Peyton Manning Vs. Tom Brady on Sunday Night Football

The Denver Broncos' QB Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning Vs. Tom Brady on Sunday Night Football

Writing a Sunday Night Football betting preview for the highly anticipated Broncos-Patriots game would be easy if I just regurgitated a bunch of historical data about the last ten games Manning and Brady squared off against each other. That’s relatively pointless for one reason – the 2013 renditions of both of these teams are much different than anything we’ve seen in the Brady-Manning battles of years past. And the outcome of this game will be determined by how the defenses respond when facing two of the best offensive geniuses the quarterback position has ever known.

Denver Broncos (7-1) vs. New England Patriots (7-3)
Peyton Manning Vs. Tom Brady on Sunday Night Football
Starts: 11/24/2013 8:30PM
Gillette Stadium, One Patriot Place Foxborough
Boston, Massachusetts

 

It goes without saying that the offenses for both teams are incredible. Peyton throws to the most talented and productive receiving corps in the league. They just dropped 27 points on the best scoring defense in the NFL and that’s the lowest team total they’ve had all year. However, the catch with Denver is that their defense is not great and when you’re facing Tom Brady you need to have a resilient set of stoppers.

The Broncos give up 371.8 yards per game defensively, ranking them 23rd. And most of those yards are given up through the air because they have a lacking secondary. If you’ve been tracking Denver all season, which you should have been because they’re 6-3-1 ATS, then you know this. What you might not realize is that Denver’s defense plays so much worse on the road. Tony Romo (506 yards) and Eli Manning (362 yards) have both had big statistical games when hosting the Broncos, while Philip Rivers and the Chargers also seemed to find ways to beat up this shaky defense. Most notable was Andrew Luck throwing for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns as Indy handed Denver their first loss.

The Patriots are now fully healthy and that gives them a big advantage in this game. Gronkowski and Amendola have gotten over their injury problems from earlier this year, but their previous absences gave Thompkins and Dobson plenty of time to accelerate their development in on-the-job training. Combine that with the scintillating combination of power (Blount), speed (Vareen) and overall consistency at tailback (Ridley) and you have a multi-faceted Patriots offense that can give this Denver club more headaches than they’ve ever encountered this season.

BONUS NFL FREE BETTING PICKS

Date
Away
Home
Pick
Sun- Nov-24-2013
Tennessee
Oakland
TEN+1
Sun- Nov-24-2013
San Diego
Kansas City
KC -5
Sun- Nov-24-2013
New York Jets
Baltimore
BAL -4
Sun- Nov-24-2013
Jacksonville
Houston
JAX +10
Sun- Nov-24-2013
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
PIT +1.5

I know what you’re thinking: didn’t that New England team you just boasted about lose to Carolina? Yes but the Panthers are arguably the best team in the NFC and they have a quality defense that is remarkably efficient at creating pocket pressure. Denver doesn’t have that. They barely have the personnel to cover a traditional offensive set and you have to imagine that Brady and company are livid after that questionable loss against the Panthers to begin with. Would you want to bet against a motivated, angry and focused Tom Brady?

There are a lot of reasons to bet on Denver as well, namely that the addition of Wes Welker gives them plenty of “inside information” on how the Patriots run their offense. But that also undersells just how familiar the Patriots are with Peyton Manning overall. In the department of familiarity I think it’s a wash.

The key for me in this matchup is New England’s defense. Bill Belichik doesn’t have a lot to work with, and he’s missing his two best defenders, but his squad has allowed just 19.9 points against per game while generating a consistent amount of turnovers. They’ve also never allowed anyone to score more than 31-points against.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are both armed to the teeth in this one. The defensive edge creates a slight lean towards the Pats based on personnel and overall performance throughout the year. Denver could easily put up points against the Patriots, but you can’t argue the same about Brady against this shoddy Denver defense.

Where the tipping point in this game is rests on the sidelines. This is the biggest game of the year for both franchises, being played in a rough stadium under the cold wrath of an early winter. Would you rather bet on Bill Belichik or Jack Freaking Del Rio if everything else was relatively even?

I thought so.

Sunday Night Football Betting Pick – New England +2.5 (OVER)