There are certain pairs of players that are inexorably linked in league history because of their epic duels for pigskin supremacy. One such rivalry will be rekindled this week in New England as two of the league’s biggest names prepare to do battle, as they have countless other times over more than a decade. That’s right folks, strap in for the showdown – Gronkowski vs. Gronkowski, with the winner getting family bragging rights and the larger turkey leg at Thanksgiving dinner.
Oh, and I think the quarterbacks in this game are both supposed to be kinda good too?
The Broncos have played better than their 2-2 record suggests. They must have pummeled a Goddell family member the week before the schedule was released, because they will have faced four playoff teams in the first five weeks of the season after this game. They lost by a TD or less in games against the Texans and Falcons, so had they been playing mortal teams during this span, they could easily be 3-1 or 4-0. The Tebow Broncos, these guys are not.
The Pats have had trouble over the past two seasons when they face teams that feature several viable threats in the passing game, and they’ve also had a hard time when facing above-average or elite quarterbacks. I’m not sure which of those two categories Peyton falls into at this stage in his career and his recovery, but he looked pretty limber in those Direct TV commercials in the fairy outfit. So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
And one more wrinkle that may or may not matter – the Broncos signed ex-Patriot center Dan Koppen in the offseason. After spending so much time in New England, he may be able to offer some insight on the New England offensive line that could help the Denver pass rush exploit any weaknesses that may exist. The Patriots offense struggles when opposing teams can generate pressure on Brady without blitzing their asses off, so any tiny edge for the pass rush could make an impact. Or maybe I’m just full of shit. Who knows?
I’m taking the Broncos to cover the spread, and they aren’t a bad moneyline bet either.
Other Lines I Like
Falcons (-3) @ Redskins
This one isn’t a slam dunk since the Falcons play so much better at home, but has anyone noticed how bad the Washington secondary has played this year? 326 yards per game (second-worst in the league) and 11 passing TDs allowed (worst in the league). And 50% of their games have been against Sam Bradford and Josh Freeman. Has anyone noticed how good Matt Ryan has been this year? League-best QB rating, second-most TD passes, and an array of offensive weapons that looks like a Pro Bowl roster.
Ravens (-6) @ Chiefs
Yep, going against two home underdogs this week. On the good idea meter, that plan usually ranks somewhere between lighting money on fire and rubbing hot sauce on your genitals. But the Chiefs might be the worst team in the league, and the Ravens are coming off a long week after playing on Thursday. And plus their field goals count this year even when they don’t go through the uprights, so those extra bonus points should help them cover this spread comfortably.
2012 Record ATS 12-4
ATS Record since 2010 83-70-4