2nd year. Reserve quarterback. Struggling team. Starter goes out, and this backup engineers an amazing string of victories. True underdog story of Tim Tebow, right? Wrong. Once upon a time, The Patriots were not a powerhouse offense capable of scoring 30 points per game. They weren't equipped with a Hall of Fame quarterback and a super talented recieving core. A decade ago, they were a defensive team starting a guy that nobody expected to succeed. 3 months later, that guy became the youngest QB to ever win a super bowl. Will Tim Tebow be that guy come January? Only time will tell. Until then, the task at hand is more important. For the Broncos: Making the playoffs. For the Patriots: Clenching Home Field Advantage.
These two teams could not possibly be more different from a personnel perspective. New England has a high powered finesse offense, and a historically horrible defense. Denver has a physical, low scoring offense, but a defense capable of keeping any team in the league under 20 points on any given Sunday. Except for the Packers of course, but that's a whole different story.
This clash of styles will be great to watch, but even more exciting will be the ever-amazing Tebow Time. If you haven't heard about it yet, then you need to come out from under the rock you live in, and step into the light. Apparently, it has become a theme in nearly every Broncos' game for the offense to underperform throughout the first three quarters while the defense keeps the score close. During the 4th quarter and Overtime, however, Tim Tebow, AKA The Mile High Messiah engineers comebacks like Montana and does it with Vick-like quickness. In his 8 starts, Tebow is 7-1 with 5 4th Quarter Comebacks, the most of any player in that timespan.
The lesser known story will be that of Tom Brady, Captain America. With 4273 passing yards this season, he is on pace to shatter Dan Marino's record of 5084 yards. In a year where quarterbacks have dominated more than usual, he has carried the Patriots and been one of the best.
The Patriots will come out firing, but the Broncos will play their game stick with them. I don't think its possible to blowout this Bronco team, especially in Denver, because of their effort and intensity. However, there are a number of injuries to watch in the Denver secondary, which will definitely have an impact on the game.
Matchups to Watch
Champ Bailey vs Rob Gronkowski. Seems unlikely at first glance, but the 6'0 Bailey has been locked up with both Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez over the last few years and done well. At 6'6 265 lbs, Gronkowski is a different breed than those two. His combination of size, strength, and athleticism make him an unstoppable force.
Broncos WRs vs Patriots DBs. Last week, the Denver Recievers dropped 6 passes in the first three quarters. Missed opportunites like those this week will kill you when you have Tom Brady on the other side of the field. Ironically, the Patriots DBs have been so bad that they are using their wide receivers at both safety positions. Allowing this guy to throw for over 250 yards and 2 touchdowns is not the recipe for success.
Broncos win, 20-17. Tebow will lead yet another 4th quarter comeback. This time, it will be with his legs. And not to mention this guy.