Get ready for Brady-Manning XV.
The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are facing off in the AFC Championship game on Sunday Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. It’s the 15th meeting between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. After New England’s Week 12 34-31 comeback victory in overtime over Denver, Brady holds the 10-4 advantage.
The Patriots beat the Broncos this season, but it was one of the wildest games in recent memory. The temperature was in the 20s, the wind was kicking up and New England fumbled on their first three offensive drives, leading to a 24-0 Denver lead at the half.
Of course, a lot has changed since the Patriots won that game. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller were both placed on injured reserve and New England’s secondary has regained some health.
Check out how the two teams match up below.
Patriots’ passing offense vs. Broncos’ passing defense
New England: 10th, 255.4 yards per game
Denver: 27th, 254.4 yards per game
Despite some troubles from Brady early in the season, the Patriots still ranked as a Top-10 passing offense. New England had no trouble passing on Denver in Week 12. Brady threw for 344 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Broncos sacked Brady three times.
Denver’s pass defense got even weaker without Miller, though they weren’t having much trouble getting after Philip Rivers on Sunday night in the AFC divisional playoff.
The Patriots had 185 yards in passing offense on Saturday night while the Broncos held Rivers to 194 yards. Edge: Patriots
Patriots’ pass defense vs. Broncos’ passing offense
New England: 18th, 239.0 yards per game
Denver: First, 340.2 yards per game
The Patriots’ defense dared the Broncos to run the ball in their matchup in November. That meant that Manning and the Broncos gained just 132 yards through the air. Manning had two touchdowns and an interception against New England.
That was also in extreme wind and cold with a banged up New England secondary. The Patriots allowed 317 yards to the Colts with four interceptions on Saturday while the Broncos threw for 230 yards on Sunday night. EDGE: Broncos
Patriots’ rushing offense vs. Broncos’ run defense
New England: Ninth, 129.1 yards per game
Denver: Seventh, 101.6 yards per game
The last time these two teams played, Patriots running backs Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount were benched for fumbling in the first quarter, which led to a whole lot of Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen. They still ran for 116 yards, but Blount is on a whole other level right now. He ran 24 times for 166 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday night.
New England ran for 234 yards on Saturday while the Broncos allowed just 65 yards on the ground to the Chargers. The Broncos were solid against the run all year, but much of that was due to the fact that opposing teams were playing from behind and were forced to pass. EDGE: Patriots
Patriots’ run defense vs. Broncos’ rushing offense
New England: 30th, 134.1 yards per game
Denver: 15th, 117.1 yards per game
The Patriots looked rough against the run in Week 12, but some of that might have been by design. Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno ran for 224 of Denver’s 280 yards.
The Patriots stayed in nickel the entire game despite the Broncos carving through the middle of the defense all game. Patriots nose tackle Sealver Siliga had not been inserted into the front four yet at that point. He and linebacker Dont’a Hightower have been difference makers against the run lately.
Whether or not the Broncos can run the ball could determine this game. EDGE: Broncos