Tom Brady and the Patriots will march into Denver and try to dethrone Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos later today.
On paper, Denver wins this game and they win it easily. They are the more talented team. Peyton Manning has all the weapons on offense. He has Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside and Welker as his slot guy between the numbers. He also has the receiving tight end Julius Thomas, who did not play in the week 12 matchup between these two teams. The Broncos are going to be able to move the ball on this Patriots offense. The way the Patriots can stop Manning and the Broncos before they reach the end zone is they need to put pressure on Peyton Manning. How do they do that? With Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. These two men need to be able to put pressure on Manning from the outside, forcing him to move around, which will ultimately force Manning into mistakes. And when Manning makes these mistakes, the Patriots need to capitalize on them.
On offense, the Patriots need to be able to move the ball on the ground. Blount and Ridley need to be huge this game. And the offensive line needs to keep opening up monster holes for these two running backs. They also need to protect the ball. If the Patriots turn the ball over like they did in week 12 against the Broncos, they will not win this game. Brady and company will not be able to come back from a 24-0 deficit in a playoff game in Denver, simple as that. Good news for the Patriots passing offense is top corner back Chris Harris has been ruled out for this match up. This should help free up Edelman and Amendola even more so they can do their damage underneath. But this will also open up the game for Dobson and Thompkins down the field, which is something the Patriots offense desperately needs, a deep threat.
This game will go one of three ways; the Patriots/Broncos win a close one or the Broncos blow the Patriots out. The Patriots will not blow the Broncos out in Denver in a huge game with their roster, it just will not happen. That being said, I like the Patriots winning a close one in Denver 35-31.
Bill Belichick is 6-1 against John Fox in his career.
Brady is 10-4 against Manning in his career.
Brady is 2-1 against Manning in the Playoffs.
Brady and Belichick are looking for their 6th Super bowl berth together, they are 3-2 in the big game so far.