The New England Patriots did not have all the good fortune in the world when they went up to Sports Authority Field to play the Denver Broncos earlier in the season. In fact, against a backup quarterback, they had their undefeated season spoiled after ten victories. But there is a slightly different cast of characters in place now, and New England hopes to “matriculate the ball down the field” in such a manner that would give Tom Brady his seventh Super Bowl appearance, as the AFC title game gets underway at 3:05 PM ET. Even after the opening kickoff, BetAnySports customers can partake in real-time wagering against the NFL betting odds through the facilities of Live Betting Extra.
The Patriots ended Kansas City’s eleven-game win streak last week in a 27-20 victory that produced 302 yards passing for Brady, who was outstanding again in the regular season, with 4770 yards and 36 touchdowns. And New England did it without any real semblance of a running game, as they had 38 yards on the ground. But this is not an offense predicated on throwing the ball; they didn’t do it very much against Denver the first time around, and even though they wound up losing the game in overtime, you can’t blame it on the lack of an infantry.
The Broncos once again turn to Peyton Manning, who got them past this New England team a couple of years ago on the way to a Super Bowl defeat against the Seattle Seahawks. Manning, who sat out seven games with a foot injury, returned in the season finale against San Diego and then got the start last week, completing 21 out of his 37 passes.
In the reduced juice AFC title odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Patriots are the favorites on the road:
New England Patriots -3 (-107)
Denver Broncos +3 (-103)
Over 45 points -106
Under 45 points -104
In the final six games of the season, the Patriots went 2-4, and we know by now it wasn’t a mere coincidence that wide receiver Julian Edelman was out of the lineup during that time. People can talk all they want about tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has unbelievable numbers (72 catches, 1176 yards), but Edelman is truly the missing ingredient that makes this offense go. Brady’s completion percentage was 10 points higher (69%, as opposed to 59%) with Edelman out there and on the field. And when the former Kent State quarterback was absent, New England converted only 31% of its third downs. To give you some perspective on that, it would place them 29th in the league if that was projected over the course of a full season.
Brady faces a challenge, obviously, from the Denver pass rush, which chalked up 52 sacks, and the Broncos are, by most measures, the stingiest team in the league, giving up an average of 283 yards per game. But with Edelman out there, there is a much better chance of Brady getting rid of the ball quicker and thus negating the effects of that pass rush. As BetAnySports patrons know, Edelman was not in the lineup when the Pats visited Mile high just a couple of months ago and blew a 14-point lead in the 30-24 overtime defeat.
Manning has undergone a lot of scrutiny and a lot of criticism, and the general consensus is that he just can’t “zip” the ball on a consistent basis like he used to. That’s okay, as long as the Denver offense is tailored in such a way that he is more of a “game manager.” But remember that this New England defense had 49 sacks of its own, and that poses some danger for a quarterback who is not very mobile. And the Patriots have been pretty stingy themselves against the pass, allowing only 6.5 yards per attempt. The interesting part will be to see how effective they are in dealing with any kind of tempo the Broncos try to set, as well as the short passing game. They must also do a better job against the run; Denver had 179 rushing yards in the previous meeting.
BetAnySports is your ticket to a lot of excitement in the AFC title game, with reduced juice wagering and Live Betting Extra…… Always keep in mind that there are multiple payment options available, including your Visa card, person-to-person transfers and the virtual currency of Bitcoin!