The Dirty Dozen: Will Denver’s defense spell doom for Brady’s bunch?

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A few things to share while Tom Brady and Bill Belichick close in on Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll as the greatest quarterback-coach combo of all time.

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The Patriots were rock solid and workmanlike in beating the Chiefs Saturday, doing things the Patriot Way just as the doctor ordered and fans predicted. Brady gets back to the quick passing offense and throws first downs to a healthy Julian Edelman. Brady is back to firing touchdowns to a healthy Rob Gronkowski. The offensive line rallied to defend the wall and the defense stepped up to shut down Alex Smith’s passing game. The game wasn’t as close as the final 27-20 score would indicate.

The Herald’s Jeff Howe breaks down the Patriots ups and downs in Saturday’s divisional playoff win.

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Numbers game: Tom Brady continues to leave Joe Montana in the dust in the stats department. But Chad Finn says only wins and losses matter to TB12.

Speaking of numbers, the Patriots are now a 15/8 favorite to win Super Bowl 50.

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Peyton Manning took a page out of Bill Belichick’s book when discussing what’s next for his team.

“To kind of quote Bill Belichick, we’ll be on to New England,” Peyton Manning told CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson after the Broncos finished off the Steelers Sunday. “But I’ll be talking about them on Wednesday.”

When Belichick was asked how he felt about Manning paying homage to his 2014 battle-cry, he didn’t bite.

“I haven’t really given it any thought at all,” Belichick said. “Is that going to be the big story for the week?”

Belichick should just be thankful that Chandler Jones is off the table.

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While the 3-1/2-point-favorite Patriots look good on paper heading to Denver, it’s not a slam dunk that they are on to San Francisco.

(The Patriots Place via Facebook)
(The Patriots Place via Facebook)

The Patriots always have a tough time in Denver and Brady is 2-6 at Mile High and has lost he last two Championship matchups to Manning. The Broncos won’t drop 50 passes for the second week in a row. Peyton can’t throw more than 10 yards, but he’s still accurate.

Denver’s defense should put more pressure on Brady than the Chiefs front did and that couild be the difference in Denver.

But as Bill Parcells always said, the hardest thing to do is to beat a team twice in one season. More importantly, Edelman and Amendola were out the last time the two teams met in Denver when C.J. Anderson scrambled into the end zone for a 30-24 Broncos overtime win. Rob Gronkowski famously injured his knee during the game, Dont’a Hightower also exited early and defensive lineman Jamie Collins missed the game altogether with illness.

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The way-too-early weather forecast for Denver on Sunday looks good for football right now:

(Denver ABC-7)

Denver is always a tough place to play regardless of the weather. “Well, it’s a great football environment,” Brady said Monday on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show. “They’ve had some good teams when we’ve played out there. I didn’t realize we were 2-6. But their crowd gets into it. They’ve got a good team. Just like this year, the crowd will be into it. They’ll have a great team. We’ve got to just play our best. That’s what it comes down to.”

Look for the Patriots to travel Friday to get an extra day to adjust to the atmosphere and long trip west.

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Happy Anniversary Deflategate! One year ago today, this little report came out of Indianapolis: Kravitz: Source says NFL investigating if Patriots deflated footballs. And the saga continues in March at a courthouse near you. 

Kravitz looks back on the anniversary and how the story first broke.

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(The Patriots Place via Facebook)

Peter King looks back at Brady-Manning in TheMMQB: “Brady-Manning I was Tom Brady’s first NFL start. It came in September 2001, two games after 9/11. Before the game, Myers writes, Manning walked from his side of the field to Brady’s and stuck his hand out. ‘Hey, Tom,’ said the first pick in the 1998 draft to the 199th pick in 2000. ‘Peyton.’ Manning threw three interceptions that day and was yanked for—ready for this?—Mark Rypien. The Patriots rolled, 44-13. Fourteen years and four months later, they meet for what might be the last time.”

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The Walking Wounded: The injury report will come out Wednesday when the Patriots first take the practice field this week. For the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Sebastian Vollmer looked fine Saturday but now Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, and Chandler Jones are a little banged up. Overall, Patriots much healthier than they were in Denver the last time around.

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Three things for Patriots fans to forget about this week: 1. The Chandler Jones Saga. 2. Tom Brady’s needless near interception at the end of KC game. 3. A Burfict Storm Avoided: Danny Amendola lit up Jamell Fleming — who was attempting to field a punt — delivering some high heat near his collar bone.  “It was a legal play. We’re allowed to block him.” Amendola was only penalized two yards, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty, for the infraction.

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The Patriots-Broncos showdown would not be complete without a New York tabloid taking a shot at Tom Brady:

The Post was much kinder, with Mike Vaccaro’s tribute: We will never see another dynasty like these Patriots and Steve Serby telling us why no one will stop New England’s drive for five.

The New York Times took the high road in praising the Patriots winning ways.

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The sun goes up, the sun goes down, and opposing coaches complain about headset issues at Gillette. Andy Reid is the latest. This is a league and a Bose problem, but anytime the Patriots are involved, the finger gets pointed at Foxboro. Reid did not say whether a broken timepiece caused his atrocious clock management as he allowed time to tick away toward the end of the game.

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In case you were simply watching the Patriots-Chiefs battle and living in the moment Saturday afternoon, LeGarette %#@! Blount took the liberty of live tweeting the game for you:

Were you at the game on Saturday? Find yourself at Gillette here.

Until then, we’re on to Denver!

This is how the New England Patriots feel today → http://bit.ly/c3l3br4t3

Posted by JibJab on Monday, February 2, 2015