Patriots @ Broncos
At the star of the year, I had the Broncos winning the Super Bowl. At the start of the playoffs, I also predicted the Broncos to win the Super Bowl. Unlike my NFC pick, I am sticking with my AFC pick.
Why I Might be Right
Peyton Manning…and the talent discrepancy. While his playoff record (and stats) do not reflect his regular season mastery, Peyton Manning, for my money, is the best quarter back of all-time. Then to give him Welker, Thomas, Decker, Moreno and Julian Thomas and it is almost unfair. Manning has always been surrounded with talent, but never has he had talent like this year and never has the NFL seen a season like Manning’s. With 3 TDs and about 300 yards, Manning would hit 60 TDs and 6,000 yards on the year. Yup, I am going with that guy.
Why I Might be Wrong
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick vs Denver’s defense….and Peyton Manning’s playoff track record. First things first. Brady won’t be matching up 1-on-1 with Manning, but he will be going against the 27th ranked Denver pass defense which will be missing their top corner (Harris) and best overall defender (Miller).
While Brady may not have the weapons he once did, this is not a very good Denver defense. Even with Von Miller and Clark Harris, this is a defense that just 7 weeks ago, could not hold a 24 point lead in New England.
Belichick’s recipe to stopping Manning seems to be to try and shorten the game and keep Manning from getting into rhythm by keeping him on the sideline as much as possible.
With LeGarrette Blount running the way he is, the Patriots may be able to do just that. Lastly, as much as I like Manning, facts are facts, and the facts are that Manning’s playoff track record is not good (10-11) and his record against Brady/Belichick is even worse (4-10).
Manning will need to overcome the Patriots defense, the weather and the “monkey on his back” in order to win on Sunday.