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News Blitz 10/27: Broncos game is 'the battle of the AFC'

In this edition of the News Blitz we recap some of the big performances from the Patriots win against the Bears and preview the upcoming game against the Broncos.

After an extended 10-day rest in between games, the Patriots came out on fire and steamrolled the Bears en route to a 51-23 win.'s Erik Frenz and ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss posted their weekly stock reports yesterday after the game and both writers had Darrelle Revis, Brandon LaFell, and Rob Gronkowski on the rise. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the normally sure-handed Julian Edelman found his name on the down list after having two drops for the second straight week.

"Safe to say Darrelle Revis showed up on time today," says Erik Frenz. "It's been an up-and-down season for Revis at times, but the All-Pro cornerback has shown he's still capable of shutdown performances against the game's best receivers."

In a recent Boston Globe article, Chris Gasper explains how Rob Gronkowski's revival has changed the Patriots offense. Gasper says that Gronkowski makes everyone on the offense better, including the quarterback who had a pretty good game as well. The only thing that slowed Gronk down was dehydration. The Patriots star tight end left the game in the third quarter and didn't return.

"Gronkowski said he has to make sure he keeps on drinking. That's usually not a problem for him," jokes Gasper. "If Gronkowski can stay healthy all season — a big if — the Patriots could have a cause for celebratory drinks this season."

In addition to Gronk's revival, Brandon LaFell's emergence as a consistent target has helped the offense reach new levels. ESPN Boston's Lee Schechter says that LaFell has stepped into a bigger role and made the most of his opportunities.

With the Patriots' offense clicking, it seems like the team is hitting a peak at the right time as the Denver Broncos come in to town next Sunday. Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet says that both the Patriots and Broncos are hitting a crescendo heading into their week nine showdown. Curran believes that the Patriots and the Broncos are the two best teams in the NFL right now and that the winner of Sunday's game will have a leg up in the race for the No. 1 seed.

"The Patriots have had some character-builders already this year. Sunday's was the latest, coming off a 10-day layoff and a less-than-impressive win over the Jets," writes Curran. "We've found out a lot about the Patriots in the first eight games. We'll start finding out about Denver next Sunday."

The Patriots aren't taking any time to celebrate their win against the Bears -- they're on to Denver and they're ready for a battle. Darrelle Revis told WEEI's Christopher Price that next Sunday's game is 'the battle of the AFC' and he's looking forward to the matchup.

"These are the games you want to play for. I can speak for everybody who is on this team — we live for games like this for next week," said Revis according to Price. "We want this one. We really do. We're a team on a mission. It's going to be two great teams out there, and we're looking forward to it."

Darrelle Revis knows what's at stake in this game and he knows that this is why he was brought here -- to help stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. The Boston Globe's Ben Volin says that Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner matched up well against the Bears big receivers and essentially shut them down. But Sunday's game against the Broncos will provide a much bigger challenge because of the quarterback their facing.

"The Patriots will certainly be OK with Browner getting a little physical next Sunday against the Broncos," believes Volin. "And they'll need Revis to help lock down the Broncos' passing game.The Patriots have a shorthanded defense without Jones and Jerod Mayo, but with Revis and Browner in the secondary, they're carrying some swagger into next week's showdown."

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