Don’t Discount the Patriots’ Defense in the AFC Championship Game
By Charles Jay
Tom Brady may not hold all the passing records in National Football League history, but when it comes to his “rivalry” with Peyton Manning, he is well ahead in the category of winning. And we are not talking about individual awards; Manning has won five MVP awards, which certainly puts him on top from that perspective. But Brady not only has an 11-5 edge in the games these two have played against each other, but has also been to six Super Bowls, winning four of them. The New England Patriots take a major step toward defending their world title when they visit the Denver Broncos in the AFC title game scheduled to begin at 3:05 PM ET at Sports Authority Field. BetAnySports patrons don’t have to stop wagering at the opening kickoff; instead, they can continue challenging the AFC championship betting odds as the game progresses through the magic of Live Betting Extra.
AFC Championship Game - BetAnySports NFL BETTING LINE:
In the reduced juice NFL betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, New England is the favorite:
New England Patriots -3 (+100)
Denver Broncos +3 (-110)
Over 44.5 points -108
Under 44.5 points -102
These teams met previously. On November 29, Peyton Manning was out with an injury to his plantar fascia, and Brock Osweiler was at quarterback, and he presided over not one, but two comebacks from 14 points down for the Broncos as they came back to take the lead, only to have New England tie it with a field goal and force overtime. Then CJ Anderson scored on a 48-yard run to give Denver the 30-24 victory. Osweiler gained a lot of confidence in the minds of football betting observers, to the point where there was more than just a little talk as to whether he should have the job permanently.
But Manning gets the starting assignment here, and in a recent press conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged that he believes the 39-year-old is still dangerous.
So how will be New England defense handle things? And how much capability do they have?
Brady’s reputation is so strong, and New England’s offensive attack so respected, that people seem to forget that this team has done a pretty good job on the defensive end. No, the statistics on an overall basis are not as good as the Denver defense, but New England did manage to force its opponents to go “three-and-out” 31.5% of the time, which was the best figure in the NFL. Whether it has been Manning or Osweiler at quarterback for the Broncos, Denver has had a decidedly less explosive offense than at any time in recent years, so the ability of New England to get them off the field quickly could result in some very good field position. Consequently, shorter fields would put Brady at an advantage.
BetAnySports patrons should expect that New England will bring the “heat” on Manning, who is not particularly mobile. And they have all the ability in the world to do so – the Patriots registered 49 sacks on the season, which was second to Denver’s 52. And as most veteran NFL betting observers are aware, Belichick has a penchant for concentrating on taking away the opposition’s top receiver. In this case, that could be either Emmanuel Sanders or Demariyus Thomas. And the Broncos have had far too many drops lately.
What New England has to worry about is Denver’s ground game, which had 179 yards in the previous encounter. The Broncos have been inconsistent from this perspective, but one thing Manning and head coach Gary Kubiak know all too well is that when you get to this point in the playoffs, the rushing game could be your best friend.
Unless, of course, you are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
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