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BSN Breakdown: Broncos' real New England nemesis is Rob Gronkowski

Ken Pomponio Avatar
November 27, 2015


It’s Patriots Week, and here in Broncos Country – where dominating the AFC West has become an annual rite of passage – that’s become the Week.

And for a welcome change, the Patriots are coming to the Mile High City this time around, bringing their defending-Super Bowl-champion pedigree and an unblemished 10-0 record in tow.

Yeah, it’s Bill Belichick vs. Gary Kubiak and Tom Brady vs. Brock Osweiler I, but those aren’t the matchups the Orange and Blue should be concerned about.

A quick history lesson:

Since coming to New England in 2000, Belichick has won 73.8 percent of his games (206-73), replete with 15 winning seasons, six AFC titles and four Lombardi Trophies.

But Hoodie is a pedestrian 8-7 against the Broncos, including a 1-2 record in the postseason and a 3-5 mark in Denver, where his last two wins (in 2011 and 2003) have come against Denver teams quarterbacked by Tim Tebow and Danny Kanell, respectively.

Brady, meanwhile, has fared even worse with a 6-7 career record against the Broncos, including a 1-2 postseason mark and a 2-5 record in Denver. Not half bad considering the QB is a combined 185-48 (.794) against the other 30 teams.

So forget Belichick and Brady, the real Patriots thorn in the Broncos’ side has been Rob Gronkowski.

Now to be certain, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end is a matchup nightmare for everyone on the Patriots’ schedule – his 62 touchdown receptions in 75 career games is ample evidence there – but he’s been especially tough on the Orange and Blue, catching 34 of his 42 targets for 428 yards and five TDs in five career games, including his 10-grab, 145-yard, three-score showing in the 2011 divisional playoffs.

More importantly, though, the Patriots have won all five of those contests and have done so decisively, prevailing by an average score of 39-21. That list of decisive victories is topped by the 45-10 win in the 2011 divisional playoffs.

And the lone time the Broncos have beaten the Pats since Gronk entered the league as a second-round pick in 2010 – the 26-16 win in the 2013 AFC Championship Game – the tight end was out with an injury.


We think not, and Sunday night, the Broncos will have the opportunity to prove the sixth time is the charm when it comes to getting the best of Gronk and the Pats.


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