Manning vs. Brady, rivalry renewed. Peyton Manning is dawning Broncos blue instead of Colts blue, but the competitive nature of this game will provide the most intriguing week 5 matchup. The Colts and Patriots have provided some of the most memorable games in the last decade, whether it’s a regular season affair or playoff showdown. It seemed as if the Manning vs. Brady era was over after it looked like Manning’s career was over, but thankfully for football fans we get at least another year of it. There have been many great player rivalries in in this league, but this has to be the best in modern NFL history.
The Broncos come off an impressive victory over the Oakland Raiders. Dispatching the Raiders in convincing fashion 37-6, in which Manning looked fine against a lackluster Raiders secondary. He ended the game with 3 touchdowns on 338 yards passing, finding eight different receivers. Manning’s favorite target, Demaryius Thomas, hauled in 5 receptions for 103 yards a touchdown. Thomas and Manning have quietly been developing a solid rapport in the last couple weeks. At least for one week at least, the discussion of if Manning has enough arm strength to get it through the season have settled down. The offense is in the top-5 with 28.8 points scored a game. And while that looks impressive, the offense is capable of so much more. If Manning can get into a solid consistent rhythm with his new weapons then they could put up even more points.
There was a lot of hope that the Patriots would improve their secondary from a season ago. So far, they are still getting torched with regularity. They have improved from their 32nd ranking last year, but 25th is not where Belichick wants to be. The Patriots had the Ravens game all but won two weeks ago, but the secondary couldn’t contain Joe Flacco for one last drive. The Ravens ultimately drove down the field and sealed it with a short field goal. Cornerback Devin McCourty has regressed after a solid rookie season and Ras-I-Dowling hasn’t even been able to find the field in two years. Having Patrick Chung healthy at safety has been a great boost to their efforts this season, however.
The Patriots offense on the other hand, well, is there really much to say. I can ramble on about how amazing they are, but I think you know what they are all about. For another season, the Patriots lead the league in yardage with a whopping 438 yards a game. They also lead the league in scoring at 33.5 points a game. The offense looked a little lethargic in the first half against the Bills last week, but exploded for 45 points in the second half. 45 is the most points scored in the second half since the 1970s. It appears as if Belichick and company were not impressed with only 7 points in the first half. The Patriots were trailing 21-7 at that point; however, they went on to secure a blowout victory, 52-28. Even with highly talented Aaron Hernandez absent with a knee injury, Tom Brady is still making it work with receivers Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and the other talented tight end, Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos have an average defensive unit, but they may be in for a long day against the Patriots on the road.
Broncos vs. Patriots Spread and Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos +7 (-115)
@New England Patriots -7 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Patriots Pick:
Sometimes all you need to do is look at the numbers and do some simple math. With that said, I am loving the over in this one. The Patriots average 33.5 points a game, and for the most part, are usually even more impressive at home. While I am one of the people saying Manning has a noodle for an arm now, we seen last week that he can still make it happen against porous secondaries. The Patriots have plenty of question marks in this regard. The run defense has improved after drafting linebacker Donta Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones, but I think the Broncos are going to be playing from behind in this one.
The Broncos will look to exploit a weak Patriots secondary with Manning, and the Patriots should continue their torrid pace from last week. I could see both teams approaching 30 points in this one. Take the over and enjoy the fireworks.
PICK = OVER 51.5