The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots will square off in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, at 3 pm est. in Denver. The Broncos are 3 point home underdogs with a total of 44.5. Those odds are current as of Monday at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Now, one of the biggest mistakes a handicapper can make is to give too much weight to the very last Game each team has played. We see this mistake made during the regular season all the time. Team A blows another team out 44-7 and in the same Week Team B comes up flat. Team A and Team B play the following week, everyone jumps on Team A, and what ends up happening? Right, Team B wins easily. That scenario would have everyone jump on the Pats this week, who obviously looked better in their Game than the Broncos did in theirs.
Well, we’re going to jump on the Patriots, but it’s because of the entire season as a whole, iNCluding last weeks results.
First, let’s toss the Broncos-Pats Game from the end of November. That was a Brock Osweiler led Broncos team against a Pats team that was without Edelman and Amendola. The Pats also lost Gronkowski and Hightower to injuries that Game. As it turned out, the Broncos never had the lead in that Game until the 1:09 mark of the 4th quarter, having come back from a 21-7 deficit. The Broncos won in OT 30-24.
Speaking of Brock Osweiler, we actually think the Broncos chances would be better with him behind center. There’s no question (in Our minds) that this will be Manning’s last hurrah. He’s just not the same and win or lose this week, he’s going out on top. Give him all the credit in the world. But he simply doesn’t have it anymore. Even his short throws don’t have the zip they need to have, and downfield? Forget about it. He still does a fantastic job of managing the Game and reading defenses, but if you can’t deliver the ball where it needs to go, Game over.
So for the Broncos to win, it all comes down to their very good defense. They’ll need to pound the ball offensively with the running Game and short passing Game and they’ll need to contain Brady and his cast of characters. Much easier said than done when you consider that, other than a couple of meaningless Games down the stretch, no team has been able to stop the Pats offense. 28, 40, 51, 30, 34, 30, 36, 27, 27, 20, 24, 28, 27 and 33. That’s the Patriots offensive point production prior to those two meaningless Games. Oh, and 27 last week against the Chiefs. That’s an average of 30.8 points per Game. Can we count on Manning and company to Score31? Well, they scored 31 points just oNCe all year and that was on September 17th.
No playoff write up would be complete without Our models prediction. This is going to mess up Our rhythm here with the direction we’re going, but Our model, when using full season data, predicts a Broncos win by a score of 23-20.
But we just don’t see it. Brady has too many weapons. Too many targets. At this stage of the Manning vs. Brady rivalry, Brady is the MUCH better QB with MUCH MORE GAs left in the tank and NO signs of slowing down. Patriots -3 -115