Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Date: Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 Time: 4:25 pm EST TV: CBS
Game Line: Denver -3 (from JustBet) Over/Under: 54.5
Sunday NFL analysis: For the 16th time in their stellar careers, future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet as the Denver Broncos travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots.
The Denver Broncos are coming off a 35-21 win over San Diego and have won 4 straight since losing at Seattle in week 3. In those victories, Denver has been dominant, winning by an average of 18.5 points per game. Peyton Manning is once again having another great season, completing 69% of his passes for 2134 yards and 22 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions. His two main targets are Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who both have 47 receptions, and have combined for 1401 yards and 10 touchdowns. Speaking of touchdowns, tight end Julius Thomas has a few, leading all receivers with 9 trips to the end zone. Ronnie Hillman is carrying the majority of the load in the backfield, with 349 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. On defense Denver is much improved compared to last season, ranking 1st in run defense allowing just 72 yards per game. Their secondary has been decent, allowing 242 yards per game through the air. The pass rush for the Broncos is exceptional with the acquisition of defensive end Demarcus Ware (7 sacks), and Von Miller is reaping the benefits with 7 sacks.
Many thought that New England was done after the week 4 Monday night debacle in Kansas City. Well, they were wrong…as a matter of fact, since that loss New England has hit their stride, winning 4 in a row. They are coming off their most dominating performance of the season, dismantling Chicago 51-23. In the month of October Tom Brady was on fire, completing 69% of his passes for 1268 yards and 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady is no longer throwing to Julian Edelman every other passing attempt. He’s distributing the ball evenly amongst his receivers, including wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who is really broke out this season after struggling in Carolina. LaFell has 461 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns, and has gained the trust of Brady. Tight end Rob Gronkowski looks to finally healthy, and he’s back to being his old dominant self with 558 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns this season. Shane Vereen is leading the way out of the backfield, with 281 yards rushing and 208 yards receiving. The season ending injury to Stevan Ridley has forced others to step up, and rookie Jonas Gray has looked good in limited action averaging 4.9 yards per carry. The defense is second in the league in pass defense allowing 210 yards per game, and lead the league in takeaways with 16.
If you don’t think New England head coach Bill Belichick has stressed to his team that they are underdogs at home, think again. Belichick is not only a great coach, but a great motivator as well. Denver’s offense is clicking right now, but the weather conditions might not be in their favor. It will be cold and the winds are forecasted to be 20 mph. If you’ve seen Peyton Manning’s passes, he’s not exactly zipping the ball to his receivers, so I do think the wind will play a role in this game. As far as matchups, I really think New England has the secondary to challenge Denver’s receivers. They now have Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and it was evident last week that they are starting to gel as a unit. New England has the weapons on offense to give Denver problems, and I feel with the home field, and the weather possibly being a factor, I have to take the points with the home dog here. New England knows the importance of this game, for if they should lose, home field will most certainly be in Denver’s control. I think the Patriots offensive line is starting to really round into form, and I think they’ll be able to provide good protection for Brady. Denver has looked unstoppable the past few weeks, but this will be Denver’s toughest test to date. I think the opportunistic defense of the Patriots will be the difference in this one. New England wins on Sunday.
Free Week 9 Sunday NFL Pick: New England +3, Under 54.5
Denver vs New England Score Prediction: New England 27 – Denver 23