Kent Tukeli | Sun 12/11/2017 - 13:33 EST

NFL Sunday Night Predictions

NFL Sunday Night Predictions

Will Tom Brady Toss Broncos Out Of The Playoff Hunt?

Few teams have given the New England Patriots as much trouble as the Denver Broncos over the past few years. Unlike most opponents, the Broncos defense has proven able to shut down the best quarterback of all time, including a pair of AFC championship wins over New England in 2014 and 2016.

Unfortunately for Denver, the 2017 regular season has been difficult for the entire squad, beginning with trouble at the all-important pivot position. In fact, part of the Broncos problems on D could be directly caused by a lack of possession, providing defenders with very little rest during the game. Coach Belichick will try to take advantage with play-calling that grinds Denver down throughout the night.

NFL Sunday Night Picks

My Team's Next MatchNew England Patriots

  • Game: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
  • Pick: Patriots Beat -7 Spread, Under 45
  • NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Pick (Odds) at Sports Interaction Play Now

Patriots at Broncos - Vital Trends

Denver Should’ve Signed Kaepernick

The last time Denver won the Super Bowl, it was the defense that propped up Peyton Manning in his final season, when the hall-of-famer’s game fitness was fading to dangerously low levels. Von Miller and the pass rush crushed the opposition, allowing the Broncos to win with the least amount of offense possible. This year, Denver quarterbacks have been so bad that the defense has been exhausted to the point of mediocrity.

Broncos Defense No Longer Great

Last year, the Broncos defense was the fourth best in terms of points allowed, giving up only 18.6 PPG. This year, the Broncos are ranked seventh worst in the league, ceding 24.8 PPG. Since the offense ranks in the bottom third, this creates an average point differential of -6 after eight games. Despite ranking fourth in passing yards given up, Denver has difficultly when the opposition gets into the red zone, ranking 27th in passing TDs against.

Tom Brady Still The G.O.A.T

As an ageless 40-year-old, Tom Brady has carried the Patriots offense again this year, ranking second in passer rating with a 106.5 mark. Brady’s second in the NFL for passing yards with 2,541, two yards behind Russell Wilson. Brady’s also fifth in TD passes with 16, throwing only two INTs. Typically, Tom has a rough time creating offense against the Broncos and the New York Giants, who key in well on New England’s style of attack. Not tonight – expect Brady to have one of his better games against Denver.

New England’s Defense Also Underperforms

Bill Belichick teams usually get things done with defense, which makes the Patriots lack of quality D a concern for the defending Super Bowl champs. New England is truly mediocre, ranking 16th in points allowed with an average of 22.4 per game. They give up the most yards in the air of any NFL team while ranking seventh worst in rushing yards given. If the Broncos want to climb back into the playoff race, they must take full advantage of New England’s middling defense.

Denver’s Rushing Game Needs To Dominate

C.J. Anderson is a superb running back, giving Denver crucial yards on the ground. He’s averaging 60.3 yards per game, even though defenses mostly ignore the Broncos air attack to focus on stopping Anderson. If the Broncos o-line can’t create lanes for C.J. tonight, there’s zero chance that Denver wins this matchup.

NFL Sunday Night X-Factors

No team has had greater success against the New England Patriots over the history of the NFL. The Patriots have a 14-26 record all-time against the Broncos, which translates to an awful 35% winning rate. New England is 2-3 during their last five regular season meetings in Denver.

Perhaps more damaging to New England’s psyche would be their tendency to lose big games against the Broncos – and this game is huge for Denver. New England has lost three of their last four playoff games against Denver, including two straight AFC championship losses.

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Category : NFL

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