The New England Patriots are 22-8 in the postseason under coach Bill Belichick, and the teams that have beaten them have accomplished three things:
• Win the turnover battle
• Win the time of possession battle
• Win the field position battle
Can the Broncos replicate the formula? It doesn't look promising.
The Patriots have never lost a playoff game under Belichick when winning the turnover battle (15-0). No team that has beaten the Patriots in the playoffs under Belichick has recorded a second-half turnover in the game.
They had the worst turnover margin of any team that made the playoffs this season (minus-4).
Among qualified quarterbacks, Peyton Manning owned the NFL’s worst ratio of touchdown passes to interceptions this season: 0.53 (nine passing touchdowns, 17 interceptions).
Time of possession
The Patriots have had less time possessing the ball than their opponents in seven of their playoff losses under Belichick. The exception was in their 2010 divisional playoff win against the Jets.
Winning opponents have controlled the clock with the running game. In each of the Patriots' eight playoff losses, their opponent had at least 25 rushes and 90 rushing yards.
They had the second-worst time of possession margin this season (minus-6 seconds) among teams to qualify for the playoffs. (The Steelers were minus-1:11).
The Broncos ranked 24th in expected points added on rushes (minus-33 EPA), worst among the four remaining teams.
The Patriots’ average starting field position in their playoff losses is their 26-yard line (33-yard line in wins).
The Patriots have had a worse average starting field position than their opponent in six of their eight playoff losses. The exceptions were in the conference championship games against the Colts in the 2006 season and the Ravens in the 2012 season.
They ranked 27th this season in average starting field position on offense (their own 26-yard line), better than only the Texans among teams that made the playoffs.
The Broncos ranked 30th this season in average starting field position on defense (their opponent’s 31), worst among teams that made the playoffs.