The energy was crazy as the Denver Broncos won on the strength of Tebow's arm, Demaryius Thomas' legs and the great play of their defense. This week, the task gets even harder as the Broncos travel to Gillette Stadium to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots, as they begin what they hope is a big run. The pressure will be on a different level. And like they say about pressure, it bust pipes and it makes diamonds too.
QB Tim Tebow wasn't exactly the most efficient passer last week, but he sure did make each pass count. Tebow completed 10 passes for 316 yards against the Steel Curtain and targeted Ike Taylor almost every single time. Like last week, Tebow must continue to pull the trigger as John Elway said. The Patriots do have a pretty bad defense, so expect them to give up some plays to the Broncos receivers. But as long as DT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerod Mayo and crew can stop the run, then the Pats have the Broncos right where they want them. RB Willis McGahee must run the ball well to keep the Pats from just sitting in zones. Tebow has gotten better, but at this point in his career, he isn't ready to carry this team with his arm. And that could be a bad situation for the Broncos if he is forced to carry the team with his arm. The Broncos definitely want to control the tempo and keep the ball out of Tom Brady's hands.
The Patriots are a team that many had as Super Bowl favorites. After an exciting regular season, the Pats enter the playoffs as healthy as they've been since the start of the year. Expect the Pats to continue to use TE Rob Gronkowski (90 receptions, 1327 yards, 17 TDs). Gronk is a huge matchup problem and is especially a matchup problem for the Broncos. I see Gronk getting lose again and scoring yet another TD. If Gronk isn't open or if the Broncos double-cover him, expect Brady to look for guys like TE Aaron Hernandez (79 receptions, 310 yards, 7 TDs), WR Wes Welker (122 receptions, 1569 yards, 9 TDs) and WR Deion Branch(51 receptions, 702 yards, 5 TDs). And just when Brady and crew get you thinking about the pass, that's when the Pats hit you with the Law Firm, RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis is by far the Patriots best RB and can grind it out if that's what the Patriots want to do. LB Von Miller is a big key this game. The Broncos must get pressure on Brady all game long. Brady has shown that when pressure is on him, he does tend to make mistakes. If the Broncos can keep the pressure up, than Brady won't be able to get into a rhythm and that makes the game a bunch easier on the Broncos.
This game will be exciting in the beginning moments. But as the game wears on, the Broncos emotional high will come down. Once it does, expect the Pats to make the Broncos pay. Tebow has shown us some great things and has pulled off some great victories, but like all good things, they come to an end.
Prediction: New England 38, Denver 24