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Patriots at Broncos

By John J. Raspanti

12/18/11

New England (10-3) will attempt stop Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos (7-6) from winning their seventh consecutive game in an important AFC match-up.

The Broncos are in first place by one game over the Raiders. Denver snuck past the mistake prone Bears last weekend by the score of 13-10. Quarterback Tim Tebow has engineered four fourth-quarter comeback victories including two in overtime. Tebow is connecting on only 48 percent of his passes, but he does have 11 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions. The Broncos have been running the ball extremely well. Willis McGahee is closing in on a 1,000-yard season. Tebow has rushed for over 500 yards. Young wide out Eric Decker has caught 42 balls.

Denver’s defense is playing some inspired ball right now. Middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard (forced fumble against the Bears) has been outstanding leading the team with 83 tackles. Outside linebacker D.J. Williams is second with 75 tackles. Von Miller has sacked the opposing quarterback eleven times and recorded 62 tackles.

The Patriots will look to get their high-powered offense into gear early. Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 62 percent of his passes and thrown 33 touchdown passes. New England, who’s on a five game winning streak, snuck past the lowly Washington Redskins 34-27 on a last second interception. Brady’s receivers are a mixture of experience, grit and youth. Wes Welker has caught 100 passes and crossed the goal line nine times. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has broken all records with 15 touchdowns. Wide receiver Aaron Hernandez has quietly caught 59 passes. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for 618 yards on the ground.

The Patriot defense ranks dead last in the NFL. Injuries and bad execution have decimated the secondary. Coach Bill Belichick continues to look for improvement.

"We've tried to work hard on it," the coach said Monday. "There are still some things we can do better there."

Defensive players Kyle Arrington (72 tackles) and Andre Carter (10 sacks) have played well despite the struggles of their teammates.

The Bronco's are on a roll right now while New England has many questions on the defensive side of the ball. Denver will control the clock with their running game. Tom Brady will need to muster some big plays to lead New England to victory.

Bettorsworld Bottom Line - The Broncos are on a roll but the schedule has also cooperated. The last time they faced an offense like New England's, they were plastered by the Lions 45-10.

You can look at this one two ways. One being, if Tebow is going to have success throwing the ball against any team, this might be his week against that Patriot secondary. But, another way to look at it would be, if the Patriot secondary is going to have any success this year, this week against Tim Tebow might just be their week.

This game opened up New England -4.5 and has climbed all the way to -7.5. Only a fool would lay -7.5 points on an NFL game (or any game for that matter) when in fact he could have played the same game -4.5 or even -5.5 or 6 earlier in the week. So, we won't go there. Anyone betting the side in this game, would have to either take the Broncos, or pass, at the current line.

We mentioned teasers in the Giants write up. Bringing a 7 point favorite down to -1 can be profitable this time of year, although you'd prefer that the team be at home. If we were to use the Patriots side at all in this game, it would be at Patriots -1 as part of a 6 point, 2 team teaser.

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