[Editor's Note: Stampede Blue welcomes new writer Christopher Price into the fold for his second week of spread-killing picks. Christopher knows a thing or three about sports betting... ask Vegas. Going 2-1 last week on his top picks, let's see how he fares in this week's action!]
Broncos (2-2) @ Patriots (2-2)
Pick – Broncos (+7)
Rock Solid Pick: Four Stars (Out of Five)
In what is shaping up to be a wet and rainy Sunday afternoon in Foxboro, two teams are looking to face off right at the same time that both of their respective offenses seem to be coming together and hitting their strides.
Although the New England Patriots (2-2) started off shaky last week in Buffalo, I still recall turning to my cousin immediately after a 68-yard touchdown grab from Bills WR Donald Jones, bringing the Buffalo ahead 21-7 with 11:08 left in the 3rd quarter, and saying, "It doesn’t matter, it’s Tom Brady – I still think the Pats cover." And boy, did they ever wake up and do much, much more than just cover! The Patriots began scoring five unanswered touchdowns, topping the Buffalo Bills (2-2) in a crucial divisional game, 52-28 - led by their franchise QB Tom Brady (102.4 QB Rating – 1,227 YDS, 1 INT, 7 TD’s).
What came out of my mouth next is the part that further leads me to believe the Denver Broncos (2-2) have just that much more going for them in this week’s match-up. After sharing how I felt about the Patriots still covering the point-spread, I then said, "There’s only one other quarterback I’d rather have in this position and that’s Peyton Manning." Having a much more difficult beginning of his season and facing far better defensive units in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Houston, QB Peyton Manning (96.9 QB Rating – 1,162 YDS, 3 INT’s, 8 TD’s) has shown me that he still has the tenacity and overall skills needed to get the job done. If you watched the Broncos completely dismantle the Oakland Raiders (1-3) last week, you now understand that it’s not only Manning and company that do it on offense, it’s also the Broncos overall defensive play (13th in Passing YPG - 220.5 and 9th in Rushing YPG - 87.5) that has been as much a key to their success as the "laser rocket arm" of Manning. Add this to the fact that the Patriots secondary has been suspect of late, giving up 281.5 passing yards per game (25th) while also allowing sub-par quarterbacks to find holes in their zone coverage so far this season and everything adds up to a big day for Manning and the Broncos.
As long as Denver can get somewhat of a grasp on the top-notch receiving unit that New England has pieced together, namely stopping WR’s Brandon Lloyd’s (25 REC, 287 YDS, 1 TD) deep routes, Wes Welker (25 REC, 380 YDS, 0 TD’s) from his short, cross-field patterns and TE Rob Gronkowski (19 REC, 260 YDS, 3 TD’s) from his quick streaks down the middle of the field, I can see Denver pulling this game off without the points, never mind getting a touchdown for their traveling troubles. Alongside those hopes is RB Willis McGahee (69 ATT, 325 YDS, 3 TD’s), attempting to make his second real appearance in as many weeks. That is, of course, if DT Vince Wilfork decides to stay away and promises to never hit anyone the way he trucked Bills receiver Donald Jones last week – mother of God! (I’d say it’s safe to assume that Jones ate dinner through a straw Sunday evening.)
*In case you missed the Wilfork hit on Jones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N606Knnr_kY
Both Manning and Brady are far too intelligent and know one another all too well to come into Sunday’s game unprepared. While Denver is eager to win on the road and has all the tools to do so, New England simply cannot afford to drop another game at home. Speaking of Sunday's game, can someone please tell me why in the holy hell this isn't a primetime match-up?! I don't care what kind of potential they felt the Chargers vs. Saints game had, this is Manning vs. Brady, people! You know, sometimes the NFL could screw up a wet dream, I swear. Anyway, the fact that bookmakers are giving up a full touchdown to Denver shocks me, to be honest. You're telling me with what you've seen so far this season that you're going to give Peyton Manning a full 7-point head start to a Patriots team who hasn't proven a damn thing in over a month and you're not going to take it?! Pshhhh! If you're that naive, I've got some oceanfront property for sale in Indianapolis.
Let's see how Tom Brady feels about all of this talk of Manning and the Broncos coming into Foxboro to do work...
Just So Ya' Know:
- Manning is 4-2 in last 6 meetings against Brady (4-8 all-time)
- Including the post-season, the last 5 Manning-Brady games have been decided by 7-points or less
- Broncos are outscoring opponents 79-26 in 2nd half of games
- Patriots have not lost back-to-back home games since 2008 (Jets/Steelers)