Brady vs. Manning: The End of an Era: AFC Championship (Patriots at Broncos) Preview

This is the 17th time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face off, possibly the last.  Between the Colts and the Broncos, Manning knows are team too well.  He knows Brady, he knows Belichick, so we have to play are game, but run a couple plays that we don’t normally do.  The New England Patriots take on the Denver Broncos at Mile High.  In November, we went to Denver and they came back to win 30-24, but it was Brock Osweiler under center last time, Manning was out with plantar fasciitis.

NFL Roundtable: The Best Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Game
Tom Brady face off for the 17th time in the AFC Championship but this might be the last if Manning retires.

My Prediction: Patriots, 27, Broncos, 23

So, who has the advantage in this game?  You saw in Week 12, it will be a close game, tough match-up and very physical game.  So, lets break it down.  Injuries had way more of an impact in Week 12 than now, Edelman was out, DeMarcus Ware was out, Gronk left, Hightower, Collins and Amendola sat too.  Now, we have a team at decent health, so does Denver.

Denver has a dominant front seven: Sylvester Williams, Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, Danny Trevathan and Shane Ray.  That’s EIGHT GUYS, you can only start 7!!  Their secondary also includes star corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. plus T.J. Ward and Bradley Roby.  Steven Jackson, Brandon Bolden and James White better be ready to bull through the defense and find space between the stars, and I trust that they can.  I also think that the secondary isn’t strong enough to guard Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, Chandler, LaFell and Keshawn Martin.  I think 2 of these 8 will score: Jackson, Bolden, Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, Gronk, Chandler.  My original prediction was Gronk and Chandler but now I’m thinking maybe Jackson, Bolden or a receiver will score.

Now Denver’s offense.  The Broncos even without Peyton Manning would have an overpowered offense.  C.J. Anderson usually really shows up this time of year, while Ronnie Hillman continues to do his thing.  Plus the receiving game didn’t just use DeMaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders last time.  They used Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, Cody Latimer and Andre Caldwell, who had a TD, too.  But the young Patriots secondary will have to try and stop Denver’s pass, they should be able to double cover Thomas, and contain Sanders and Daniels on one man coverage.  Vernon Davis, Virgil Green and those sleep receivers, may let loose.  They also need to do a better job containing the running game.  But in the end, despite facing to more overpowered defense, and being the road team, I think the Pats have the edge with their offense’s match-up and will win by a nose.

 

Keys To The Game

Patriots

  1. Even against a ferocious front seven, the Patriots run game needs to keep it up.  Tom Brady might not have the protection he needs, and he’ll have to depend on his backfield. They have the individual players to do it, the questions are: Do they work together enough to?,  Is the match-up against the defense in their favor?
  2. The Broncos run game is revamped too with CJ Anderson at his best.  The Patriots have struggled to stop the run all year.  This game, they need to excel at it.
  3. The young Patriots secondary needs to contain a large number of Broncos receivers that make up its offense’s core.  Last time, sleep receiver Andre Caldwell caught the TD that brought the game to overtime, where CJ Anderson had a long run for a touchdown.

Broncos

  1. The Patriots have just as good of receivers when healthy.  The Broncos secondary isn’t quite as good as their pass rush, and they might have trouble keeping the receivers from doing much.  Between Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, Keshawn Martin, Gronk and Chandler, there’s plenty of guys to cover.
  2. CJ Anderson needs to pick up the pace.  Between some big games, he’s still been somewhat consistent unlike late last year, even when Manning’s super bowl hopes got crushed in the Divisional Round last year Anderson made an impact.
  3. The Broncos need to use their receiving depth to their advantage.  Unleash all their sleep receivers and play like the Pats haven’t seen them play yet.

Injury Report

New England Patriots (13-4)

 

Out

​G Tre’ Jackson – Knee (LP)
OL LaAdrian Waddle – Shoulder (LP)

 

Doubtful

NONE

 

Questionable

WR Danny Amendola – Knee (LP)
TE Scott Chandler – Knee (LP)
LB Jamie Collins – Back (LP)
DB Nate Ebner – Hand (LP)
WR Julian Edelman – Foot (LP)
LB Darius Fleming – Back/Shin (LP)
LB Jonathan Freeny – Hand (LP)
TE Rob Gronkowski – Knee/Back (LP)
LB Dont’a Hightower – Knee (LP)
DE Chandler Jones – Abdomen/Toe (LP)
DE Rob Ninkovich – Shin (LP)
WR Matthew Slater – Shin (LP)
C Bryan Stork – Ankle (LP)
OT Sebastian Vollmer – Ankle (LP)

 

Probable

QB Tom Brady – Ankle (FP)
S Patrick Chung – Foot (FP)
OL Josh Kline – Shoulder (FP)
WR Brandon LaFell – Foot (FP)
S Devin McCourty – Ankle (FP)

