Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for the 15th time in their careers, and this occasion the winners will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Patriots visit the Broncos this Sunday at 3 PM ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Broncos are 5.5 point favorites in the spread, which is the 29th time in a row they are the favorite team. The Patriots will be underdogs for the second time against the Broncos this season; the Pats beat them 34-31 in overtime in week 12.
“I’m sure no one’s going to pick us to win this week,” said Brady. “We’ve had our backs against the wall for a while. Really, the whole season we’ve lost players and teams have really counted us out.”
Tom Brady’s last appearance in a Super Bowl was in 2011 season; the Patriots have three AFC Championship appearances in a row.
Peyton Manning’s last Super Bowl appearance was in 2009; that was also the last time he played for the AFC title.
The Broncos will have TE Julius Thomas back, who’s a huge mismatch for defense. He wasn’t available in the week 12 meeting.
“Excellent player — size, speed, he’s a good vertical receiver, he gets down the field on seams and flags and over routes and wheel routes, like he caught last week and things like that,” New England coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s also good on catch-and-run plays.”
The Patriots have covered the spread in the last 4 games in a row when facing the Broncos.