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Broncos host Pats with playoff fate in balance


Los Angeles (AFP) – The Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos close the NFL regular season with three do-or-die games, none more important than Sunday’s clash with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC title game.

“We’re going to have to play exceptional from here on, especially this week,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said of the task facing his 8-5 team.

Kubiak calls the 11-2 Patriots “the best team in football”. Brady and the Pats are closing in on the AFC East division title and a first-round bye. With a victory, New England will become the first team in NFL history to win eight straight division titles.

Brady, who has 22 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in nine games this season, will be in the crosshairs of the Broncos defense.

“He is the best quarterback in the league,” said Denver defender Aqib Talib, an ex-Patriot who is looking forward to taking it to his former team.

Last January, Denver’s dominant defense, led by Von Miller, sacked Brady four times, pummelling him en route to a 20-18 victory in the AFC championship game that sent the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

With Peyton Manning retired and quarterback Trevor Siemian now guiding the Broncos, and with Denver depleted defensively by key injuries, Brady still expects a tough game at Mile High Stadium.

“We just need to play better than the way we’ve been playing out there,” said Brady, who added he’s trying to use last year’s disappointing defeat as a learning tool.

“I think you always remember those feelings and you remember the circumstances of the game,” Brady said. 

“Of course, to watch that game again — I watched it a bunch this offseason — but to watch it again, you’re just trying to do things better than the way we’ve done them. If you want a different outcome then you’ve got to do things differently and we’ve got to play better. I think that’s what it comes down to.

“I think about the things that I need to do better. We’ve been close, but close is not good enough when you play in the NFL. You’ve got to be able to finish your job.”

– Playoff race wide open – 

With just three weeks left in the regular season, a whopping 26 teams are still in playoff contention.

The Dallas Cowboys, the only team so far to punch their post-season ticket, can clinch the NFC East division and a first-round bye with a victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a New York Giants loss to the Detroit Lions — who are chasing a first division title in a quarter of a century.

The Cowboys’ rookie quarterback Dak Prescott endured his worst performance of the season in a 10-7 loss to the Giants last week, sparking fan calls for him to be benched in favor of former starter Tony Romo — whose pre-season injury sent Prescott into the starting role in which he has starred.

Prescott says he’s ignoring the noise as he tries to keep the Cowboys on course for a first-round bye.

“I just have to stay focused,” Prescott said. “I know what I can do. I just have to continue to do that.”

In other key games, the Tennesse Titans visit a Kansas City Chiefs team that owns the third-best record of the season (10-3) and can book a playoff spot with a victory.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. daniel

    May 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    why is this on this site?

  2. Rick

    December 16, 2016 at 12:01 am

    What does this have to do with “football”?

  3. landon

    December 15, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Not sure why anyone on this site would like the NFL being that it doesn’t have any British accents or teams called United….

  4. ribman

    December 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    World Soccer Talk right – am I missing something?

    • RJ

      December 15, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Not sure why someone gave you a thumbs-down. Why the hell is this posted to a soccer site?

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