 

Denver Broncos (13-4)

 

Out

NONE

 

Doubtful

NONE

 

Questionable 

NONE

 

Probable
S Josh Bush – Shoulder
TE Owen Daniels – Knees
ILB Todd Davis – Shoulder
G Max Garcia – Groin
CB Chris Harris Jr. – Shoulder
QB Peyton Manning – Foot
ILB Brandon Marshall – Ankle
QB Brock Osweiler – Knee
S Darian Steward – Hamstring
S T.J. Ward – Ankle
OLB DeMarcus Ware – Knee
CB Bradley Roby – Quadricep

Advertisements

Broncos Thrill Pats In OT, Pats Unbeaten No More

It was 3rd and 1.  The Broncos were on their first drive in overtime.  The Pats had won the toss and tragically gone 3 and out.  Then Osweiler handed it to C.J. Anderson.  He swerved to the left and just kept going and going.  He had just scored the game winning touchdown.

C.J. Anderson as he heads to the end zone for the game winning TD in OT

The Broncos were the first to beat the once undefeated Patriots this season, with a 30-24 overtime win.  It was a very exciting, back and forth game, but it ended with the Broncos putting an end to the regular season portion of the Revenge Tour.  If they win a super bowl, then they still get vengeance on Roger Goodell.

The Broncos went 3 and out on their first drive.  A horrible punt got the Patriots started in Broncos territory.  This was turning into a field position game.  The Pats marched down the field, and Gronk scored a touchdown.  Gronk had already had a nice pass earlier in the drive, lasting 2:07, with 4 plays for a whopping 47 yards!!!!  They started at the opposing 47 and easily scored a TD.

The great defense continued.  The Broncos went 3 and out again, and even the Pats did it after starting around the 50.  Still a field position game.  On the next drive, the Broncos were on 4th down & inches, and Brock Osweiler ran a QB sneak for the first down. They didn’t challenge the spot, even though it was clearly 4th & 2.  On the next set of downs, Osweiler got sacked, knocking Denver out of field goal range.  When Brady got the ball back, they sacked him in return.

A good punt keeps Denver starting at their own 10.  The Pats were thinking safety, but as Osweiler progressed down the field, they had other plans.  Sheard knocked the ball from Osweiler, and Chandler Jones caught it in the air for and interception.  The Pats marched down the field and Chandler was wide open as Brady threw to him for the touchdown.  14-0 Pats.  It was now the 2nd quarter.

A couple of drives later, the Broncos progressed down the field, and Ronnie Hillman went beast mode and got a 19 yard TD, making it 14-7.  Th next couple minutes before the half were slow, as the Pats failed to score before getting the ball back in the 2nd half.  In the first drive after halftime, Gronk caught a 22 yard pass, but it wasn’t enough as the Pats punted it away.

The Broncos were near safety territory again on the next drive, but quickly marched down the field to escape.  But they didn’t get far away enough.  They were in field goal range, but Brandon McManus had to attempt a 47 yarder.  It was way off.  The field goal was no good, and it was still 14-7 Pats.  The remainder of the third quarter was a snooze-a-thon.  But things got exciting in the 4th quarter.  The Pats went into it with the ball.  They had just started a drive before the end of the 3rd.  On the first play of the quarter, they threw to Bolden.  He had no problem catching it, but the real thriller was what happened next.  He took off, and soon the defenders were nowhere to be found.  Brandon Bolden kept on running and running, until he got to the end zone.  He had just scored a 63 yard touchdown!!!!

It was now 21-7 Pats.  They had a two TD lead.  The Broncos went 3 and out, but on the punt, Chris Harper fumbled in the attempt to return the punt, and the Broncos recovered it.  That was his only noticeable play of the night.  He ended up with -2 fantasy points.  NEGATIVE TWO!!!  The Broncos got to start at around the opposing 40.  They marched down the field and Anderson scored a touchdown.  So technically, CHRIS HARPER is the reason the Pats lost.  Otherwise, we would’ve had a 24-17 win.  The Pats couldn’t do anything because of some stupid penalties.

Denver got the ball around the 50 and they marched down the field.  They slowed down in the red zone, and had to settle for a field goal.  It was now 21-17 Pats.  Our lead was not very secure.  On the next drive, we couldn’t do anything because Gronk was called for offensive pass interference!!!  It was a stupid call!!!  Just stupid!!!!  What were those refs doing?!!!  Are they just out to get us for “DEFLATE GATE”?!!!!  On our next drive, we threw a nice pass to Gronk, but it was followed by a heart-breaker. Brady threw to Gronk for an incomplete pass, but it was worse than that.  Gronk had tripped over someone, and fell on his right knee.  When the staff came over, to look at it, he was screeching in pain.  He was carted off the field, and they are fearing a torn right MCL.    On a late 4th quarter drive, DeMaryius Thomas caught a 36 yard pass, followed by an Emmanuel Sanders 39 yarder.  Osweiler through the much needed TD pass to Andre Caldwell, giving them a 24-21 lead.

