This will be the fifth time Manning and Brady meet at the playoffs.

Betting on the AFC Championship 2016 Game Total

Written by on January 19, 2016

This Sunday, the AFC Championship takes place at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, as the New England Patriots head west to take on the Denver Broncos. The game kicks off at 3:05pm Eastern time on CBS. The Patriots are favored to win by 3.5 points, and the over/under total is 45 points. The Patriots held off a late Chiefs rally to seal the divisional playoff win at home, while the Broncos rallied late to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers. This marks the 17th time that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will play at quarterback opposite one another, the fifth time in the postseason and the fourth time in the AFC Championship. Click here for our NFL betting lines.

Why should you bet on the Patriots (-3.5)?

This might be Brady-Manning V, but Manning is clearly in the twilight of his career, while Brady still looks like he has quite a few seasons left in him. When Manning was leading the Broncos down the field for their last two drives against Pittsburgh, it looked like it took every bit of his energy to complete those passes. Brady, on the other hand, looked calm and efficient as he sliced and diced the Chiefs’ defense in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Broncos did beat the Patriots back on November 29, but Brock Osweiler was the Broncos’ quarterback. He was terrific, throwing for 270 yards and a score as the Broncos won in overtime. When the Patriots beat Kansas City last week, they knocked off a defense that may be just as good as the vaunted Denver unit. Julian Edelman is back in the lineup, which means that opposing defenses can no longer key on Rob Gronkowski as the primary target in the passing game.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, QBs of the Patriots and Broncos, respectively.
Ladies and gents, get ready for ”Brady vs. Manning V”!

Why should you pick the Broncos (+3.5)?

The Broncos have had one of the strongest defenses all year long, making opposing runners and passers pay every time they touch the ball. While the Pittsburgh Steelers have had success passing against them, they have been able to largely control everyone else — including the Patriots back in November. The game is away from New England, and while the Patriots are almost unbeatable at home in the playoffs, not having lost since a setback to the Jets in 2011, they will be playing at altitude — always a tough task. If the Broncos can establish their running game — an iffy proposition after their lack of production against Pittsburgh — that will make the play-action calls a believable threat. If the Patriots continue to struggle running the ball, the Broncos secondary could feast on some bad decisions, as the Broncos may have the best pass rush in the NFL.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

The Patriots have the momentum right now — and their quarterback is playing a lot better than his counterpart. The rules favor the offense right now, and I like Brady to lead the Patriots over the Broncos, 31-24.