The Patriots will travel to Mile High Stadium in Denver to play the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, pretty fitting for this season, Brady Vs Manning will happen.
Of course, it’s actually Brady Vs the number one ranked defense and Manning Vs the number 9th ranked defense.
Can the Patriots win in Denver? Can they win an AFC Championship Game on the road again? Well, here are the three players that can make that happen not named Tom Brady.
1. LB Dont’a Hightower:
He’s so important to this game and to this team in more ways than one. The Broncos struggled for 48 yards in the first half with Hightower on the field, but in the 2nd half without Hightower they exploded for over a 100 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Hightower will make an impact against the run and he will need to stop the run in order for the defense to have success. He also makes a huge impact going against Manning on the line of scrimmage. Manning loves to audible and last season, Hightower did a wonderful job matching Manning’s audible and resetting the defense or making a lot of noise to keep it the same. Hightower playing chess with Manning will be equally as important as his run stuffing ability.
2. OL Marcus Cannon:
Cannon did well against the Chiefs at right tackle, a surprise, but he needs that to continue this Sunday against a team that is even better at getting sacks than the Chiefs. He will most likely deal with Von Miller a lot coming right at Tom Brady on passing downs and really every down. Cannon has to keep Miller away from Tom Brady because if he does that, the Patriots will keep Brady protected and he should have no problems. If Cannon and Vollmer do their jobs, it should be a worry free day for the Pats, but Cannon can be a wild card and you don’t want that against someone like Miller. Cannon has the second most important job on the line this weekend, and he has the talent to get it done.
3. DE Chandler Jones:
He did okay against the Chiefs. It was a quiet day for Jones for much of the game against Kansas City until he forced a fumble that permanently turned the favor to the Patriots and put the game on ice. He has to play so much better this week against a line the Pats defensive line should handle. The entire DL has to play better against the run and pass this weekend. They have to get to the QB, and pressuring Manning is the best way to beat the Broncos.