The Denver Broncos at the New England Patriots: A Highly Biased Game Preview
For the 16th time in the last 13 years, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will go head to head in what could be the greatest Quarterback rivalry in NFL History. Of course we know that it’s actually two teams playing against each other and not actually the two quarterbacks. However the Football media will build this game up to unprecedented heights.
Sure there is no sure fire way to predict what will happen so there will be plenty of spirited debate. So in a futile attempt to be non-bias and analytical, I broke down key areas of the teams to see how they match up against each other in an attempt to see which team may have the edge.
Quarterback – Draw: One has the stats the other has the wins. No matter how old Manning and Brady are, this QB duel has to be the best one in NFL History both in longevity and with the ramifications of each of their matchups.
Running Back – Patriots: Though both teams have lost their starting running backs, but the Patriots still have Shane Vereen who is a viable threat in the passing game.
Wide Receivers – Broncos: The Patriots have no one on their roster that can compare to Thomas, Sanders, Welker, and Caldwell. The Broncos could have the deepest WR corps in the NFL.
Tight Ends – Patriots: Julius Thomas may be very good and on the way to great, but a combination of Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright wins out in this matchup.
Offensive Line – Broncos: The Patriots Offensive line has shown some improvement in the last four games but the Broncos’ line has been getting it done all season long.
Defensive Front Seven – Broncos: The Broncos are number one against the run and tied for sixth in sacks. Though New England is close behind in sacks department, the defensive has yet to prove that they can stop an opponent’s running game since Jerod Mayo went down for the year.
Secondary – Push: Both secondary units are anchored with premier cornerbacks, good safeties, and quality depth.
Special Teams – Patriots: Though Denver scores more touchdowns that field goals, if the game comes down to a late kick, Stephen Gostkowski has made 95.5% of his field goals while his Denver counterpart, Brandon McManus has only made 75% of his attempts.
Coaching – Patriots: John Foxx is proving that he is Peyton Manning’s new “Sideline Dungy” when any halfway knowledgeable football fan knows what Belichick can bring to the table.
If we assign 2 points for every category (1 point per team for draws) this is how it lines up:
On paper, I have the two teams fairly evenly matched and both teams enter Sunday’s game riding four game winning streaks where the two quarterbacks have had frighteningly similar stats. This game could come down to the unexpected tangibles of a big special teams play or perhaps even the weather.
In any case, all of us should try to enjoy this game in one way or another because there are fewer and fewer possibilities of seeing the two greatest quarterbacks of their generation dueling it out on the same field.
The Knuckles Prediction: Patriots 34 – Denver 31