New England is historically unsuccessful at Mile High – how will the Patriots fare now that the Tebow era has begun in Denver? Frank Doyle reports.
New England has only won twice in seventeen visits to Denver since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Whether it’s a hex or the altitude or a statistical anomaly or some weird combination of all three, that’s how it’s been. New England doesn’t win at Denver.
Now, as well as that strange weight of history, New England finds itself having to take on a genuine professional football phenomenon. Tim Tebow has always been a decisive figure, right back to his time as a freshman Florida Gator. The majority opinion was that while Tebow was one of the greatest ever college players, he’d get found in the NFL, like so many College phenoms before him.
And then Denver started Tebow at quarterback, just to see what would happen. All Tebow did was reel off six straight wins running a high school offense and gave Denver control of the AFC West, one game ahead of the Raiders. No-one saw that one coming.
However. Despite all that recent success, Denver is a sports betting underdog this week against New England. History can’t take a three point stance and help you rush the passer. Denver may have won six games straight, but those games were against the Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, Chargers, Vikings and Bears. Of those teams, only one would be considered to have an top level quarterback, and Philip Rivers is having one of the worst seasons of his career.
Tom Brady is a whole other prospect. Denver’s tactics in recent games have been like Ali’s Rope-a-Dope against George Foreman in Zaire – soak up the punishment, and then win in the final minutes. Thing is, there’s only so much punishment offenses like Oakland’s or Kansas City’s can deal out.
Tom Brady, by contrast, has the ability to inflict a whole world of hurt. Brady’s thrown for 4,273 yards and 33 touchdowns this season. If the Broncos leave it to the fourth quarter this Sunday they’re cooked. New England will be so far ahead Denver won’t be able to see the Patriots in the distance.
The one thing going for Denver is that New England is a one-dimensional team. The Patriot offense has to be as potent as it is because the defense is the worst in the League, giving up 419 yards per game. So if Tim Tebow can duke it out with Brady and make the game into a track meet, where someone wins 42-38 or something like that, Denver has a chance.
Problem is that Denver just isn’t built that way. Brady is ten years calling the shots at New England – you can’t run the option one week and then turn around with a full spread, empty backfield, bombs away offense the next.
New England is just too good for Denver. That suspect defense will catch the Patriots out in the playoffs, but not in Denver this Sunday. New England wins and covers.