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10-10-2009, 09:22 AM
McDaniels undefeated but now gets mentor Belichick

Clifton Brown
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Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 - 10:30 a.m. ET
DENVER—The Broncos have tormented Bill Belichick like no other team.
Since 2001, the Broncos are the only team with a winning record (5-2) against the Patriots' coach. And Belichick's last visit to Denver was his most painful, a 27-13 loss in the 2005 playoffs.
Sunday afternoon in Denver, the Patriots (3-1) get another shot against the unbeaten Broncos (4-0). It will be the first meeting between Belichick and Josh McDaniels, who has made a controversial yet confident leap from Patriots offensive coordinator to Broncos head coach at age 33.
You know Belichick wants this game. You know McDaniels does, too. The stage is set for an intriguing match between teacher and student.
"It'll be a little strange seeing him (McDaniels) on the other sideline," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "In Denver, we always have some tough battles. I'm sure this week will be no different."
Here are other things to watch as this key AFC contest unfolds:
• Champ Bailey vs. Randy Moss. A great corner against a great receiver. It is imperative for the Broncos to eliminate, or limit, Moss' big plays. Bailey came up big during the Broncos' Week 4 victory over the Cowboys, breaking up two passes in the end zone on Dallas' final drive and making a third-quarter interception. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo challenged Bailey often and with little success. Brady says he will be careful throwing in Bailey's direction.
"There's a reason why Champ's been to eight Pro Bowls," Brady said. "He makes those plays; he's made them against us. He made them in the playoff game a few years ago. A bad throw, he's going to make the interception. It's not like you go in there saying, 'Let's figure out if Champ can beat us,' because he usually can."
Despite that praise, Bailey said he will not fall into the trap of being lulled to sleep by Moss or Brady. Moss is the type of player who can be quiet most of the game and then suddenly strike with a game-changing play.
"He has that deceptive speed," Bailey said. "He doesn't run fast, then all of a sudden he's top speed. He's just a dangerous guy. I look forward to that matchup, because if you can come out playing well against him, you know you're doing good things.
"When he's jogging, he's really just setting you up for the next time he jogs and then he takes off. He loves to find ways to set you up."
• Brady vs. Broncos defense. Denver has yielded a league-low 26 points in four games. A key to the Broncos' success has been red-zone stinginess. Opponents have scored just twice in seven trips to the red zone. When Brady and the Patriots get close, they need to cash in.
• Will any running back step up? Both teams will be without their leading rusher Sunday. Correll Buckhalter (high ankle sprain) will not play for the Broncos, while Fred Taylor (ankle surgery) is out for the Patriots.
Denver will look for rookie Knowshon Moreno to carry the running load, and the Patriots will turn to a committee featuring Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and perhaps BenJarvis Green-Ellis. If the Patriots cannot run effectively, it will make it easier for the Broncos to unleash their pass rush on Brady.


10-10-2009, 09:24 AM
ATT YOUMANS: Belichick-Brady wall too steep for Broncos

As far as coach-quarterback combinations go, it's tough to beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. If you bet the NFL, you want those two in your corner more often than not.

Brady is 23-1 straight up in his past 24 regular-season starts. Belichick is 24-9 against the spread in his past 33 games as a road favorite.

Who can top that?

The Josh McDaniels-Kyle Orton combination is off to a good start. The Denver Broncos are 4-0 straight up and against the spread with McDaniels and Orton calling the shots.

There are countless ways to handicap football. The simplest approach is to first look at the coach and quarterback, and in this case determine Belichick and Brady are far more reliable than McDaniels and Orton.

New England is at Denver on Sunday, when we're supposed to find out if the unbeaten Broncos are legitimate. The truth is the Broncos will be tough to beat all season because of their defense.

McDaniels obviously learned something about coaching while an offensive assistant to Belichick, and Orton is riding a lucky streak as the league's only regular starter not to throw an interception.

