Denver Broncos' Playoff Success Will Depend On Peyton Manning's Ability To Thrive In Adverse Conditions

By Ryan Wenzell
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have all but wrapped up home field after a recent victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. With a soft schedule going forward that’ll see them facing squads that are all below .500, it stands to reason that the road to the AFC will go through Denver.

That is all well and good. However, the fact is home field didn’t seem to matter much last postseason. They blew a huge lead to the Baltimore Ravens, and that was it for Manning and the Broncos’ Super Bowl chances.

There is one noticeably alarming thing about Manning. As brilliant as he has been this year, the few struggles that he has had have occurred in cold weather environments. Denver is going to be pretty cold in January. Remember Manning played in a dome for years in Indianapolis. There is one team that I believe that has a more-than-reasonable shot at taking down the Broncos. It is the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady and company have proven that they can play in any type of environment: cold, hot, windy, snowy — it has not mattered. Brady also simply owns Manning in head-to-head matchups. Bill Belichick is also the ultimate wild card as a mastermind head coach who can scheme up defensive game plans to perfection. While the Pats may not be the most talented squad from top to bottom in the AFC, they are the most well coached.

They also play as a team. Brady has also won Super Bowls with teams less stocked than this one. While the Broncos may end up with the best record and home field, signs are pointing to the Patriots coming out of the AFC.

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