ESPN Boston's picks: Patriots-Broncos
January, 17, 2014
By ESPNBoston.com | ESPN.com
Here's how ESPNBoston.com's experts see Sunday's AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos (3 p.m. ET, CBS) playing out. What's your prediction? Leave your pick in the comments section.
|PATRIOTS 37, BRONCOS 34
The Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning matchup has been overplayed this week. To me, it's Manning versus Bill Belichick and Brady versus John Fox. Bill has always come up with a winning plan versus Peyton and if the ball's in Tom's hands at the end of the game, he will find the answer. See you in New York, Reiss. The Patriots will get their second set of hats and T-shirts.
|PATRIOTS 27, BRONCOS 24
If the Patriots can keep the Broncos to a 50-percent or less success rate in the red zone, where Denver ranked No. 1 in the regular season, I think they win the game because of their ball-control power-running approach. It's a tall task, but in a season in which they've surprised at almost every turn, I think they'll find a way.
|PATRIOTS 34, BRONCOS 28
The last time these two teams met, it was as memorable a regular season game as any other during the 2013 NFL season. While the Patriots had a better showing in the divisional round, momentum doesn't necessarily carry over from one week to the next. But with a dedication to a physical offensive approach and the ability to test a beaten-up Denver secondary, look for the Patriots to punch their ticket to their eighth Super Bowl in franchise history.
| Number Fire
|BRONCOS 30, PATRIOTS 22
|BRONCOS OVER PATRIOTS
Nine of the 13 ESPN pundits pick the Broncos. Merril Hoge, Adam Schefter, Mike Ditka and Cris Carter take the Patriots.