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Week 6: Patriots vs. Broncos - Keys to the game

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Finally - after the Patriots and Broncos were supposed to face off last Sunday, then Monday, then forced into a bye week and now set for this Sunday - the Patriots are back in action.

Although, we saw more Patriots players hit the Covid-19 list in the lasy 48 hours, they get their most talented offensive and defensive players back in Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore. Denver counters also by getting their quarterback, Drew Lock back from a shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 2. The Broncos come into Foxboro sitting at 1-3 but battled Tennessee and Pittsburgh (both undefeated) to one possession games. With Lock back, the Patriots will certainly need to play a full 60 minutes in order to get the win.

Let Cam Newton settle in

After testing positive for Covid-19 and the Patriots being forced into a bye last week due to the postponement of this weeks match-up, it’s been three weeks since Cam Newton has played in a game. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some rust from Newton early on and have it take some time for him to settle in. With that being said, this weeks gameplan may be similar to the one we saw back in Week 1 versus Miami where we saw a lot of designed plays and runs to get Newton acclimated quickly. Having both James White and Julian Edelman on the field with Cam for the first time since Week 1, we could see Cam going to his trusted veterans a lot to help the Patriots move the chains early on in the game.

Getting pressure on Drew Lock

Like Cam Newton, it’s been awhile since Drew Lock has played in a game after suffering a shoulder injury in Pittsburgh back in Week 2. With Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon and Cortland Sutton all out, Lock will be without his top weapons on offense. The Patriots will need to get to Lock to make life difficult for the second year quarterback. Lock, like any young quarterback, can be erratic at times with the football so with Chase Winovich and Deatrich Wise setting the edge, the Patriots will need to get to Lock and make life difficult for Drew Lock. The Patriots defense as whole has improved each week after facing some of the games best quarterbacks so getting to Lock early on and not allowing him to settle in is the top priority for the Patriots front seven.

Eliminate Bradley Chubb

With David Andrews, Shaq Mason and James Ferentz all out Sunday, the Patriots will need to rely on their depth guys to carry the load in protecting Cam Newton. Although the Broncos record doesn’t necessarily do them justice, head coach Vic Fangio is one of the leagues top defensive minded coaches. Bradley Chubb serves as a big threat for the Patriots and although, the Patriots offensive line has arguably been the leagues best through the first four weeks, missing two starters, Sunday will be a time for young players and depth guys to step into bigger roles and protect Cam Newton and the run game.

Prediction: Patriots 28 - Broncos 16

Did you know?

  • Bill Belichick will look to improve to 37-1 when facing first or second year quarterbacks at home.
  • The Patriots are 52-2 since 2001 when a player rushes for over 100 yards.
  • The Patriots will look to make history on Sunday by becoming the first Patriots team since 1978 to eclipse over 200 yards rushing throughout their first five games.
  • With 245 passing yards, Cam Newton will eclipse the career 30,000 yard mark and with 45 rushing yards, he will eclipse 5,000 for his career - trailing Michael Vick (6109) for most all time by a quarterback.