The Denver Broncos will host the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon in the AFC Championship Game. The contest is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the NFL Odds for the game have the Broncos favored by almost a touchdown in this contest.
Hard to believe the point spread is as high as it is for this contest. The Broncos proved why they were the best team in the NFL during the regular season, but the playoffs are a different story. New England was getting blasted by the Broncos in their meeting during the regular season but managed to come all the way back and win the game in overtime.
New England wasn't the best team on the road this season, going just 4-4 away from home. But in each one of those games the Patriots lost by only a single possession, dropping by a TD to Cincinnati, a field goal in overtime to the Jets, four points to Carolina and four to Miami.
So in the end, the oddsmakers made the Broncos a favorite of a touchdown. It does seem a bit high, especially with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's track record in the post season. In fact, without the two losses to the Giants in the Super Bowl we'd be talking about New England as the best football team ever with five championships in the modern era.
Peyton Manning has one of those championships, won in Indianapolis. This Broncos team has a QB in Manning that had the best statistical season ever with nearly 5,500 yards through the air and 55 TD passes. Those are video game type numbers, but it's why many believe Manning is the best quarterback ever. And with all the "Omaha" talk this week, we believe Manning will have a big game in this one.
One thing that has made New England tough to beat is their newly found rushing attack. Steven Ridley and LeGarrette Blount both ran for more than 750 yards this season and seven touchdowns. And New England averages nearly 4.5 yards per rush this season.
Denver's defense has been skeptical this season at times, so if Brady and company can move the football down the field, this could be a shootout. We like a high scoring affair here with neither defense really being able to stop the other team's offense. But in the end it should be a great game to watch.
We think Denver edges out New England by a slim margin.
Free Pick: Denver 35, New England 31
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