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Trends - Analysis
Sunday Night Football will be a rare treat for fans and bettors alike as the Denver Broncos (9-1, 3-1 away) travel to take on the New England Patriots (7-3, 5-0 home) at 8:30 ET. Denver is currently a 2.5 point favorite at sportsbook.com. The public is backing Brady and company to the tune of 65%. The current total is 54 and 72% of the wagers have come in on the over.
The NFL's Golden Boy, Tom Brady, could be seen screaming in hysterical fervor at one of the referees who decided to pick up a flag on the last play of the Carolina game, which would have likely led to a Patriots win. As time expired, Brady targeted TE Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. It was an incomplete pass, but instant replay showed that a Panthers DB had Gronkowski wrapped up and tackled in a manner that was certainly pass interference.
Brady isn't one to dwell on such things and declared in the press conference immediately thereafter that it was in the past and now was the time to focus on the Denver Broncos. Undoubtedly the #1 team in the AFC, the Broncos will present a test the likes of which the Patriots haven't had in a long time.
The Broncos are exiting a 27-17 win over divisional foe Kansas City. The Chiefs sack happy defense didn't get near Peyton Manning the entire game and the defense held up exceptionally well. Without pressure on Manning, it's hard to imagine anyone beating the seemingly unstoppable Broncos.
New England's defense will present a challenge. They sacked the shifty Cam Newton three times and had him under pressure several times. The week prior to that, they had Ben Roethlisburger on his rear end five times. Even without Vince Wilfork, the Patriots are getting the job done up front. They rank 12th against the pass at 229.2 YPG. They made Drew Brees look like an amateur in Week 6 at home, holding one of the NFL's best passers to 17/36 for 236 YDs, 2 TDs, 1 INT and a 75.4 QB Rating.
This game could come down to how well Tom Brady and his receivers play. Denver has a good defense, but is 28th in the NFL against the pass and has been burned by Andrew Luck and Tony Romo on the road this year. If Luck and Romo can get to them, Brady can too. The return of RB Shane Vareen has been huge for the offense. He is a more than capable runner, but is also great at catching passes out of the backfield. Needless to say, having TE Rob Gronkowski is huge too.
The Patriots figure to try to do all they can to make Peyton Manning ineffective, so RBs Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball have to step up to the plate with big games. Georgia alum Moreno is coming into his own in his fifth year in the NFL and his 8 TDs he has at this point is more than any in his previous four years. Rookie Montee Ball is still learning the ropes, but has shown he has what it takes to be a NFL RB. This two pronged attack will serve Denver well.
Our model has the Broncos on top by 5 points in a high scoring game that flies well over the posted total of 54. However, we're going to disagree and go against our model here. We think this situation sets up perfectly for the Patriots. Both of these teams are coming off HUGE emotional games. For the Broncos, they won their big game against the Chiefs while the Patriots lost in Carolina in a game that ended with that controversial no call to end the game.
We won't call it a letdown for the Broncos as it's hard to imagine then not getting "up" to play the Pats. But coming off a big win plus traveling across the country to take on a pissed off Pats team that really needs this game is enough for us. Pats are tough at home. Patriots +2.5
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