The next drive was the last of the regulation playing time, and it was filled with some nice passes, but it wasn’t enough to score the game winning TD.  However, Stephen Gostkowski did attempt a 47 yard field goal, and it was good!!!  It was tied, 24 all.  This game was going to overtime.  Then, the next heart-breaker occurred.  The Pats won the toss, went 3 and out in a horrible drive.  They had no weapons, and Brady was too worried about his teammate to focus.  Then Anderson did his thing, and it was game over. However, the Pats can still earn home field advantage.  Denver plays Cincy in Week 16, so one of those teams will lose again.  If we can go 4-1 on the following schedule:

vs PHI

@HOU

vs TEN

@NYJ

@MIA

Then they can still do it.  For now, we’re on to Philadelphia.

 

NFL Week 3 Picks

The first two weeks have been full of upsets, and here are some locks, upsets and other scores to watch for in Week 3.

Lock Of The Week
Patriots, 37, Jaguars, 14

Tom Brady and the Patriots should have a dominant game against the Jags.  On offense, they Blount Force Trauma should get more touches after a quiet week 2 return.  I’d expect a TD from him.  The only road blocks are star linebacker Paul Posluszny and rookie defensive lineman Michael Bennett.  He can work around that.  I also expect a lot of passing touchdowns.  Julian Edelman doesn’t have a starting corner to watch him, so either safety James Sample or safety Jonathan Cyprien is left to guard him.  With Edelman and Gronk under that pressure, expect sleepers Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Scott Chandler to show up, about a touchdown each.  The Patriots can look forward to a relatively easy match.

Tom Brady will stun the Jaguars defense with consistent scoring.
Tom Brady will stun the Jaguars defense with consistent scoring.

On D, they should be all set as well.  Running backs TJ Yeldon and Denard Robinson are going nowhere when the defense has Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones and Jerod Mayo to cover.  Last year they also had the added pressure of Vince Wilfork and Akeem Ayers, but Mayo was hurt.  I wouldn’t expect it to be much worse, especially if you put Jamie Collins and Don’t A Hightower in too.  And Marcedes Lewis, who has starred to start the year, will be guarded by Devin McCourty.  And Allen Robinson will have Malcolm Butler on him.

Lock Notables
Colts over Titans, Seahawks over Bears, Texans over Buccaneers, Giants over Redskins

Upset Of The Week
Lions, 24, Broncos, 20

This might sound silly to you, but it’s not really that surprising.  Peyton Manning is getting older, and at the same time, Matthew Stafford is on the uprise.  Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah will get touches, but will get DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller as guards.  It would be easier to throw the rock.  Not just to Megatron, who will have Aqib Talib by his side, but should break through once Talib wears down, but Golden Tate.  Tate, the former Seahawk, doesn’t have an amazing second string corner to guard him.  Tate should see action, along with tight ends Eric Ebron, thenewly signed Tim Wright and possibly Brandon Pettigrew if he’s healthy.

While on the Lions D, it’s a better fit for the Broncos offense.  DeMaryius Thomas will have Stephen Tulloch on him like white on snow.  Emmanuel Sanders and Owen Daniels may get TDs, but the overall options are limited in Denver.  I think Sanders’ season will be a low point in his career, and Daniels isn’t quite a perfect fit in the Denver style offense.  Expect an early season loss today out of Denver.  What about CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.  Ngata and DeAndre Levy should be enough to hold them up.  So, the Lions could have a huge win vs Denver today.

The Broncos defense will be in for a surprise when Matthew Stafford throws fire.
The Broncos defense will be in for a surprise when Matthew Stafford throws fire.

Upset Notables
Rams over Steelers, Cowboys over Falcons

Other Scores
Jets, 37, Eagles, 30
Dolphins, 17, Bills, 14
Ravens, 27, Bengals, 23
Rams, 17, Steelers, 14
Browns, 14, Raiders, 9
Colts, 30, Titans, 24
Texans, 30, Buccaneers, 17
Packers, 33, Chiefs, 31
Chargers, 28, Vikings, 23
Cowboys, 27, Falcons, 10
Giants, 28, Redskins, 7
Seahawks, 33, Bears, 16
Panthers, 41, Saints, 21
Cardinals, 31, 49ers, 30

Team Of The Week
1. This team’s quarterback got severely injured last season.
2. This team has been in last in their division for the last couple years.
3. In 2013, this team’s division was the toughest.
4. This team is named after an animal.
5. This team is located somewhere in the Midwest.

Last Week: Chiefs