This Saturday, when Jack Plummer, Denver quarterback, is lining up under center, the temperature will drop to below freezing point and 77,000 intoxicated animals will be screeching his name out. The New England defense will be stared down its barrel full of intentions to cause damage, and in the middle of it all, the spirits of the Playoff Past, will be looming in the future and present.
The patriots, 11-6, will be hosted by the Broncos, 13-3, at eight in the evening in an AFC Divisional Playoff, with the victor going forward to contend with Indianapolis or Pittsburgh’ right to make for the Super Bowl’s venue. As a clear three-point favorite, the Broncos have been advanced. Denver has profited 11-4-1, while New England has attained 9-8 against the spread this year.
This game, for Plummer, reflects a coming together of the magical powers of football that determine his sporting life. Possibly, this could represent his final optimal chance to change the direction of not only his profession, but that of a Broncos franchise too continuing to seek an identity following the period after the Elway. In 2003 Plummer was brought to Denver after being saved from a horror in Arizona. To return this great team its original grandeur was his only aim. Well known for his buccaneer manner, the Snake continues his inclination for playing in important games in an unpredictable and frustrating way. Nevertheless, a capable and stern team is with him, and to play in the face of Denver fans, Plummer should finally come to his fore as everything is set for him.
This possibly pleasant and cozy tale has only one flaw. The New England Patriots are that flaw.
Tom Brady, the Plummer adversary, will lead the Patriots into the arena at Mile High. Mr. Clutch is Brady’s history: no error in tough conditions and without fear in major events. As a starter in the 10-0 playoffs he has not been defeated, and has scored two Super Bowl MVP’s.
The Patriots have reinvented the NFL dynasty since John Elway was leader of the Broncos in the back to back Super Bowl titles in 1998 and 1999. With a ten game post season run of wins they maintain a league record, and have winnings at three of the previous four Super Bowls, and are almost at the three-peat without precedent with only three wins only to go.
This Saturday, Denver gets its own double digit to keep. Ten successive home games have been wins. A seven to three career record belongs to Mike Shanahan in his games against the Patriots and against Brady is three to one.
A rematch of a week six game is the game that Broncos triumphed at Invesco Field by 28 to 20. In the game’s fourth quarter, Denver kept a lead of 28 to 6, yet had to keep a New England rally at bay. Not having Tedy Bruschi, Corey Dillon and Richard Seymour playing in the game.
It predicts brightly for the defending champions as the these clubs have played together before this coming weekend’s fight. On facing an adversary for the second time since 2001, the Patriots have an extraordinary 18 to 3. On losing the first match it still comprises a complete 6 to 0.
Not erring is the equation that the Patriots have been capable of bringing into their postseason competence. That’s not all, they also have the patience of Job when they face anticipating miscues from the opposition and so exploiting this situation. Over its ten game victory run, New England has a plus twenty differential.
In comparison with Denver’s plus twenty, the Pats, during the usual season, managed a minus six differential.
This Saturday, Plummer will be the central focus, for whatever happens. The Patriots ability to survive in the postseason depends on Denver’s blitz running charge. Consequently, there is no option for Belichik but to pile up eight in the box and to take the destiny of his team into the balance by putting Plummer in the appropriate position. Jack Plummer, all over again, will play in the clutch and crush someone’s heart with his playing. The questions is, which team will suffer by his playing a chief part in terminating its season?