The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots are set to square off in NFL playoff betting action this week at Gillette Stadium. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Sunday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Denver Broncos Notes: QB Tim Tebow did it again. We’re really not all that sure how a man that goes 10-of-21 passing in a playoff game finds a way to get the job done, but Tebow figured it out last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a win that probably saved Tebow’s career as a starting quarterback, as the Broncos really don’t have all that much of a choice at this point but to roll with him for as long as this season lasts and then at least give him a shot next season. The Broncos have now covered nine of their last 13 playoff games, and they just snapped a four game ATS skid at the end of the regular season. Denver is also 4-0 ATS in its last four as road underdogs, as it will be this weekend, and it is 6-1 ATS in its last seven as dogs overall.
The real question for Denver isn’t going to be about its offense, but its defense. The ‘O’ really didn’t do enough the last time that these two teams played, but the ‘D’ really gave the rest of the team no chance whatsoever. Last week, the front seven for the Broncos came up with five sacks of QB Ben Roethlisberger and made his life categorically miserable. Now, LB Von Miller and the gang have to once again really step it up to get into the New England backfield as well. Miller had 11.5 sacks in the regular season this year, while LB Elvis Dumervil had 9.5. These two are absolutely monsters off of the corner, especially when Dumervil is a down lineman and Miller is on his side. The New England offensive line has shown some holes this year, so these two, along with the rest of the front seven for the Broncos, have to really show up in a big time way.
The injury report is rather quiet for the Broncos as of Tuesday. WR Eric Decker took a brutal shot to his knee against the Steelers that will almost certainly end his season, but aside from that, there were no fresh wounds from the first round of the playoffs. S Brian Dawkins might be able to return to the lineup against the Patriots, though he is still very much so up in the air with a neck injury. FB Spencer Larsen has a knee injury as well that sidelined him last week and could do the same this week.
New England Patriots Notes: The Patriots got absolutely exactly what they wanted out of the first round of the playoffs. They are avoiding the Steelers, and they aren’t going to get a potentially stingy Cincinnati Bengals outfit, and instead, they are getting a team in Denver that they were able to make a mockery out of just a few short weeks ago. The hope is to avoid the same type of slow start that they had over the last few weeks against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, and that the week off will help rejuvenate an aging team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. New England is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games against conference foes, but it is only just 3-14 ATS in its last 17 games as double digit home favorites. To make matters worse, Gillette Stadium is where the season has come to a close for the Patriots on a number of occasions of late, including last year against the New York Jets at this juncture. New England is 0-6 ATS in its last six playoff games, including not covering a spread along the way in the 2007-08 “not-so-perfect” season.
QB Tom Brady might have thrown for over 5,200 yards this year, and both WR Wes Welker and TE Rob Gronkowski made tremendous names for themselves as absolute superstars, but that doesn’t mean that success in the playoffs is guaranteed. Last year, Brady only went 29-of-45 for 299 yards with two TDs and a pick in the loss to the Jets, and if you want to go back to the 18-1 season, you are going to see stats that aren’t all that pretty. Since the AFC Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers in the ’07-’08 season, Brady has only completed 61.3 percent of his passes for an average of 232.0 passing yards per game with seven TDs and seven INTs. New England, a team that routine scores 30 or more points in virtually every game, especially at home, has only averaged 17.5 points per game in those four outings as well.
Injuries are still mounting for the Patriots, and they could prove to be quite problematic, especially on defense. DB Ras-I Dowling has been on IR since October, and LB Jermaine Cunningham has been there since December. DE Andre Carter, who absolutely terrorized Tebow the first time that these two teams met a month ago, was put on IR just a week later. Up front, OLs Sebastian Vollmer (back), Logan Mankins (knee), and Matt Light (ankle) are all considered probable, but their injuries are all worth watching. The New England backfield is deep, so the possibility of being without RB Shane Vereen isn’t all that bad, but the former Cal Golden Bear does have a hamstring injury worth noting.
Head To Head: History will tell you that in spite of the fact that the Patriots won the meeting this year 41-23 and won 41-7 the last time that these two teams met in this stadium, that the Broncos have a fighting chance. Denver is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games against the Patriots, and believe it or not, the win for Brady the week before Christmas was the first time that he had ever beaten the Broncos.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.