NFL championship games picks: Predicting each playoff game
New England Patriots (-3) at Denver Broncos
Somehow, some way, the Denver Broncos (13-4) are hosting the AFC Championship Game. And it’s only fitting for what could be Peyton Manning’s final home game with the Broncos in his final playoff run.
To reach Super Bowl 50, however, Manning must lead his team past Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (13-4). The Patriots have been plagued with injuries late in the season, but Brady is finally getting his weapons back, which is bad news for the Broncos.
Now, if there is one defense that can shut down the Pats, it’s the Broncos’. Denver is No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 against the pass and No. 3 against the run. That’s what Brady must deal with. But given the fact he’ll have a healthier Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski to throw the football to, he’ll fancy his chances.
The Broncos’ defense will need to carry the team. They can’t allow Brady to get the football out quickly. The Patriots’ offensive line have had their fair share of protection issues this year, and the Broncos lead the league is sacks. Denver’s pass rush must get home.
As for Manning, well he must play better. The offense has been a million miles away from its dominant 2013-self, so they must win this one on defense. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Brady is on his way to a seventh Super Bowl. Incredible.
Pick: New England 27, Denver 14
Next: Arizona at Carolina