The AFC Championship game has boiled down to the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots, Sunday Jan 19th, as two legendary NFL quarterbacks meet up for the 15th time. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will both end up in the Hall of Fame, but Brady has been the clear-cut winner when it comes to head-to-head matchup. Brady is 10-4 all-time when starting at QB against a team starting Peyton Manning at QB. Oddsmakers are favoring the Broncos by -4.5 points with the total set at 54.5 points. Manning and Brady have battled in the rain, in the snow, in the sun and under the moon. It is one of the best rivalries we have ever seen. It’s Magic and Bird. It’s Ali and Frazier, Chamberlain and Russell. Both teams are capable of winning not only this game but also the 2014 Super Bowl.
The Patriots edged the Broncos, 34-31, in overtime at Gillette Stadium in Week 12, as Brady outplayed Manning in front of his home crowd. However, Denver has been tough to beat at home this year, losing just one game—to the San Diego Chargers in Week 15.
Things will be a bit different for Denver’s defense against New England because RB LeGarrette Blount has become a wrecking ball for the Patriots since being inserted into the starting lineup at the end of the season. He’s carried the ball 24 times in both of his last two starts, rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo in Week 17 and 166 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round.
Patriots CB Aqib Talib will have his hands full against Denver’s potent aerial attack. He’ll likely be matched up with Demaryius Thomas or Decker for most of the game, and he was superb in this capacity the last time the two teams met.
Denver simply has too many weapons on offense to be stopped. If not for a couple of flubs by Decker in the divisional round, then the Broncos would have cruised to a blowout win over the red-hot Chargers—a team that had appeared to have Manning and the offense’s number during the regular season.
The key to creating turnovers against New England is rattling Tom Brady. Shuan Phillips has become the team’s most disruptive pass-rusher.He racked up 10 sacks during the regular season, and he took down Philip Rivers twice in the divisional round. Another stellar showing from the veteran linebacker/defensive end will give the Broncos an excellent chance to move on with a big win at home.
Recent Trends to Consider and NFL Points Spreads:
Patriots are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.
Broncos are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games in January.
Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings in Denver.
New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos
When: Sunday Jan 19@3:00 PM ET
Pick: Pats +4.5
The Bottom Line: Bill Belichick’s team will make it interesting. No team is as reliably good as the Patriots about coming up with effective game plans to shut down opposing offensive strengths. Combined with New England’s balanced offensive attack, this is sure to be a close contest. We recommend you signup with Carbonsports to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into the AFC Championship matchup.