Playoff predictions: Patriots vs. Broncos

Playoff predictions: Patriots vs. Broncos
January 18, 2014, 10:45 am
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Tandler - Tarik

Although the Redskins are spectators in this year’s NFL playoffs, we know you’ll still be watching. So let’s have some fun predicting the outcomes, shall we? Here’s how Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler see the games unfolding:

Patriots at Broncos
Sunday 3:00 CBS
Broncos favored by 5

Tandler: Hey did you happen to hear that there are a couple of pretty good quarterbacks playing in this game? Guys by the name of Manning and Brady. Oh, so you’ve heard enough about that? OK, let’s look at some other aspects of this game, like the Patriots 30th-ranked rushing defense. I don’t necessarily see Knowshon Marino and Monte Ball having field days but if they get some first-down carries and Manning consistently ends up with second and five, New England’s 18th-ranked passing defense has no chance. Of course the Patriots have a pretty good ground weapon in LeGarrette Blount, who rolled for 166 yards and 4 TD’s against the Colts last week. If it ends up being a shootout, who wins? I just flipped a coin and came up with a horse's head. Denver has the ball last and heads to the Super Bowl. Broncos 38, Patriots 35

El-Bashir: I agree that the running game will play a big role. But let’s not overthink this, Rich. It’s about the headliners and, more specifically, the fact that Brady is 10-4 all-time against Manning. The Pats showed last week that they can winwithout Brady being dominant (all six scores came on the ground vs. the Colts). But I don’t see that being necessary again. Already without top pass rusher Von Miller, the Broncos now find themselves minus Chris Harris, a versatile cornerback who plays in all packages. As such, I foresee a big day for Brady and receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. I also foresee the Brady vs. Manning debate becoming less of one in the aftermath of a decisive Patriots’ win. Patriots 35, Broncos 24.