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AFC Conference Championship Picks
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Date: Sunday, 1/19/14
Time: 3:00pm on CBS
Game Line: Denver Broncos -4.5 (from G)
Sunday NFL Playoffs AFC Conference Championship Football Analysis: In a season in which Peyton Manning beat Tom Brady’s single season touchdown record, it’s only fitting that these two would meet with the AFC crown on the line. While the quarterbacks will share the spotlight all week long it will be the play in the trenches and running games that could play a major factor in who advanced to the Super Bowl. This could be the final matchup between these two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Brady has won 10 of 14 matchups against Peyton Manning’s teams including a 2-1 advantage in the post season, the home team has won all three games. This duel is drawing comparisons to many of the great one on one iconic sports match ups of all time like Palmer-Nicklaus, Ali-Frazier and Bird-Magic. However, the quarterback play won’t be the most important factor in deciding who advances to the Super Bowl. New England’s new found power running game behind LeGarrette Blount, who only had two carries for 13 yards the last time these two teams met, should be more of a factor now that the Patriots are without tight end Rob Gronkowski. He has posted 189 and 166 rushing yards in his last two games and the Patriots have really leaned on him without their big name play makers on the outside. The emergence of a New England running game that also features Stevan Ridley has taken the pressure off Brady, who was sacked 40 times this year for his highest total since 2001. One of Brady’s best efforts this season came against Denver, as he completed 34 of 50 passes for 344 yards, three scores and no interceptions. On the other side of the ball Knowshon Moreno had a career high 224 yards when these two teams met in November. With both offenses wanting to keep the opposing quarterback off of the field, it could be the team that runs the ball more effectively that finds a way to win this game. Peyton Manning is just 6-11 against Patriots coach Bill Belichick in his career, he knows what it takes to slow him down and we don’t see this week being any different. The Patriots running game combined with a couple forced errors from Peyton Manning will make the difference in what should be a post season matchup for the ages.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Free NFL Picks: New England Patriots +4.5 and over 55
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Game Prediction: 31-27 New England
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: The New England Patriots have always known the recipe to slow down a Peyton Manning led team. Mix up your defensive schemes, don’t baulk on all of his fake play call changes at the line of scrimmage, blitz often and keep him off balance. On the other side of the ball it will be the running game that will carry the Patriots, not Tom Brady as in years past. He doesn’t have the weapons he once had but using the run and a mix of hurry up offense to keep Denver’s defense off balance will allow for a few big plays and keep the Broncos guessing. New England has the better defense and the better running game and that is what it takes to win a road playoff game. Tom Brady will extract his revenge over the single season touchdown passing record and send his team back to the Super Bowl again in 2014.