Week 12 Prediction: Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots

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Good morning Broncos fans!  It’s game day, showdown number 14 between Manning and Brady.  In those previous 13 matchups, Tom Brady and his Patriots have defeated Peyton Manning 9 times.  As a Bronco, Peyton is 0-1 against Brady, losing in week 5 of last season in Foxboro.  Since losing that game in Foxboro, the Broncos are 20-1 in regular season games, with their only other defeat coming at the hands of the Colts.

There are a lot of intriguing features in this Sunday night showdown.  As always, Manning vs. Brady is epic, and a real treat to watch, as we have the privilege to watch two of the best QBs of all time go head to head, and show why they are great.  Games like this bring the best of out both QBs.

One of the biggest changes going into this game is that Denver will not have to game plan for covering Wes Welker out of the slot.  No, that is something that the Patriots have to do for the first time in many years.  Wes Welker served as Tom Brady’s security blanket for 6 seasons.  In those six seasons, Wes Welker caught 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns.  However, now a member of the Denver Broncos prolific receiving corp, Wes Welker has already tied his career high for single season receiving touchdowns with 9.

With the second prime time game in a row, the Broncos will look to come out and make a statement, not only that the Patriots will remember, but that all of America will remember.  After handing the Chiefs their first defeat of the season last Sunday night, the Broncos are now in the drivers seat in the division and in the conference.

 

5 Keys For My Prediction

1. Peyton doesn’t like the cold.  His win/loss record shows it, as does his statistics.  it is supposed to be around 20 degrees at kickoff tonight, and in my book, that’s cold.  Peyton will agree.  The Broncos had the nice treat of practicing in the cold and in the elements in Denver this week before traveling to Foxboro.  Peyton has been practicing with his gloves on, and will be as prepared as anyone could be when he takes the field this evening.  However, my first key has nothing to do with the legendary Quarterbacks in this game.  It’s all about the running game.  If Denver can establish a running game with hard, powerful runs, it will prevent Manning from throwing the ball too much, and give Denver control of the clock and the game.  Look for Denver to run more in this game than any other game so far this season.

2. The Denver defense will need to be sharp, especially the linebackers.  Rob Gronkowski has returned from his injury and seems to be returning to his beastly form.  In the last 4 weeks since his return, he has caught 24 passes for 343 yards and 2 TDs.  Brady and Gronk really found some rhythm against the ferocious Carolina defense and will look to stay in sync this week against a less successful defense.  If our linebackers can limit the Brady to Gronk connections, Brady may be spending more time on the sideline than on the field, and that is exactly where we want him.

3. Speaking about defense, the Patriots defense is severely banged up.  Several members of their secondary are either out, or questionable in this game, and definitely won’t be playing at 100%.  This is not the week to play banged up on defense.  Peyton and company will look to pick apart a very depleted New England secondary and cruise to their 10th victory of the season.

4.  Let’s compare the legendary QBs so far this season.  Both have played 10 games, but that is about the only stat that is similar.  Let’s start with Brady.  Brady is 7-3 this season, and has thrown for 2,552 yards, 14 TDs and 7 interceptions.  His passer rating is a deflated 83.6, which ranks him behind the likes of Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers.  Peyton Manning is 9-1.  He has thrown for 3,572 yards, connected on 34 touchdown passes and has only thrown 6 interceptions.  Peyton’s passer rating of 118 ranks for second, only behind the part time QB, Nick Foles.  While there are a lot of arguments for who is the better QB in their career, there is no doubt who is the best so far this season.

5. The Denver offense is still on pace to shatter records, and still looks to go down as the best offense in the history of the game.  It is has been a lot of fun to watch.  The passing attack that Denver has causes nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators, and brings many personnel mismatches throughout the game.  Add that in with the ability that Peyton has to see and change things at the line of scrimmage and this offense becomes a unit that is almost impossible to prepare for.  Winning this game would put Denver in the AFC driver’s seat, considering I am also predicting a San Diego victory over the Chiefs.

 

Final Score Prediction

Denver Broncos – 34

New England Patriots – 24


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