Monster Keys To The AFC Title


Monster Keys to The AFC Championship




Five straight AFC title games – let that sink in for a moment…..



Okay, lets continue, shall we. Five times in five years the Patriots have been in this position. Winning two and losing two, the luster was stripped off last seasons 45-7 drubbing of the Colts before most of us got to sleep, only to be re-polished with one of the greatest Superbowls ever played. It was just two short years ago that these same Broncos in this same building sent Brady and Belichick home early. And just two short months ago they handed them their first loss of the season. I know Bill and Tom want a bit of redemption come Sunday at 3 PM. Here are my keys to their doing just that.


A Mile High Gronking: For the first time in over a month we saw Rob Gronkowski allowed to be Rob Gronkowski. Against the Chiefs Gronk was let loose, busting up the seams and scaring Chiefs DB’s to the tune of seven grabs for 82 yards and two scores. This week expect to see more of the same.


Yac-Yac-Yac…YAC IT UP:   Now go back and sing that with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in your head. You love it…Yards after the catch are going to be a huge part in the success or failure of Sunday’s game plan. As much as it kills me to say this, I don’t want to see Steven Jackson or Brandon Bolden on the field except to pick up blitzes or be safety valves for the Patriots passing attack. The short passing game is the key to moving the chains this week. The YAC will determine the final outcome.


Get up early: Force the issue. Compel the Broncos to abandon their greatest strength – the running attack – and put the game on Peyton’s arm. Wow, I never thought I would ever think that never mind put it in a column – but that’s the ticket. This Denver rushing attack is clicking and as we know the Patriots rush D has not been stellar over the course of the season. Help out the front seven and make this a shootout. Don’t let Denver use their stretch running game to steal this one like they did the last game.


Keep Tommy Clean: while a lot of the credit to last weeks success in this area was due to the return of Julian Edelman the line did a great job keeping TB12 upright, this weeks test is going to be much tougher. Tom can’t win this game from his back.


Win the Turn over battle: Come on it’s the AFC title game; I’m not leaving that off the key ring.


Own third down: on both sides of the ball. Last weeks defensive showing on third down was abysmal as the Chiefs had a 60% efficiency rating by games end. A lot of that had to do with the legs of Alex Smith who rang up 44 of KC’s 135 rushing yards. This Sunday the Pats can’t allow the Broncos to sustain drives – get them off the field.


That’s it folks, that’s all I have to say. Last week Tom, Bill and the team turned each one of my keys and came out on top. This time of the year you need to do that, there are no skeleton keys. Every door has its own lock; you need to use them all if you want to work your way through the fun house and back to the ballroom.



As always follow / give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207