TV Schedule: Sunday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Weather: High 57, Low 29
Line: Denver (-4.5)
After a tough win against the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos are set to face off against an even tougher opponent. Peyton Manning has had arguably the best season of any quarterback in NFL history by breaking the touchdown passes and passing yards records in the same year. Manning has passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns on the year, becoming the first player to ever throw 10 touchdown passes for five different players. Demaryius Thomas leads the stellar corps of receivers with 92 catches for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. Don’t sleep on the run game, though, as Knowshon Moreno leads the team with 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The New England Patriots are one of the scariest teams to face when it comes time for the NFL playoffs. Facing off against Tom Brady used to be a death sentence for opponents, but now that his receiving corps are not what they used to be, it looks like the Patriots are even more beatable now than ever before. Brady had somewhat of a down year due to the lack of consistency at the wide out position, passing for 4,343 yards and 25 touchdowns, coming on stronger close to the end of the year. Julian Edelman — surprisingly — led all receivers with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns while Danny Amendola was second with 633 yards and two scores on 54 catches.
Defensively, the Patriots have struggled a bit this season, ranking 26th in total yards allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed per game while ranking a solid 10th in points allowed per game. The Broncos rank slightly higher in total yards allowed at 19th in the league, but are much better against the run, ranking eighth. However, the Broncos passing defense has struggled mightily this season, ranking 27th in the league.
PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Broncos 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.