Well sports fans, for the second time in as many weeks, both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are playing a game with playoff ramifications, only this time it's against each other.
Make no mistake folks, this one is big- Manning vs. Brady XVI is shaping up to be on the level of Superman vs. Batman, or Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant.
Manning and Brady have more of a history against each other than any other rival QB’s who have played the game. As the Broncos charge into Foxboro to play their second straight Sunday night game, this one is shaping up to be a classic. We take a look at 3 bold predictions that I think will happen.
Against all odds, Brady can get it done.
I'm not a Tom Brady fan by any means, but I will admit that the guy knows how to win in big games, especially against Peyton Manning.
Brady is going to be motivated to take down Denver, especially after the officiating debacle against Carolina last Sunday.
Brady is a competitive guy, in a game that could mean playoff home field advantage for Denver, and a higher playoff seed for the Pats, Brady is going to leave it all on the field.
Tom Terrific is very capable of destroying Denver's season, because he is the one guy who can go touchdown for touchdown with Peyton Manning and isn’t fazed by the mystique.
Denver will be pressing to try and lock up the AFC's number one seed and if Brady and company can steal a win, they are in great position to keep Andrew Luck and the Colts at bay and win their division
Mark my words--this one is going down to the wire.
The Patriots need Aqib Talib to play to have a shot defensively.
With Vince Wilfork out, and the Denver offensive line playing well, pressure on Manning is going to be at a premium.
While I realize that no one has Manning kryptonite like Bill Belichick, if Talib can't go, even The Hoodie can't scheme his way out of trouble, since CB Alfonzo Dennard has been ruled out of the game already.
Talib missed three games with a hip injury prior to the Carolina game, and left before that game was over with complications of that same injury.
The Patriots play well in Foxboro, but I'm not sure they have the defense this year to slow down Denver for all four quarters.
Despite a Foxboro road record to the contrary, the Broncos squeak out a win.
Manning and Brady have met 13 previous times. Peyton holds an edge in statistics, but Brady holds a more impressive 9-4 win/loss record against teams led by Manning.
An even more telling statistic, Manning is 2-7 in games at Foxboro including playoff games.
This time, I think the Broncos have too many weapons, especially if a motivated Wes Welker is cleared to play. Danny Trevathan is fast enough and tough enough to cover Gronk one-on-one and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie is more than capable of shutting down whichever one of the Patriot wide receivers he covers.
In previous meetings, including the Patriot victory last year, the Pats had the players on defense to keep Denver at bay. Wilfork was a beast in the middle and the Pats were able to disrupt Manning's rhythm.
This season, he Patriots can't account for Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas.
However, If Welker and Julius Thomas can't go, it could open up the door for the Pats to get a win.
All indications though, are that Julius Thomas will play, and early reports out of Dove Valley indicate that Welker is expecting to be ready.
I'm expecting a shootout and another Manning/Brady classic but ultimately Denver wins, 42-35.