ESPN's Pats-Broncos prediction roundup

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
1:01
PM ET
A roundup of how ESPN's analysts see Sunday’s Patriots-Redskins game playing out:

PatriotsBroncos* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: Patriots 35, Broncos 17. This should be a great environment for football and the Patriots haven't shown any signs of buckling in those types of settings this year. I think the matchup lines up well for the Patriots, assuming they can protect Tom Brady. I'm not sure the Broncos have what it takes to exploit the primary weakness of the Patriots' defense -- against the pass. The Patriots have talked for weeks about playing a full 60-minute game, and I think this is where it happens.

* ESPNBoston.com Patriots analyst Tedy Bruschi: Patriots 38, Broncos 30. I agree with you, Reiss. This Denver Broncos defense won't be able to stop Tom Brady & Co. However, the Patriots defense will experience just as many problems with Tim Tebow and that Broncos offensive unit. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has another big day.

* ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg: Patriots 28, Broncos 17. The Broncos' bubble has to burst sooner than later and the law of averages suggests there's only so many fourth-quarter comebacks one team (and one quarterback) can perform in a half-season span. The Patriots establish an early lead in this one and, while the defense hasn't shown an amikebility to limit anyone's passing yards, New England does enough to prevent Tim Tebow from even having a chance at some fourth-quarter heroics. Remember, the AFC West has offered little resistance for the Patriots this season (three wins vs. Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs by a combined scored of 100-43).

* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Rodak: Patriots 27, Broncos 20. While Tim Tebow is the story going into this game, there is more to the matchup. There's this guy named Tom Brady you might have heard of, for example. And then there's the Broncos defense, allowing 23.2 points per game, in the bottom third of the NFL. It's a tough road test for the Patriots, but they are the superior team.

* ESPN Boston Radio’s Adam Jones: Broncos 30, Patriots 28. I believe this is the game where Tim Tebow proves he is more than just a fourth quarter QB. Every quarterback -- from Chad Henne to Rex Grossman -- has had success against this Patriots secondary. I see no reason why Tebow will be any different. Plus, I'm not sure if you've heard, but Tebow is 7-1 as a starter this year.

* ESPN Boston Radio’s Andrew Brooks: Patriots 34, Broncos 17. I don't even want to fathom what Monday is going to be like if the Broncos beat the Patriots on Sunday. Therefore, I'm picking the Patriots to win and win big. The Broncos are a good football team, but the Pats have been eyeballing this game for weeks and Belichick isn't letting Tim Tebow beat him. The Pats get the clean sweep of the AFC West (not that we should be overly impressed) and double up the Broncos.

* Grantland's Bill Simmons: BRONCOS (+7.5) over Patriots. The strangest line of the week. Denver's outside pass rushers will definitely pressure Brady. New England's secondary stinks so much that Tebow will be able to light it up even before he starts Hulking up in the fourth quarter. The whole ball control thing worries me; so does the altitude; so does the Patriots' willingness to let teams hang around (only now, they're playing the ultimate hang-around team). And after watching Marion Barber inexplicably run out of bounds AND fumble the game-winning carry, followed by the NFL Network's Sounds of the Game with Tebow in which he serenely muttered religious prayers and songs to himself like he knew that crazy Broncos comeback was happening, there might be larger forces at work here. I fully expect the Patriots to win … but I have a feeling I'll be shedding 20 pounds of sweat before it's done.

* ESPN analyst Hugh Douglas: Patriots 31, Broncos 10.

* ESPN experts: Six of eight experts pick the Patriots to win, with Chris Mortensen and Eric Allen taking the Broncos.

* Sunday Countdown: Tom Jackson and Mike Ditka pick the Patriots. Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson pick the Broncos.

* AccuScore simulations: Patriots 28, Broncos 22 (average of more than 10,000 simulations). Click HERE to simulate the game yourself.

* Madden 12 simulation: Patriots 27, Broncos 17. The "Madden" simulation was like Bizarro Tebow, as the Denver quarterback played great in the first half, helping the Broncos jump out to a 17-10 halftime lead. But in the second half, Tebow was terrible, throwing an interception with the game on the line, then sitting on the sidelines while Tom Brady and crew scored 17 unanswered to give New England the 27-17 win.

* Ken Moll, Scouts Inc. (Insider): Patriots 27, Broncos 20.

* Make your Week 15 picks with our Pigskin Pick’Em contest.

* What's your prediction for Patriots-Broncos? Leave it in the comments section of this blog post.

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