Where and When: Sports Authority Field at Mile High; Denver Colorado. 3:00pm.
The obvious storyline in this one is a match-up between the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation (if you’re really bold you could make an argument for 2 of the top 5 QB’s of all time) facing off, yet again.
The Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady angle is the sexiest, but with all ‘QB vs QB showdowns’ is that it’s a bit of a misconception. The two never actually play against one another, they never see the field at the same time. The beauty of a game like this, with two prolific, sure-fire Hall of Fame players under center is that we have the benefit of getting to watch one of them work on almost every play.
Nether Brady nor Manning had great games en route to the Championship game, but neither had to. Manning threw for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns (a good day, but for Peyton a day like that makes you shrug and go ‘meh’), and Brady only 198 yards and didn’t have a TD, but they got the job done by deferring to the run game in the Divisional Round.
The Broncos backfield rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown and the Patriots had a tremendous day on the ground rushing for 234 yards and SIX TD’s last week, 166 yards and 4 TDs by LeGarrette Blount alone.
Neither of these teams are renowned for their defense, but both defenses performed very well last week. The Patriots held Andrew Luck and the Colts to only 22 points and the Broncos D held the Chargers offense to only 17. Just as they did on offense both defenses controlled the game on the ground last weekend; neither team allowed 70 yards rushing in the Divisional round.
Prediciton: This should be a fun one to watch. I know that both defenses performed very well last week, but they were not facing an offense the caliber of the one they will be facing this week. I expect both teams to move the ball and put up points against the other, that being said I don’t anticipate this game being wide open.
Both teams will want to keep the ball away from the other, relying heavily on the ground game to control time of possession. Whoever wins that battle will win the game. It’ll be an interesting one all the way to the end, but Peyton moves on, edging out Brady and the Pats.
New England Patriots 27 – Denver Broncos 31