QB Tim Tebow and QB Tom Brady meet in a battle of one of the elite signal callers in the game and one of the most criticized ones. It should make for a great battle on the NFL betting lines when the Denver Broncos take on the New England Patriots for the second time this year.
Year To Date Record: 60-63 ATS
Upset Record: 18-35, -$930
Divisional NFL Matchup: Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Date: Saturday, January 14th, 8:00 ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
NFL Divisional Lines: New England -13.5
Divisional NFL TV Schedule: CBS
Broncos Notes: We were on the Tebow bandwagon last week against the Steelers when we saw just how badly that the black and gold were beat up coming into the game. This week, we are wondering if we don’t see another problem to exploit. The Patriots in general, are just a rather soft team, and this Denver team is as rough and tumble as it gets. Obviously, Denver can’t afford to get into another track meet with the Patriots like it did a month ago, or it is going to become an ugly, ugly game. However, the Broncos offensive line was able to really hold down the fort to give Tebow time in the pocket to make up his mind about the option, running the ball, or throwing it against the Patriots in the first half of the first meeting. It obviously didn’t happen in the second half. The Broncos have to force some turnovers, just as they did last week against the Steelers, and if that’s the case, the ground game and the defense might be able to do enough to get the job done. This front seven had a great game against Big Ben, and the offensive line for New England is beat up just enough that it might be in a similar spot. LB Von Miller and DEs Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil are going to have to be big, just as they were last week when they combined for three sacks between them.
Patriots Notes: When you look at the numbers for the Patriots this year, you have to be amazed at what they were able to accomplish. They ranked No. 2 in the game in both passing offense (318.0 YPG) and total offense (428.2 YPG), and they were No. 3 in scoring at 32.1 points per game. They dropped at least 30 points on 12 different opponents this year, and at least 27 in all but three games. QB Tom Brady threw for 5,239 yards, which would have been an NFL record if not for the fact that QB Drew Brees obliterated him by 200 yards this year. TE Rob Gronkowski broke the record for the most yards by a tight end in a single season with 1,327, and he also broke the tight end scoring records for a single season with 17 receiving scores and one on the ground. WR Wes Welker caught 122 passes and had 1,573 yards and nine TDs, while both TE Aaron Hernandez (910 yards, 7 TDs) and WR Deion Branch (702 yards, 5 TDs) both had amazing seasons as well. Sure, the ground game was a bit all over the place, but that was really nothing to worry about when there was a passing game that was this good. The defense struggled, but the offense made up for it in virtually every instance. Then we look back at the schedule this year… New England only played three playoff teams, one of which was this Denver outfit. The other two games? A loss to the New York Giants, and a loss to the Steelers. Then you look back at the last four seasons. In New England’s last four playoff games, it has only averaged 17.5 points per game, and Brady has as many TD passes as he does picks (seven of each). By the way, the Pats have lost three playoff games in a row, and they have failed to cover the spread in six in a row.
The Final Word: So up comes the question on Sunday. What was worse, Denver’s schedule, or New England’s schedule? Here’s what we now know. The Broncos aren’t afraid. They are going to use their game plan whether it works or not, and they are going to be a physical team that tries to be the smarter of the two sides. If there’s a coach that can do it, John Fox is the man. We do think that the Brady Bunch will find a way to survive to go on to host the AFC Championship Game, but we also think that this will serve as a stern, stern warning about how much these Pats may struggle in the playoffs.
Divisional NFL Pick: Denver +13.5
NFL Football Prediction: New England 23 – Denver 20