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Broncos Vs. Patriots, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Running Game Should Be A Huge Factor For Denver

The Denver Broncos owned the No. 1 rushing game entering the 2012 NFL Playoffs with 164.5 yards per game. That should be no surprise given the team's turn to an offensive scheme that played to the strengths of Tim Tebow. Add in a resurgent Willis McGahee (seven 100-plus yard game and over 1,000 rushing yards) and the Broncos had a strong formula for success.

Related: NFL Playoffs Schedule

The Broncos were able to pile up 252 yards and three touchdowns in its December game against the New England Patriots. Tebow led the team with 93 yards and two scores while Willis McGahee picked up 70 yards in limited playing time. Lance Ball finished the game with 64 yards. It didn't help the Broncos win the game, as they lost, 41-23. But it does show vulnerable the Patriots defense is for this upcoming game.

Pats Pulpit is well aware of this and wants to see adjustments:

The key to slowing the Broncos is to slow their run attack, while not opening up the deep portion of the field. Maintain gaps and don't bite on the play action. In Week 15, the Broncos were able to run wild without any trickery; they just dominated the Patriots. The Patriots will have to step up their game to win this match-up.

But, as we saw last week, Tebow was able to exploit the Pittsburgh Steelers' No. 1 pass defense with an average of 31.6 yards per completion. Tebow needs to work on his short to intermediate throws, but his deep ball is the strongest part of his passing game.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more on this game, visit Broncos blog Mile High Report and Patriots blog Pats Pulpit. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more coverage of the 2012 NFL Playoffs.