View Photo Gallery: The guy on the right, Von Miller, is as important to the Denver Broncos’ defense as the guy on the left, Tim Tebow, is to the offense. (Mark Leffingwell | Reuters)

Enough already with Tim vs. Tom II.

Let’s look at the defenses of the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.

The Broncos were able to create problems for quarterback Tom Brady when the teams played last month. Elvis Dumervil even got his hands on Brady late in the Patriots’ 41-23 victory in Denver.

“They did some things early on that we weren't as prepared for as we thought we were,” Patriots offensive lineman Brian Waters said. “It took us a minute to just understand exactly what they were trying to do for that day, we caught up to what they were trying to accomplish, and then we went from there.

“One of the great things about here are our adjustments to the fact that you never really know what a team is going to do until you actually get out there. Once we got out there and got a feel for what their gameplan was, I think we caught up to it and eventually end up producing more.”

One thing is certain: New England quarterback Tom Brady remembers what happened the last time he faced cornerback Champ Bailey in the playoffs. Six years ago, he watched Bailey return an interception 100 yards as Denver won 27-13. The loss ended Brady’s string of 10 playoff wins.

As for the Patriots’ defense, are you acquainted with the expression “bend but don’t break?” It’s as simple as that. New England was next-to-last in the league in pass defense and total defense. They were 15th in scoring defense and had a plus-17 turnover margin.

The formula is simple: force Denver to turn over the ball. Willis McGahee, one Denver writer’s nominee for the team’s MVP, must hold on the ball.

“Another football team that's in our way, stopping us from where we want to go,” McGahee said. “Just another football team.”


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Capsules, schedules: The divisional round