Patriots offensive line vs. Broncos defensive line
The Patriots offensive line suffered a blow after losing starting tackle Sebastian Vollmer for the year; Marcus Cannon has slid in to Vollmer’s starting position. The O-line has allowed Tom Brady to be sacked 28 times on the season, tied for 12th most in the league, while their 181 yards lost on sacks ranks them tied for 14th. The O-line allowed Brady to be sacked four times last year against the Broncos, and it is no question that Brady will need a good amount of protection if the Patriots hope to put up big numbers in their showdown with Denver.
Denver’s defense had some big holes to fill earlier in the season, as Elvis Dumervil left for Baltimore after a resigning mishap and Von Miller was suspended for the first six games of the year. Miller is back, however, and the Broncos have been able to tune up their pass rush since his return, recording 29 sacks in the 10 games they have played. Miller is still getting back into his rhythm on defense, but has sacks in back-to-back games and will be a force to be reckoned with if he gets back into the form that saw him record 11.5 sacks in 2011 and 18.5 sacks in 2013.