Brady vs. Osweiler I, but really this is going to be a defensive slugfest unless the Patriots offense figures something out. Historically Brady has fared very well against a Wade Phillips defense, especially from 2007 onwards, but the decimated receiving corps could shift the tides Denver's way. However, I believe the Patriots defense is primed for a big night.

RB James White: White showed that he can play in this offense with two TDs on 4 touches against the Bills, although I don't think he'll be that successful for this game. With Dion Lewis out for the season, White should be getting about 10 touches a game, which most of them being as a receiver and occasional draw or goal-line carry. White is a terrific 3rd down back who can pass protect well and has strong open field running skills. White's ability to cause defenders to whiff in the open field in run after catch situations are going to critical for extending drives against the Broncos with Danny Amendola banged up along Julian Edelman being unavailable for this game.

DT Dominique Easley: Pressure up the middle is the biggest way to affect Osweiler. The Patriots best interior pass rusher is Dominique Easley, who is looking like the player we thought we'd get from his college tape this year now that he has two healthy knees for the first time since High School. With the Broncos having issues on the interior OL, Easley can take advantage of a new, but aging LG and a rookie center. With the Broncos unlikely to play at an up-tempo pace with an inexperienced QB, the Patriots can afford to use their DL rotations as liberally as they want which means Easley should be fresh for most of the game. Easley is primed for a banner game against the Broncos and I think he'll record his first multi-sack game.