Patriots vs. Broncos Free Picks 12/18/16 – NFL Game of the Week
The marquee matchup of Week 15 action takes place at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado where the Denver Broncos will host the New England Patriots. The game has a 4:25 PM EST start and will be aired on CBS. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18 in last season’s AFC Championship Game on their march to win the Super Bowl. New England can clinch the AFC East and a first-round bye in the postseason with a revenge victory against Denver.
The Patriots opened as a 3-point favorite, and the opening line is holding steady despite a resounding 82 percent of the public behind the Pats. The total has dropped from the opener of 45 points to 43.5 points as 66 percent of the tickets believe the defenses will be able to stop the game from going over the total.
New England Patriots
The 11-2 Patriots have been unstopable of late as they’re going for their fifth consecutive win. They’ve covered the spread in three of those games and outgained the Rams by 240 yards and the Ravens by 148 yards in their two most recent games. New England Tight end Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) is on injured reserve and is out for the season, but Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick knows how to set up game plans using his lesser-known weapons.
Quarterback Tom Brady completed 25 of 38 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns in Monday night’s 30-23 win against Baltimore. Brady has now thrown 22 touchdowns against just two picks in nine outings this season since returning from a four-game suspension, and he has 21 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last 10 games versus Denver. The Patriots are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game.
New England ranks 7th in the NFL for rushing offense, 4th in passing offense and averages 27 points a game. Denver is one of the toughest defenses in the league, ranking 3rd in total yards allowed and its defense is giving up just 19 points on average, but New England had little trouble to exploit the Ravens’ top-ranked defense in its most recent game.
The 8-5 Broncos are just barely clinging to the sixth and final playoff slot in the AFC following last week’s 13-10 loss at Tennessee. They’ve alternated wins and losses through their last six games and could be without their two starting inside linebackers, Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis, on Sunday.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian has thrown for 702 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions over the past two games, but he’s at just 16 TDs with seven picks for the season.
Denver ranks 19th in the NFL for passing offense and 27th for rushing offense while scoring 23 points per game on average. New England’s D ranks 9th in yards allowed and surrenders 18 points per game.
Our Pick: Patriots -3
The Patriots are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings in Denver, but this is one of the weakest Denver teams in many years. With revenge on their mind we opt to back the Packers Sunday afternoon.