2016 NFL Playoff Odds - AFC Championship - Patriots vs. Broncos Betting Odds Preview
The New England Patriots face off with the Denver Broncos with a place in the Superbowl on the line. This game will be the 4th time in the last 12 seasons that the AFC championship will be decided by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The season has seen a combination of poor play and injury make Manning look like a shell of what he used to be. Meanwhile Brady was as good as ever despite having suffering numerous injuries to the team’s offensive personnel. The difference in quarterback is one of the factors that went into making the New England three point favorites despite the fact that they are on the road.
The favored Patriots started off the season with such dominance that it looked as if they had a real chance at an undefeated season but then proceeded to lose 4 of their last 6 games. Despite the slide they were able to secure bye in the first round and that set up a meeting with the Chiefs who had won 11 straight at the time. Injured wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola plus injured Tight End Ron Gronkowski returned from injury to give Brady the targets he needs to produce a touchdown drive in each of the first 3 quarters with Gronkowski being the recipient of two of those touchdowns. One concern for the Patriots may be their lack of a running game. Having lost several running backs to injury throughout the season the team was forced to sign veteran Steven Jackson only a few short weeks ago and he led the team with only 6 carries for 16 yards. Their hope may be that the return of the Gronkowksi and Edelman who combined for 17 catches, 183 yards, and 2 touchdowns can make up for the lack of a rushing attack.
The Broncos have gone 10-3 in games decided by 7 points or less and that success in close games will give them confidence if the game stays close throughout. Manning was far from impressive throughout the game and found his team trailing 13-12 in the fourth quarter when the defense was able to force a fumble. From there the veteran QB marched his team down the field and capped off the drive with a C. J Anderson touchdown run and a Demaryius Thomas 2 point conversion to put them ahead for good. The Broncos strength is their defense so if Manning is able to put some points on the board he has a defense that he can rely on the close games out. Unlike the Broncos New England has been involved in multiple blowout wins so it remains to be seen how this Patriot team will react if they face a deficit late in the game.
The Broncos won the team’s week 12 matchup but Gronkowski had left that game early and Edelman hadn’t played at all and Brock Osweiler quarterbacked the Broncos. This game may come down to the Broncos defense finding a way to take away the pass and force the Patriots to run the ball.
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