This will be the fifth (and perhaps final?) postseason meeting between teams quarterbacked by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and the count stands even at 2-2 thus far. The Patriots are 5-2 straight and ATS in their last 7 against the Broncos, but have a poor history at Mile High Stadium, going 2-6 there straight up in the Tom Brady era (from 2001 on). Both these teams have plenty of postseason, big game experience, neither one having an edge in that department. In their regular season meeting here a few weeks ago, Denver won 30-24 in OT, but that was with Brock Osweiler at QB for the Broncos, and with the Patriots missing Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Dont'a Hightower to injury, all of whom will be on the field on Sunday. The home team is 6-0 straight and ATS in the last 6 meetings between these two teams.
The absence of Edelman made a big difference for the Pats down the stretch, going 3-4 straight and 2-4-1 ATS without him, while they are 10-0 straight and 6-2-2 ATS with him this season. New England's offense relies on him for the quick, underneath stuff, which is a necessity against a strong pass rush such as that of the Broncos. What the Patriots lack from earlier in the season that can't be replaced, due to injuries, is a reliable running game. The Pats are 4-0 to the Over in their last 4 postseason games, and 5-3 to the Over on the road this season.
For all the talk of Denver's strong home field advantage, they are only 4-5 ATS at home this season, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games at Mile High (4-2 straight up), however, they are 7-2 straight up all time in AFC championship games at home. Last time around, it was their ability to run the ball (179 yards on 32 carries) that really made the difference against the Patriots, and they'll no doubt be looking for more of the same this time, although the return of Hightower will make that more difficult. The Broncos are 6-2-1 to the Under at home this season, although their regular season meeting with the Patriots went Over even before it made it into overtime.
Written on Friday, 22 January 2016 00:00
in Sports News
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