NFL Sneak Peek – Week 9 – Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

In last season’s AFC Championship Game, the Broncos beat the Patriots in Denver 26-16. The Broncos out gained the Patriots 507-320, dominating the action both on the ground and through the air. Peyton Manning completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, and a game that featured no turnovers and few penalties was won by the better team. That being said, Manning has traditionally struggled against the Pats. As a Bronco, Manning is 1-2 against New England. When he was with the Colts, Manning didn’t fare much better, going 4-8.

In last season’s AFC Championship Game, the Broncos beat the Patriots in Denver 26-16. The Broncos out gained the Patriots 507-320, dominating the action both on the ground and through the air. Peyton Manning completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, and a game that featured no turnovers and few penalties was won by the better team. That being said, Manning has traditionally struggled against the Pats. As a Bronco, Manning is 1-2 against New England. When he was with the Colts, Manning didn’t fare much better, going 4-8.

This game will be the first of three straight on the road for the Broncos. They are 1-1 away from home this year after falling to Seattle 26-20 in overtime during week 3, and beating the Jets 31-17 in week 6. Last year, Denver went 6-2 on the road and 5-3 against the spread. However, Manning’s last win at Gillette Stadium was back in 2010. And he’s a dismal 2-7 all time against Brady on the road. This year’s Broncos look like the class of the NFL, though, and already have wins against heavyweights Indianapolis, Arizona, and San Francisco.

In week 9, the Patriots will be at home for a third straight game. Though they have had a couple of close calls, New England has managed to get the job done in front of their fans this season. Prior to their week 8 contest against Chicago, the Patriots are 3-0 at home (but just 1-2 against the spread). This continues a trend of home dominance for the Pats. Last year, New England went 8-0 at home and 6-2 against the number. In 2012, the Patriots were 6-2 at home and 5-3 ATS. New England has a bye in week 10 and then travels to Indianapolis in week 11 for what will be their first road game in over a month.

Brady is not putting up the gaudy offensive numbers he is used to. The Pats are 15th in the league in passing yards and 18th in total offense. However, the defense has picked up the slack, creating 14 turnovers this season (second best in the league) and giving up a league low 208 passing yards per game.

The Pats have not faced a top-tier QB all season, though (unless you count Andy Dalton or Alex Smith, which we do not). In fact, none of New England’s opponents to-date are in the top half of the league for passing offense, and the Patriots have had the good fortune of playing the three worst passing teams in the league (statistically speaking): the Chiefs, Jets, and Vikings. Obviously, Denver will be a stiffer challenge. We should know a little more about the Pats’ passing defense after the week 8 game against the Bears (who rank 10th in passing with 254 yards per game).

(Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)