Denver and New England are listed as bulky favorites for their respective AFC divisional home games this weekend. Both teams are favored by 9.5-points, and with the way they have been playing, that number might not be high enough.
The Broncos (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) host the Ravens (11-6 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) Saturday at 4:30 PM ET at Invesco Field. It is a rematch of their Week 16 game in which Denver won 34-17. In that game, Denver held Baltimore to 56 yards rushing and 278 total yards. Peyton Manning threw for a season-low 204 yards and one touchdown but still finished with 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns for the year. There are many who believe that if he does not win the MVP, the league should stop handing out the award.
Both the Broncos and Patriots enjoyed a bye-week after earning the top two seeds. Baltimore advanced with a 24-9 win over Indianapolis while Houston moved on with a 16-13 victory over Cincinnati.
Down go the Texans
You can count me as one of those fans who believes that Houston’s (13-4 SU, 10-7 ATS) season went on tilt, following their 42-14 loss in New England on December 10. Tom Brady sliced and diced the Texans defense throwing for 296 yards and four touchdowns in the nationally televised beat down.
Led by Brady, the Patriots (12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) ranked first in the NFL in scoring (34.8 points per game), first in total yards (427.9), fourth in passing (291.4) and seventh in rushing (136.5). Stevan Ridley led the ground attack with 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Model of Consistency
The Broncos were the only team in the NFL that was ranked in the top five in total offense (5th) and total defense (2nd). During their 11-game winning streak, Denver has scored at least 30 points nine times and posted seven double-digit victories during its winning streak. Additionally, they lead the NFL in scoring differential in the second half this year. That means if you do not get them early, you may not get them at all.
Since the Patriots game, Houston’s offense has been a no-show scoring an average of just under two touchdowns per game. Still they have the eighth highest scoring offense in the league with an average of 26 points per game.
The Texans only real chance to pull the upset, besides scoring in the zone, is to keep the ball away from Brady. In order to do that running back Arian Foster needs to have a solid game. Foster rushed for 1,424 yards and 17 yards this season but was held to 46 yards by the Patriots.
Weather or Not
The forecast for the Mile High City is calling for 8 degree temperatures and a threat of snow. Despite the frigid conditions, the over has actually gone up at a couple of online sportsbooks.
In Foxborough, rain could be a factor. The game time temperature is expected to be in the 40s which is downright balmy compared to the Mile High forecast.