January 19, 2014 at 10:33 AM #53067
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
The New England Patriots will make the trip over to Sports Authority Field to take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Both teams made good use of their respective bye weeks to prepare themselves for the divisional round, as New England thrashed Indianapolis, and Denver outlasted a San Diego team that’s had their number in recent years.
New England Patriots (13-4) at Denver Broncos (14-3)
Date: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM ET
Venue: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
City: Denver, Colorado
O/U Odds: 55.5
Spread: Denver -5.5
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady face off in the postseason once again after countless thrilling affairs back when Manning was in Indianapolis. This game will be the 15th matchup between the two, with Brady holding a 10-4 all-time edge against Manning, most recently a 34-31 overtime win in New England back in Week 12. The Patriots won despite trailing at the half 24-0 in that game.
Brady threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in that game, though he did commit two of New England’s six fumbles in the game. Manning threw for just 150 yards and two touchdowns with an interception in the game, as Bill Belichick was content to employ a strategy in which he took away the pass and let running back Knowshon Moreno do most of the work for the Broncos, carrying the ball 37 times for 224 yards and a score.
After giving the Broncos the run and taking away the pass in the first meeting, it would be interesting to see if coach Belichick reverses course and tries to let Manning beat him with his arm in cold conditions which he is notorious for struggling in. With that being said, Manning enjoyed a record season, throwing for NFL records of 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards to help the Broncos become the first team in league history to surpass 600 points in a single season. Manning is 10-11 in his career in the postseason, with a 1-2 career mark in New England – the lone win was also the only home game for Manning.
Denver lost cornerback Chris Harris in their last game which is bad news with Brady coming to town, as he ranks first in career postseason passing yards with 6,147. Both teams are dealing with a slew of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, with names like Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, and Von Miller also slated to be absent on Sunday.
As tough as it is to go against a Broncos team that has enjoyed a remarkable, record-breaking season, it’s even more tough to imagine Bill Belichick showing up to Denver without a brilliant plan for frustrating Peyton Manning. Tom Brady’s weapons are depleted but he’s still someone that’s easy to get behind this time of year.
The Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff games.
The play: New England +5.5
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