2013 Season NFL Football Past Picks

January 19, 2014

This pick was released to clients on December 31, 1969 at 9:00PM ET.

19

New England at Denver

Sunday 01/19 03:00 PM Eastern

1 unit on New England +5 (-110) (risk 1 to return 1)  RESULT: loss

0.5 unit on Game Total OVER 56.5 -108 (risk 0.5 to return 0.5)  RESULT: loss

0.5 unit on New England +205 (moneyline) (risk 0.5 to return 0.5)  RESULT: loss

This game features two future Hall of Fame QBs with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It's the ninth time in the last thirteen years that at least one of these QBs has played on Championship Sunday. Expectations are high for a great game and I believe we will get one. The Patriots have had an injury-riddled season, losing Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes, Tommy Kelly, Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork among others. That's on top of losing Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker in the offseason. Despite those challenges, the Pats are 13-4 and one win away from another Super Bowl. It's a testament to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Next man up. Thanks to the departures and injuries, New England went through their first eight games with an offense that was a shell of their former selves and they were quite pedestrian, scoring just 22.4 points per game. Contrast that to a loaded Denver offense that started by averaging 42.8 points per game in first half of the season. But Denver's offense has cooled some with a big second-half decline of 11 points per game. While Denver has been going south, New England has been heading up. The Pats finished their last nine games averaging 34.2 points per game, actually besting the Denver second half of the season offense by 2.3 points per game. One can argue, based on the last nine games, the New England offense is playing better coming into this game. Bill Belichick has once again put an unknown player in a role to succeed as he has seemingly done since he first walked the sidelines. LeGarrette Blount most forget, was a 1000 yard rusher for Tampa Bay in 2009-10, generating 5.0 yards per carry. He then all but disappeared as an apparent one-year wonder, until resurrected by Belichick this year. Blount was given a big role vs. Buffalo in the season finale, where he delivered 334 total yards. He was also the difference maker in the playoff game vs. Indianapolis, running wild for 166 yards on 24 carries, and four touchdowns. His two-game combined rushing log reams 48 carries for 355 yards and six TDs. That is 7.4 yards per carry. Will he be the key this weekend? Maybe or maybe not. Heck, Belichick might have Brady throw it 40 times this game. The point is, it's unclear where New England will hit you, making defensive preparation difficult. Peyton manning started the season in invincible fashion. But, the Broncos' offense only topped the 37 point mark (6 points below their first half average) one time. I'm not trying to make the Denver offense sound bad. It set records this season. But, defenses have wised up to some extent and the last nine game average was 31.9 ppg, a full 11 points less. That's very good, but no longer in rarified air. Without the Tennessee game, it dips to under 30 per game over that stretch. Peyton Manning was passing for 8.77 yards per attempt in the first eight games to 7.70 in the last nine - a full yard plus less efficient. The Patriots are 45-26-3 ATS as a dog in their last 74 such games. In the Belichick era, they are 20-8 ATS as a dog of 3.5 to 9.5 points! They are also 29-13 ATS under the Hoody when the total is set in the 50s. Dating back to last season, the Pats are a perfect 6-0 vs. high powered offenses like Denver's (teams that average 375+ yards per game). And, Brady has bested Manning in 10 of 14 meetings. Manning owns a 10-11 mark in the playoffs while Brady is 18-7. Bill Belichick has always found a way to frustrate Manning and take him out of his comfort zone. I believe he will do that again in this game. Peyton Manning vs. Brady & Belichick getting points? Who you gonna trust? I'm taking the Pats. Also take the OVER in this game. Both of these teams can strike quickly, while neither have been a defensive force this season. When you look at the numbers achieved by both teams, the defenses they faced on average were better than what they will see today. The Pats averaged 34.2 points per game in the second half of the season while we know Denver can score as well. Dating back to last season New England is 11-1 OVER vs. high-octane offenses (teams averaging 350+ yards per game). And, since Peyton Manning came to town, the Broncos are 22-11 to the OVER. In their previous matchup this season in bad weather with high winds, these teams put up 65 points. This will be a nice calm sunny day so I expect lots of scoring. Play on New England and the OVER.

FINAL SCORE
TEAM 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q FINAL
Patriots 0 3 0 13 16
Broncos 3 10 7 6 26

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Wins Losses Units
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