Patriots at Broncos: More Mile High Miracles?

Posted: December 15, 2011 by ndbohlen in NFL, Patriots, Prediction
Tags: , , , , , ,

Mike: TEEEEEBOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!

Yup, that’s right. It’s Tim v. Tom this weekend at Mile High Stadium. (Well, technically it’s Sports Authority Field, but we’ve already agreed to ignore corporate sponsorship. Unless we’re the ones getting corporate sponsors. Then we’ll plug anyone, anytime, with zero shame.)

God, do I hate Tim Tebow, but I can’t wait to see if he can plow through your stress-inducing defense and eke out a victory by three points. Tom Brady is better by almost every measurement of a quarterback’s performance… except one: winning percentage. This year, Timothy Richard Tebow is second to only one man: Aaron Rodgers. Clearly the question over the summer of “Can Tebow play in the NFL?” was completely misguided. We already knew the answer to that question: no. But we were all asking the wrong question. We should have asked, “Can he win?” And the unqualified answer is: YES.

If you look back at our previous posts we often look to margin of victory to get us a little sense of a team’s strength. But six of Tebow’s victories came in games with score differentials of a TD or less. Bill Barnwell probably will preach how a team cannot sustain that level of winning with that little margin, but 6-0 in games decided by a TD or less… damn.

Nick: Whoaaaa, there, hold your blue-and-orange horses, Michael. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, don’t get your panties in a puddle. Sure, Tebow is 7-1, but who has he played? Let’s count his opponents down in reverse order:

A Bears team missing its two best (read: only) offensive players (with workhorse Matt Forte replaced by Tebow’s secret agent Marion Barber); a 2-11 Vikings squad; a Chargers team amid a six-game losing streak and falling apart under Norv Turner (that was redundant, wasn’t it?); a noticeably exhausted/apathetic/divinely uninspired Jets team; Kansas City (’nuff said); the Oakland Carson Palmers (I have officially renamed them after their new quarterback, who, with 13 INTs in just 7 games, would be on pace for 30 picks over a full season); a Lions team that mauled them; and a Dolphins team that had lost its first six games.

Not exactly the most impressive slate of wins, if you ask me.

Then, let’s consider who Tebow managed to avoid by not starting those first five games: San Diego (pre-collapse), Green Bay (pre- and post-perfect), Tennessee (in the playoff hunt), Cincinnati (7-3 vs. everyone besides the top two teams in the AFC, who happen to be in their division), and Oakland (pre-Carson Palmer and pre-Darren McFaddon’s injury). In other words, Kyle Orton got totally screwed by having to face an incredibly tough slate of games, only to be replaced right when the going got easy.

I guess my point is this: the “yes” answer to whether Tebow can win? Definitely needs to be qualified. In fact, you did so yourself – Tebow’s margin of victory is like, half a point.

Mike: Well, good news for you, the Patriots’ defense might match-up well against this team. They bled out against the unimpressive passing attacks of Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman, but Tebow is unlikely to exploit their secondary. They’ll have to tighten up their rush defense. Letting up 9 rushing first downs to the Redskins? You can make up for that because the Redskins will need the entire game to accumulate them. But the Broncos? They will pick up all of them in the 4th quarter and make their opponent regret it.

TEEEEEEBBBOOOOOOWWWWW!!!

Tebow and the Broncos have had their way with the AFC East so far. What appeared to be an easy game at the beginning of the year looks a lot more worrisome than everybody ever imagined. Remember when even non-Broncos fans were chanting “We want Te-bow!” because it seemed like harmless fun? Save us all, Jebus!

What does our resident sports Murphy’s law expert think about this coming weekend?

Nick: I am horribly pessimistic for this weekend’s suddenly primetime-worthy match-up (seriously, flex scheduler?). There’s a reason I’m the resident expert in Murphy’s law as its corollaries play out in the world of sports (answer: never in my favor, except for that one time in 2004…that was awesome).

I expect Tebow to run train on the Patriots defense, in that he runs a lot, and is pretty much the size of a train. Seriously, that man is one bucket of body paint away from being the Incredible Hulk. The Pats D couldn’t even keep Rex Grossman and the Redskins from moving up and down the field at will to the tune of 463 yards and 27 points (plus a near 7 more to send the game to OT). I have given up all hope on the Patriots being able to stop anyone. Plus, I think the Patriots defense is going to wear down from the lack of oxygen at Mile High, and constant pounding Tebow will give them (I shouldn’t have to clarify, but I’m not making an innuendo there, because first of all, Tebow’s a virgin, and second, he’s a God-fearing Christian on the field with a bunch of men).

Mike: I don’t get it. So you’re not sold on Tebow being a contender, but you’re worried about his ability to mow down the Pats’ defense? Do you think the Eagles games is going to replay itself and they’ll give up more yards to the quarterback than to the running back? If Tebow wins this game, are you sticking to you guns on this one? Or will you become a believer?

Nick: Well, yeah. Did you not witness Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman chew up the Pats defense like space brownie sundae? I would venture the opinion that those are not contenders despite their performances, however unpopular a viewpoint it may be. My point is that looking at Tebow’s 7-1 record this year as a starter is a completely overrated stat, and doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. He’s had plenty of help from his defense, a string of overmatched opponents, more than a couple of lucky bounces, and, of course, God.

