News & Analysis

NFL Week 10 Preview: Patriots at Broncos

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: Running Back James White #28 of the New England Patriots has a long gain against the New York Jets on November 27, 2016 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Patriots defeated the Jets 22-17. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots visit the Denver Broncos in Week 10 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.

PFFELO Ranking: 1

Coverage by: Andrew Fleischer

Matchup: New England Patriots offense vs. Denver Broncos defense

  • RB James White vs. CB Bradley Roby – James White’s overall grade of 72.4 ranks him slightly above-average among running backs. Of course, he’s no average running back, as his 43 receptions are the second-most of any running back in the league, and tied for 15th among all players. His 84.3 receiving grade, sixth among running backs, reflects his prowess in the passing game, as does his 2.01 yards per route run, the fourth best mark for his position. When he lines up as an outside receiver on the left side, he’ll draw the coverage of Bradley Roby. Roby is the Broncos’ most frequently targeted cornerback, thrown at once every 5.1 snaps in coverage (tied for fourth most out of 73 eligible cornerbacks), and he’s allowed 1.21 yards for every snap in coverage, 22nd among eligible cornerbacks.

James White, running back, New England Patriots

  • WR Danny Amendola vs. CB Chris Harris – Danny Amendola should see an increased workload with the expected absence of Chris Hogan. His catch rate of 75.7 percent from the slot is the ninth best among wide receivers with at least 121 routes run from the slot, while his 1.85 yards per route run is the 23rd highest mark among 87 wide receivers with at least 145 snaps in route. He’ll face a significant challenge lining up against one of the most efficient slot cornerbacks in the NFL in Chris Harris. Harris has allowed a slot reception for every 16.3 snaps aligned there, the third best among eligible cornerbacks. Opposing quarterbacks prefer to avoid him altogether, as evinced by his 9.8 snaps per target in slot coverage, making him the third-least targeted slot cornerback in the league.
  • RB Dion Lewis vs. LB Brandon Marshall – Dion Lewis’ 34 snaps in Week 8 were the most he’s seen all year. His overall grade of 82.9 is the sixth best among all running backs with at least 124 snaps, and his elusiveness remains outstanding; his elusive rating of 90.4 is the third highest of 50 running backs with at least 49 attempts. He’ll be working to avoid the waiting arms of Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall. Marshall’s 70.0 overall grade through eight games is his lowest since 2013, and his performance against the run is the main culprit. His 5.0 run-top percentage is 51st among 55 eligible linebackers, while his tackle efficiency rating of 7.5 is 48th among 58 linebackers with 49-plus run snaps.

PFFELO Ranking: 22

Coverage by: Daniel Cohen

Matchup: Denver Broncos offense vs. New England Patriots defense

  • RB Devontae Booker vs. LB Kyle Van Noy – The Broncos’ running back situation has become a three-man committee, and over the last two weeks Booker has run the most routes in the group (34 routes). His average of 1.98 yards per route run leads all Broncos running backs, and he has an exploitable matchup this week against Van Noy. Van Noy is allowing 1.34 yards per coverage snap, seventh most among 4-3 outside linebackers, and his total of 305 yards allowed ranks eighth among all linebackers. In a game where the Broncos will likely be playing from behind, look for them to key in on this matchup in the passing game.

Devontae Booker, running back, Denver Broncos

  • WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. CB Johnson Bademosi – The Broncos could see a lot of this matchup and will need to exploit it whenever possible. Bademosi ranks just 83rd of 114 cornerbacks in coverage grade (56.8), and has allowed 71.4 percent of his targets into coverage to be completed. Sanders returned from injury last week but was ineffective, recording just one reception with one drop on five targets. This week presents a great opportunity for him to get back on track, as Sanders has graded above average in all four home games he’s played in this season.
  • T Garett Bolles vs. Edge Deatrich Wise – The rookie matchup to watch is between the Broncos left tackle and Patriots right end. Bolles has had an up and down rookie year thus far. He has allowed 25 total pressures, including three in each of the past three games, which is 12th most among all tackles. Wise has proven to be a nice addition to the Patriots defense, as evidenced by his 25 total pressures, second most on the team. Wise has been in a bit of a slump, as he has now played four straight below average games after starting the year with four straight above average games. He’ll look to turn things around in a rookie-on-rookie matchup against Bolles.

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