2014 NFL Playoffs: 10 Bold Predictions For Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos: 10 Bold Predictions
Here we are once again -- it's Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
These matchups over the years have been the best games of the whole season. You don't have to look far to find another classic from the two best quarterbacks of this generation. Back in Week 12 on Nov. 24, the Denver Broncos went into Foxboro and took on the New England Patriots. The game looked like it was going to be out of hand when Manning went into half time with a 24-0 lead. This led to one of the best second half performances of Brady's career. While Patriot fumbles were the story of the first half, the exact opposite happened in the second half. The game ended when Wes Welker did not tell his blocker, Tony Carter, how close a punt was to him and it ended up hitting him to make it live in overtime. Since it was at about the 13 yard line, that spelled the end of the game for the Broncos.
This game was one the Broncos probably wanted, however, they won't say that because they are a classy organization and they respect the rest of the league, but they wanted another shot at the Patriots. Now they get it, so what will happen when these two teams take each other on with everything on the line?
This game is going to define the legacy of Manning and Brady. The argument that has been made for 13 years is coming down to one more game. There is no doubt going to be surprises, which is what makes this list so unpredictable. There are more than 100 other players and coaches involved besides Manning and Brady, but this slideshow will go over 10 of the boldest predictions you will see for the AFC Championship game.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also writes content for the site's NBA, NFL and MLB sections. You can follow him on Twitter here.
10. A Player Will Become A Household Name
This huge games seem to give some relative unknown players big names. In the past few years, Chase Blackburn, David Tyree and Jacoby Jones come to mind. This could be a game where someone makes a name for themselves.
9. Wes Welker Will Have A Bad Game
Wes Welker should be wary now that he is facing his former team again, as they may be targeting to stop him. He hasn't had the best season, not even coming close to 1000 yards; he has also had concussion trouble. He only gained 38 yards last week, even with the touchdown, and this week will be no better against his former team.
8. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Will Both Throw Two Interceptions
This is very bold with the most recent announcement of Chris Harris being out for the Broncos secondary, but I still think that both the QBs will throw at least two picks. Manning will have trouble with Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington as the fearsome foursome for the Pats. Brady will have two passes tipped by some of his young receivers that end up in the hands of the Broncos.
7. Shane Vereen Will Score A TD Receiving and Rushing
Shane Vereen is an afterthought after LeGarrette Blount's big performance, but he could be the Patriots' best weapon right now. The dual threat running back is a great receiver, which will lead to an easy red zone touchdown. I think the running score will come on a big play for the speedster.
6. There Will Be No Sacks
These two QBs known how to keep themselves off the ground. Von Miller was a beast in their first matchup, but he is nowhere to be found in this game. It is unprecedented to have a game with no sacks, but with both these two offensive lines, I think it can happen. Manning was not sacked at all last week, and only Brady saw the ground twice.
5. There Will Be A Combined 70 Points
There will be a ton of points scored in this game in every single way. I see rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns, special teams touchdowns, and even a defensive touchdown. This will be one of the most exciting games you will ever see.
4. 5 Players Will Run For 50 Yards
This may be my most bold prediction, but there is some confidence in it. This game will not have the fumbles that halted the Pats' running game in their last matchup. They had four with their last two games with Moreno, Montee Ball, Blount and Stevan Ridley. I could see Vereen or Brandon Bolden sneaking in there to keep the Broncos' defense on their toes.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Will Not Stay Healthy
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is finally healthy and helping the Broncos make it to the AFC Championship Game. However, that will not last long, as he will end up coming up limp after the intersecting routes of the Patriots causes him to pull a hamstring, or something worse.
2. The Game Will End On A Field Goal
I have heard too many stats in regards to this game. Brady's record, when he is more than a four point underdog, is this. Manning, at home against Brady, is this. Brady against Manning when his running back does a cartwheel is this. There is just too much to keep track of. Something easy to see is that these two players will not quit. Ever. The fight will go down until either Matt Prater or Stephen Gostowski has to end it for their team.
1. Neither QB Will Have More Than 300 Yards
Between the two teams having competent running backs and both coaches trying to control the clock, these two teams will have a shootout on the ground (Is it still a shootout on the ground?). You saw last week that neither QB has to throw for a ton of yards to take over the game. Both men were under 300 yards, but made plays when it mattered. Look for that again.