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Broncos vs. Patriots

AFC Divisional Playoff

Pick With Analysis

1/14/12

In the 2nd game of the NFL Divisional playoffs round, the night cap, we have Tim Tebow and the Broncos, fresh off their upset of the Steelers heading East to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Patriots opened as a -14 point favorite and have slipped down to -13.5. The posted total is 50.5.

We had the Broncos on these pages last week over the Steelers and the game played out just as we expected it would, although with a few more point than we anticipated. The Steelers were more than ripe for the upset. The line of almost -10 at one point, was plain silly, and based on the Steelers past, not the current Steelers and their abilities, or lack thereof.

Different story this week. Yes, even the Pats line of -13.5 is a tad inflated. You're going to get inflated prices in the playoffs. But some teams, good teams, can cover those inflated prices, which is the way we are going in this one.

The Broncos played the Patriots tough at home a few weeks back. They went ahead early, rushing for 167 yards in the 1st quarter alone, more than any other team ever accomplished against Belichick 's Patriots, while building a 16-7 lead. But then the Broncos imploded. They turned the ball over and gave up 20 points in the 2nd quarter and the Patriots cruised the rest of the way to a 41-23 win.

It's not going to get any easier this time around. The edge at QB in this game is absolutely enormous. Players like Tom Brady step it up a notch in the playoffs. That is what makes them great. Sure, Brady has lost at home in the playoffs before, badly even. In fact, they lost their last two playoff games, last year to the Jets and the year before to the Ravens, but let's not mistake the Broncos for either of those two teams.

Brady is 14-5 in NFL playoff games. Tebow is 1-0. Give Tebow all the credit in the world but things figure to be much different this week. For starters, the Broncos had the luxury of playing from ahead for most of the game against the Steelers. What happens when the Pats go up two touchdowns and the Broncos have to come from behind? Everything changes. Note that the Pats are +17 in turnover margin while the Broncos were -14 this year.

We're not in the habit of laying double digits in NFL games. The only time we'll do it, is in the playoffs when one team is simply a dominating team. That's not the case here. The Patriots will always be vulnerable with that defense of theirs this year. We'd be very leery of the back door cover. But the feeling here is that the Patriots put this one away early and leave no doubt. Patriots -13.5 but not a key release.

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