Championship Weekend: Picks Against the Spread

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Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots @ Broncos -5 — O/U 55

Football fans couldn’t ask for more. We get the two best QB’s of the era for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. Seems we have seen this before? Peyton Manning hasn’t had great success vs. Bill Belichick coached teams. Peyton’s record is 6-11 and 1-2 in the playoffs. In those three games he threw two TD’s against six INT’s. In the 2006 AFC Championship, Manning got his W.

Belichick dared the Broncos to run the ball earlier this year. The Broncos obliged and Knowshon Moreno ran for over 200 yards. The Patriots overcame a huge deficit to win the game 34-31, in overtime, on a cold windy night in November. Both teams recovered three fumbles. Peyton threw one INT, Brady none.

There are two key offensive ingredients that these teams will be missing: TE Rob Gronkowski and OLB Von Miller. Gronk had seven grabs for 90 yards and a TD in the first meeting. The Broncos also lost starting CB Chris Harris with a torn ACL, which could be a key injury as well.

The record versus common opponents looks like this: both teams won vs. the Ravens and the Texans. The Patriots beat the Colts, while the Broncos lost at Indy. Head to head we have already discussed. Giving the Patriots a 4-0 record compared to the Broncos 2-2.

The Patriots have relied heavily on the ground game as the season has worn on. The Broncos are pass heavy, but can also move effectively on the ground. When you have two quality QB’s like the ones featured in the game, it will come down to what team can perform on defense. Belichick and Fox are both defensive gurus and that’s how this game will be decided. Not necessarily a tour de force effort, but the defense that makes the timely play.

I’m taking the Patriots +5. I see this game remaining under the 55 points.

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