The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are expected to play Sunday afternoon in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium. There is the chance that the Patriots turn up another positive COVID-19 test on Sunday morning, but as of right now, the Broncos and Patriots are going to be playing ball.
The Patriots opened their facility on Saturday after they had to close because of the coronavirus. Cam Newton tested positive for the virus two weeks ago and missed a pivotal showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. If Newton plays in that game, the Patriots may have very well won at Arrowhead.
The star of the defense, Stephon Gilmore, tested positive for the virus after the game against the Chiefs. Fortunately the Chiefs avoided catching it from Gilmore, especially Patrick Mahomes who was seen greeting him following the game. The Broncos have been caught in the middle of all this. They were prepping to play in a game that never happened last week.
The NFL decided to give the Broncos their bye week then. In other words, the Broncos didn’t receive much of a bye week. Naturally, players were not happy with the decision by the NFL to give a bye week to the Broncos during a week they were practicing. A week to rest and get healthier would have certainly done the Broncos some good.
In more bad news for the Broncos, running back Melvin Gordon received a DUI charge early in the week on Tuesday evening. Gordon is officially listed as out on Sunday with an illness. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton and right tackle Elijah Wilkinson are on the IR, so the offense is going to be short handed in Foxborough. Dependable tight end, Noah Fant, will not be playing this week, too.
One positive for the Broncos is the return of running back Phillip Lindsay. He is going to be back in the lineup at a time when the Broncos really need him. Quarterback Drew Lock is on schedule to take snaps for the Broncos in Week 6 as well. Conversely, the Patriots are injury free besides the COVID-19 issues. Bill Belichick has been mum on Newton’s status for Sunday, but it’s looking likely that he starts. Head below for our free Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots pick for October 18, 2020.
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots Week 6 Betting Odds:
Broncos vs. Patriots Prediction:
The injuries to the offense are a concern for the Broncos, but where I’m really focused is the injuries to their defense. The offense isn’t the only unit dealing with the injury bug on the Broncos. This for a defense that has had to prepare for two quarterbacks. Of course, much more time has gone into Cam, but they had to honor the possibility that he could be out again. The Broncos are dealing with eight defensive players on the IR, which includes linebacker Von Miller.
Everyone is already well aware of the injury to Von, but the blows on their defensive line are significant as well. Jurrell Casey, DeMarcus Walker, and Dre’Mont Jones are all ruled out for Sunday. And in the secondary, don’t forget about A.J. Boyue who is listed as doubtful on the Broncos’ injury report.
Cam has had to miss some time because of the coronavirus, but he’s an athletic quarterback that I could see going right into Sunday and not miss a beat against a banged up Denver defense. The Patriots kept things simple against the Dolphins in Week 1 and still kept the chains moving in a 21-11 win. That could be the gameplan on Sunday for the Patriot against the Broncos.
Sony Michel, Shaq Mason, and defensive end Derek Rivers were placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday. That’s unfortunate, but with James White back at running back and Damien Harris coming off an impressive performance against the Chiefs, losing Michel doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the injuries the Broncos are dealing with.
23-year-old Drew Lock might make his return to the lineup on Sunday. There’s a good chance that he will play. Belichick is a master at drawing up an effective gameplan against a young quarterback. In two games in 2020, Lock has passed for 236 yards with a touchdown. Nothing flashy, but I think the Broncos are going to need him to be a bit more flashy and step up with all of their injuries.
It would have been nice for Lock to have Fant or Sutton in the offense this week. Neither will play, though, which takes away an effective safety valve in Fant and the deep threat ability of Sutton. Expect Belichick to take away what’s left of this banged up Denver defense. This should be a ball control game for the Patriots. I like this game to play out like the Week 1 game for the Pats versus the Dolphin. A 10 or 14-point win for New England looks doable.