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Film room: Why crossing routes could be key to the Patriots offense on Sunday

Related: Film room: Planning for Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien

A side effect of the New England Patriots’ game against the Denver Broncos being postponed for a week is that we have more time to dive into the Denver defense. Looking at what their defensive unit has done this season, they have given up more than 15 yards in the passing game on 19 different occasions. Some of those plays, most notably from Sam Darnold and Ben Roethlisberger, were in scramble drill situations.

So, if Cam Newton returns to the lineup — he is eligible to return in accordance to the NFL’s Coronavirus protocols — there will be opportunities for him to make plays by extending the down and keeping his eyes trained in the secondary for receivers in scramble drill situations.

Another common element? The crossing route. Whether zone, man or matching principles, the Broncos’ secondary has given up some big plays against crossing routes. In the video breakdown above, we will look at four such examples against this Denver defense, to illustrate how Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can construct a game plan for Sunday.