But the most important ingredient to Denver's success has been the 3-4 defense that coordinator Mike Nolan puts on the field. The addition of veteran safety Brian Dawkins as the leader was a shrewd move that got overlooked in the offseason.

Dawkins and the Denver defense have allowed 26 points through four games, and the Broncos shut out Tony Romo after Dallas scored 10 first-quarter points last week.

But the Cowboys lack competent coaching, Romo is erratic partly because he has mediocre receivers, and the Dallas defense ranks 26th in the league.

The Patriots have none of those problems. Belichick is not Wade Phillips, Brady can throw to Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and the New England defense ranks seventh in the league. When the Broncos blitz Brady, he can burn them. And Belichick's defense can rattle Orton.

I've been on Denver three times this season, so I'm a believer. But now the Broncos are running into the Belichick-Brady wall.

Belichick will school his pupil, and Brady will make the key plays as New England narrowly covers as a 3-point favorite. The line has dropped from 31/2, so lay the field goal.


10-10-2009, 09:27 AM
Point spread: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos

Without a doubt, one of the most bet on NFL games in Week 5 will be the match-up between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos and we bring you the latest point spread and lines on this Sunday football game. The New England Patriots (3-1) come out of a much needed victory against the Ravens, although stumbling against the Jets in the second week of the NFL season. The Pats will have plenty of opponent against the Denver Broncos (4-0) who are on a roll thanks to first-year coach Josh McDaniels, who was incidentally the former Patriots' offensive coordinator. And even though McDaniels initial actions at the Broncos were met with plenty of criticism, it's undeniable that the new coach is getting the job done and the Denver Broncos are on their way for the first time to a 5-0 start. Will the Broncos deliver on Sunday or will the Patriots prove the game against the Jets was just a fluke? Let's take a look at the point spread and betting odds to see how the sportsbooks perceive this Sunday football game.

Starting with the point spread and lines at our sportsbook of choice, Bookmaker, where we find the Patriots quite the favorite team, given the circumstances. At the bookie the Pats are -165 odds-on favorite to win the Sunday game, while the Broncos will come out on INVESCO Field at Mile High as underdog, holding a money line of +145 on victory. The New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos point spread is currently at -3 points chalk the Patriots, although the bookmaker has not agreed on a total just yet, bettors will have to check with the sportsbook later on for the expected total in the Patriots Broncos game. The betting trends, however, show that the New England Patriots are 5-2 against the spread in their last 7 games, but Denver is 10-3 against the spread in its last 13 games when playing at home against New England. The Broncos have also covered the spread 4 times out of their last 5 games.

Some injuries at both camps are bound to affect the outcome of the Patriots Broncos game this Sunday, although it looks like the Pats are in a worse shape. At the Patriots running back Fred Tayloris out for Week 5, while linebacker Jerod Mayo, safety James Sanders, wide receiver Wes Welker and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork remain questionable for the game against the Broncos. Silver lining is the status of Pats quarterback Tom Brady, who was upgraded to probable along with linebacker Adalius Thomas. Meanwhile in Denver only running back Correll Buckhalter and linebacker Spencer Larsen are out for the game against the Pats, with cornerback Alphonso Smith remaining questionable to play football on Sunday.


10-10-2009, 09:33 AM
McDaniels needs to beat New England. That just comes with the territory when coaching in Denver. It goes beyond Shanahan or Bradichick. Denver never lost to New England for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. It predates Elway.

10-10-2009, 09:45 AM
McDaniels needs to beat New England. That just comes with the territory when coaching in Denver. It goes beyond Shanahan or Bradichick. Denver never lost to New England for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. It predates Elway.

Denver needs to beat NE.

Unlike last years debacle.

10-10-2009, 10:02 AM
That just comes with the territory when coaching in Denver. It goes beyond Shanahan or Bradichick. Denver never lost to New England for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. It predates Elway.

You do realize this all means absolutely nothing, right? That 20 year period you referenced has no relation to today. And they beat the hell out of us last year without Brady.