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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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    Yesterday - 9:33 AM

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos NFL Point Spreads

The New England Patriots look to secure a sixth Super Bowl berth in the past 13 years on Sunday afternoon when they pay a visit to Mile High Stadium to take on the Denver Broncos, who are seeking their first AFC Championship since 1998. The game will be televised on CBS and has a start time of 3:00 pm (Eastern). Current odds have Denver listed as 5.5 point favorites, while the total sits at 56.

Analysis: The New England Patriots made it to this game by dispatching the the Indianapolis Colts by a 43-22 score. In the game, Tom Brady had a weak performance, throwing for just 198 yards on 13 of 25 passing and he had no TD's. Tom Brady is 10-4 head-to-head versus Manning, including 2-1 in the postseason, but is just 2-4 SU all-time in Denver. New England overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit in a 34-31 home win in Week 12 over the Broncos, as Brady threw for 344 yards and 3 TD. Starting with the comeback win over Denver, the Patriots offense has been rolling with 33.3 ppg on 419 ypg in their past seven games. The Pats have been working on their running game of late as they have rushed for 214 ypg in their last 3 games and the man mostly responsible for this improved ground game is RB LeGarrette Blount, who has rushed for 431 yards on 64 carries (6.7 YPC) and eight touchdowns over those 3 games. The New England defense has had its problems throughout the season, but the unit has allowed only 21.2 ppg on the year, and just 16.3 ppg during its three-game win streak.

The Broncos have won three straight games by an impressive 17.0 PPG, and are 5-3 ATS (8-1 SU) at home this season. Denver didn't play their best game last week, but they did enough to beat the San Diego Chargers and move on to this showdown with the Patriots. Peyton Manning improved his career playoff record to 10-9 last week, while increasing his postseason stats to 5,488 passing yards, 33 TD's and 22 INT. These numbers are similar to what he's done in 15 career games versus New England (5-10 record), where he has 4,225 passing yards (7.2 YPA), 31 TD and 20 INT. Manning has relied on four main pass catchers this season in WRs Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, and TE Julius Thomas, while Knowshon Moreno leads and average Bronco ground attack that ranks 15th in the league.  The Bronco defense has been playing at a very high level over the team's three-game win streak, holding opponents to 14.7 ppg and 251 ypg. That's a huge improvement from what the Broncos gave up in their first 14 games of the year (26.6 ppg and 372 total ypg).

Pick: I will be going with the Over in this game. This will not be a ball control game. the Patriots will run some but that will only set up for deep passes downfield as they look to take advantage of a Denver secondary that is missing Chris Harris. This team has really struggled when he has been off the field and last week when he got hurt, the Chargers put all 17 of their points on the board with him off the field. I expect Brady to have a field day with this defense. On the other side we have a bronco team that was the highest scoring team in the history of the NFL and they put up 37.8 ppg on their home field. The Broncos played a conservative game vs the Bolts and it almost cost them. They won't do that here as i look for Peyton to air it out all day long and wok on a Patriot defense that was 18th in the league vs the pass. Manning only threw for 150 yards in the earlier loss to the patriots, so I would look for him to bounce back from that effort. This one should be a fun one and the weather should be great as well, as both teams put up at least 28 points in this one.    

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