Patriots-Broncos: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
|Brady looking happy after the Pats blowout Pittsburgh|
|Brady curses after the refs miss a PI call against the Panthers|
|The Pats welcome Manning’s forehead to Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football|
The New England Patriots headed in to their bye week in full spirits after a huge 55-31 win over the Steelers which saw them put up their most impressive offensive display in this 2013 season. With an extra week to prepare for the high flying Panthers it made Monday Night’s matchup intriguing and it didn’t disappoint as the game went down to the final play with the refs deciding there was no foul on the field when clearly Rob Gronkowski should have had a pass interference call for this:
|with the ball in the air you can clearly see Gronk is being held|
|More evidence to confirm the bad call|
The Patriots should have had one shot to win the game but it wasn’t to be. The beauty of the NFL is the twist and turns even if sometimes things are so blindingly obvious. After a bye week New England were 10-3 under coach Belichick and on Monday Night Football Tom Brady had a 13-4 record before this defeat. There shouldn’t be any shame in this defeat though as the Patriots came up against one of the best front sevens in the league yet they showed they are improving and that when healthy their offense can cause problems for any opposing defenses.
Next up for the Brady bunch is the visit of the Denver Broncos which means we will get the 14th installment of Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning on this weeks episode of Sunday Night Football! The argument over who is better has been a debate that has continued for over a decade and tomorrow nights game will add further fuel to the fire. Brady currently holds a 9-4 record over Manning in their head to head with Brady also holding a 6-2 record over Peyton in games played in New England. Brady has thrown 23 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in their meetings to Mannings’ 27 TD’s and 19 picks.
Tom Brady has three Super Bow rings from five appearances in the big game while Peyton Manning has one win and one loss whereas Peyton Manning has four regular season MVP awards to Brady’s two. In the playoffs Tom Brady has a fantastic record with 17 wins and 7 losses to Peyton Manning’s not so impressive 9 victories and 11 losses which is impressive from Terrific Tom’s corner when you consider he has started four more playoff games than Peyton too.
Generally speaking if you had to choose between the two 90% of people would probably accept flipping a coin and taking either because both are two of if not the two greatest quarterbacks to play in the NFL. Brady has Manning’s number to a degree but that doesn’t mean Peyton won’t cause Brady any problems whether that be this Sunday or up until their careers end. In regards to Sunday night’s game it will be a mouthwatering encounter as the 9-1 Broncos have looked unstoppable at times this season but you have to take in to account that the Patriots have an amazing record after a loss over these last 6 plus years having won 23 of 26.
The 2013 Broncos offense is devastating as Manning has many weapons from Moreno in the running game to Welker, Decker and Demaryius Thomas in his receiving core and that’s not even mentioning breakout star at the tight-end position Julius Thomas. Whilst their defence might let them down at times thankfully for Denver they have the potential to outscore any opponent. New England on the other hand has found ways to grind out victories this season despite many key injuries on defense and an offensive group which has talent but also young or just new players to the system. Now that Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and the versatile Shane Vereen have returned we have seen a real improvement from Tom Brady and this offense plus when you take it to account the talent of rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins then you can only imagine how much this offense could improve which will strike fear in to opponents with the playoffs really and truthfully only just around the corner.
Despite the defensive injuries to the likes of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork the Patriots still rank 7th in the league in the least yardage given up which is a good sign for New England especially when you consider Peyton Manning’s woes in cold weather games (below 30 degrees): 7 games, 2-5 record, 8 touchdowns to 8 interceptions and a passer rating of 75.8. This is in comparison to Tom Brady who has played 35 games in below 30 degrees in which he has won 33 and lost just 2 throwing 67 touchdowns to 22 interceptions leaving him with a passer rating of 91.2
Not only is information like this crucial to tomorrow’s game but it is key to the rest of the season because come the playoffs we know Tom Brady can get it done whatever the weather and despite the high expectations Tom, Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft set you have to admit that there is probably less expectations on them this year when you weigh up everything that has happened. As for the Broncos well Peyton Manning’s window for a second ring is closing and when you consider the talent he has around him well you have to say that expectations are sky high for all those involved with the franchise.
Tomorrow’s game could have big implications in regards to who gets the home field advantage in the postseason and personally I feel it is more crucial to Denver although even a defeat tomorrow would mean that they could regain control of the first seed and the AFC West with a second victory against the Chiefs next weekend. When you consider that the last three Super Bowl winners, and six of the last eight, opened their title run with a win on wild-card weekend you can play down the importance of gaining a bye in the playoffs as arguably it “kills momentum” but this won’t be in either teams mindsets as the world will be watching to see who comes out victorious when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning go head to head once again… Who knows folks we could well see segment 15 of this classic tale in the playoffs come the turn of the year!