BOSTON (CBS) – The Denver Broncos are getting ready for their playoff matchup with the New England Patriots this weekend, trying to stay confident that they can beat the Pats in the two team’s second meeting of the season.
“It’s a huge test, no doubt, to go up there against a very experienced team, a team that’s been playoff-tested,” Denver head coach John Fox said on Tuesday. “That’s why there are only eight of us left.”
When the two teams last met in Denver, the Broncos scored on each of their first three possessions, taking an early 16-7 lead. But three straight turnovers handed the Patriots 13 points, as they went on to score 27-unanswered over the second and third quarters.
“You do take some of the stuff out of the game; I think both sides will,” said Fox. “Both teams have changed some since we played last personnel wise. I’m sure they will do different things just as we will do different things. It’s like any other game that way.”
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“You definitely can find some positive things in that,” said quarterback Tim Tebow, who threw for 194 yards and ran for 93 against the Pats. “We drove the ball really well for most of the game. We had three turnovers where we dropped the ball on the ground, and we felt like we gave them – I don’t know how many points they got off of that – 13, 17 points, whatever they got off it. That gave them the upper hand, but I think if we can limit turnovers, play a very sound game and execute, I think we’ll have a chance.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” linebacker Von Miller said of getting another crack at the Patriots. “After playing them the first time and being able to see the type of football that they play and what type of team they are— they’re a great team; it’s not like it’s going to be easier or anything—we’ve just got a better understanding of what they’re trying to do. I’m sure they’ll change the gameplan too, so it’s just going to be another great week of preparation, and hopefully we can go in there and play the same type of Broncos football that we’ve been playing.”
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Denver is “mile high” after beating the Steelers in overtime on Sunday, but are trying to stay level-headed as they head to Foxboro.
“Whenever you’re playing an away game, there are going to be added elements to it,” said receiver Eddie Royal, who had three receptions and a touchdown against Pittsburgh but was held without a catch against the Pats in December. “You’ve got to really focus. The crowd noise is going to be there, but we’ve played enough away games to be prepared for this, and I think we’re ready for it.”
The Broncos know they’ll have to be better on both sides of the ball if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive Saturday night.
“(New England Head Coach Bill Belichick) is a great head coach. They have a great scheme, a lot of great players. They do a lot of different things,” said Tebow. “I think we have to be prepared. We will have a great game plan, but we have to be prepared for a lot of different looks and also do a great job on the sideline of adjusting to what they’re doing and making our corrections on certain things and having great communication on the side line as well. They do a great job. He’s confused a lot of great quarterbacks and stopped a lot of good offenses, so we’ll have to be prepared for a very good scheme and a very good defense.”
“We’ve got to be assignment-sound,” said Miller. “We can’t have as many errors as we did playing the first game. When you’re playing a great team, you can’t give them anything. The first game, we gave them a lot of stuff, and when you do that with great teams it’s going to be tough to win. Going into this game, we want to be assignment-sound. We want to eliminate all the technical errors and make them beat us.”
“We’ve always been serious. We know how important every game is, especially a playoff game, and we’re taking it that way,” said Royal. “We’re going out there, working hard every day in practice, and we know with how good this team is, how well we’ve got to play to beat them.”
Tune in to the Patriots-Broncos playoff game Saturday night at 8pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins Saturday at 5pm with Patriots Preview on 98.5, with a special edition of Patriots GameDay on WBZ-TV at 7pm. After the game, stay tuned for Patriots Postgame on The Hub, and Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.