But if he beats the Pats, I guess I’ll become a believer. I would say “God help me,” but He’s clearly busy helping Tebow. I also happen to be a rabid atheist.

Mike: Enough about Tebow. The Denver defense is really the underreported story in the Bronco’s winning streak. Von Miller has 11.5 sacks this year. His counterpart on the other side of the D-line, Elvis Dumervil, has 7.5. As should be expected, Denver’s defense has combined to generate 37 sacks, fourth highest in the league.

Nick: The Denver defense has been critical to Denver’s success, but I don’t think they’ve been underreported. There are enough Tebow haters out there that plenty of people have pointed to Miller and Dumervil and Champ Bailey keeping Denver in close games so Tebow can work his divine magic (is that an insulting pairing?) in the fourth quarter. Last week, the Pats O-line held Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to zero sacks, and only gave up one all game. Hopefully that sort of protection travels with the team to Denver this week.

If it does, and Brady can stay on his feet, I think the Patriots can manage to put some points on the board. Of Denver’s last eight games, only Detroit had a noteworthy offense , and they rode the Broncos up and down the field for a 45-point offensive clinic. The Broncos are middle of the pack when it comes to pass defense, and Matt Stafford, the only quarterback within seven ZIP codes of Tom Brady talentwise (with regards to Denver’s last eight opponents), lit the secondary up for 267 yards and 3 TDs on 21 of 30 passing. I could see Brady, the newly anointed record-holder Gronk, and Wes Welker slicing through the Denver defense for some serious yardage and (new word alert) pointage.

Mike: Speaking of new words, are you aware that the QB facing the Patriots this week has a name that is now accepted as an official verb by the Global Language Monitor? Now, since Bostonites don’t actually speak a language that is recognizable or intelligible in any way, I imagine that this means little to you. But, don’t worry, Urban Dictionary has a great first definition for Tom Brady.

Nick: I refuse to use his name as an official word in any way other than a completely ironic, mocking fashion. As for Tom Brady, I’m partial to the second definition, probably because I do think of him during intercourse (don’t tell my girlfriend).

Clearly, the recipe for beating Denver involves putting up a ton of points and forcing the Broncos to win on Tebow’s left arm, instead of letting them stay within a score or two to pull some last-minute magic out of their tights. The question is, can I count on that happening? Or should I be worried that Tebow is starting to get a hang of this “passing” concept with two straight games over 200 airborne yards?

Mike: In order for the Patriots to beat the Broncos this week, they’re going to need to step out of their first-half scoring slump. They’ve shown signs of life recently (but 3 points in the first quarter against the Colts… really?), but they’ll need to secure a good lead heading into the locker room at halftime if they want to take away a win and the AFC East title. The Broncos need to only stay close in the game in order to pull out another miracle.

Speaking of miracles, if they happen every week aren’t they no longer, by definition, a miracle? I would expand that theory to the idea of Jesus rising a second time, but I don’t want Tebow to get angry and hit me with his smiting stick (as a virgin, this is the only use he has for his penis).

I don’t think this will be a low-scoring affair. Tebow has taken on better defenses than the Patriots and scored over 30 points against them. But we can’t forget that Tom Brady has posted over 30 points on the scoreboard in each of the last five games. So, if Brady can outplay the Denver defense and Tebow takes advantage of the Patriots’ weakness, I can see this one going into the fourth quarter close and blasting past the 46-point over/under.

Nick: It’s true that Tebow has been able to put 30+ points on the board on occasion, but those were still close games where the Broncos didn’t have to deviate from their usual conservative hodge-podge of play-calling. I’m banking on Brady leading the Pats to a multiple touchdown advantage that forces Tebow to try to throw the ball forward in such a way that his receivers can catch it. Besides, even with those 38- and 35-point explosions, Tebow still only musters 19 points per game. I like those odds.

(Actually, don’t tell anyone this, but I kind of think Tebow might be starting to throw the ball better, and I secretly fear that he’s going to be able to pick apart the secondary despite throwing a spiral that is more wobbly than you after two beers. I’m praying that it’s not true. And by praying, I mean “creating a sense of hope inside my head like a normal human being,” not “trying to make myself heard among millions of other people by an unseen person/being/thing/who knows?”)

Mike: I think the Pats eked one out last week when they underestimated the passing attack of Rex Grossman (yeah, you never thought that was possible, right?). But they better not underestimate the threat that awaits at Mile High Stadium. Clearly, you’re a total paranoid sports freak, so that’s not a problem for you. Too bad you’re not a Patriots consultant to help them do the same.

A Mormon might be our next president, half of Hollywood are Scientologists, and the most Christian man in football is about to beat the Patriots. Final ScoreBroncos 34, Pats 31

Nick: Despite all my fears and concerns, I still believe in the unmatched (i.e., winningest) QB-coach duo of Brady and Belichick (plus, I have to, don’t I?). And even if the Broncos manage to keep it close, I don’t see any Christian Ponder or Marion Barber brain farts out of the Pats offense to give Tebow extra chances to resurrect a win. (I’m betting Brady learned from last week’s red zone interception.)

The Pats finally end this absurdly illogical run by Jesus in disguise. Final Score: Patriots 34, Broncos 19

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