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Peyton Manning and Tom Brady Face-Off Once Again In AFC Championship Game

Posted by Stan Simmons on 2/2/2014 8:03:49 AM

These two highly touted quarterbacks faced off in one of the more memorable regular season games this year as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots got the better of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The final score was 34-31, indicating we could be in for another close fought battle this coming Sunday. The Broncos however come in as the sports book favorite, but that doesn’t mean Brady can’t work some postseason magic and steal another January win.

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Sunday January 19, 2014 – 3 PM ET
Odds: Broncos -5

What To Watch For From The Denver Broncos

The Broncos get one last playoff home game, but it will arguably be their toughest of the 2013 postseason. Although the final score indicated a close game, the Broncos dominated the San Diego Chargers most of the game last week and the biggest reason why was their improved defensive play. They are without Von Miller the rest of the season, but that didn’t stop Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from stepping up and deflecting three passes on the day and being the team’s defensive x-factor. This week the Broncos will need to get the same production out of their secondary so they can force the Patriots to run the ball more than they want. This means the Broncos must stop the powerful LeGarrette Blount, but that’s a much easier task than containing Tom Brady.

What To Watch For From The New England Patriots

The Patriots had the most convincing win last week as they torched the Indianapolis Colts for 43 points, and gave up just 22 to Andrew Luck and company. The Patriots, just like the Broncos, benefited from a surprising jump in defensive productivity as the rarely noticed Alfonzo Dennard defensed four total passes, two of which ended up as interceptions. If the Patriots can play just as solid defense this weekend, it will be much easier for Brady to lead his team to victory in the Mile High city. Brady hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards in his last three games, but that’s because of the increased load Blount has received in the run game. While the Broncos hope the Patriots run the ball more than they pass, Blount is a dangerous weapon on the ground and has rushed for a combined 355 yards.

Outlook

This game could really go either way since each team has a dominant quarterback under center, but the difference on offense will come from the run game. The Broncos have Knowshon Moreno – who improved his game this season – but he still isn’t on the same level as Blount has been in recent weeks. The Broncos as a team aren’t always stout against the run, and if Blount can break free for a big run or two the Patriots should be able to take this game easy. With that said, my pick for this game is the Patriots because they are getting hot at the right time, and beat the Broncos in their only other matchup this season.

Pick: Patriots

Visit BetOnline.com for more NFL betting lines.


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