Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 3:00 PM
This was a game that anyone involved with the NFL had circled weeks ago. The New England Patriots visiting the Denver Broncos in what might be the last time Tom Brady went head-to-head with Peyton Manning.
Instead, fate has intervened…setting up what might be the beginning of the Brock Osweiler era! Manning is out with an injury…in the second half of what had already been his worst season ever. Osweiler won at Chicago last week…which looked even better when the Bears beat the Packers Thanksgiving night. Should Osweiler and the Broncos beat Brady…Manning may never get back on the field in an orange uniform! A win for Osweiler over Brady would be the official beginning of the Osweiler era.
Still plenty of drama…but not for the reasons fans had been thinking as recently as a month ago when Denver drummed Green Bay. Let’s dig deep into the numbers to see what might happen when the Patriots play the Broncos Sunday night in a game everyone will be watching on NBC.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
New England: 10-0 (#23 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Denver: 8-2 (#7 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
New England is still unscathed, though they’ve looked mortal in recent outings vs. the Giants and Bills. No reason to peak in late November…so this is the ideal time to score an upset. Denver is still very much in the championship hunt in the AFC, though they still trail New England and Cincinnati in the race for a top two seed. A win here is vital if the Broncos hope to earn a bye. Factor in strength of schedule so far…and we may be looking at two teams who would both be 9-1 against a league average slate.
New England: 6.2 on offense, 5.2 on defense
Denver: 5.3 on offense, 4.4 on defense
Very similar differentials, with New England being much better on offense while Denver has been playing historically great defense. Worth remembering that Manning had been AWFUL this season. The switch to Osweiler may not hurt them even if he’s just a very tall game manager. So far, not much separating the two teams…certainly not enough to justify the Patriots as a road favorite. That’s particularly true once you make strength of schedule adjustments.
New England: +6
This is where the Patriots could take a step forward. If Osweiler tries to do too much, that could set up cheap field position points. No way you can beat Tom Brady if he’s getting great field position. Worth remembering though that New England hasn’t played a tough schedule. This would shape up as their worst turnover game…on the road at altitude against a great defense. Let’s call it a slight edge to the Pats…but not as much as the current differential seems to suggest.
New England: 5-3-2 ATS
Denver: 5-5 ATS
The Patriots pushed last week vs. Buffalo, after failing to get the money in New York. The market always prices them to perfection, which leaves little margin for error. Denver didn’t quite get the money against the closer last week in Chicago in that two-point victory. The Broncos were a value team until Manning started having foot problems.
Current Line: New England by 3, total of 43.5
This is very reminiscent of Denver’s game on this field with Green Bay not too long ago. At the time, we showed you that the stats didn’t justify at all Green Bay laying a field goal. Then, the fantastic Denver defense went out and embarrassed Aaron Rodgers. Can they do the same to Brady? Can’t hurt that it’s a late November game (rather than a January playoff!) when the Pats may be coasting to a degree. If you back the Patriots, you have to expect cheap points off of Osweiler turnovers.
As we prepare this report, it’s not certain yet whether this game will be part of the Sunday HURLEY package. Clients only get the best betting options! You can purchase the final word for all Sunday action on game day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 before the early games begin. Be sure you check on combination packages that include college football through the Final Four, the NFL through the Super Bowl, and college and pro basketball. This is a great time to be a sports bettor because oddsmakers can’t possibly cover all the bases!
Back with you tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK to cover Monday Night Football. Here’s what’s coming up in the next week…
Monday: NFL TV Preview…Baltimore at Cleveland
Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Green Bay at Detroit
Friday-Saturday: College Football Conference Championship Preview
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Indianapolis at Pittsburgh
Not exactly a blockbuster slate in the NFL…but some very interesting storylines developing with each of the TV teams. That’s why it pays to have INFORMATION! Our on site sources know what’s going on with the reeling Browns…and the slumping Packers…and the shorthanded Colts. We do the work, you GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY!
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