A Quick Betting Overview of New England’s Offense
New England Patriots fans had to love what they saw when the Denver Broncos were having their cornerbacks give the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receivers a huge cushion on every play. Even though Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t appear to be able to throw the ball more than 15 yards down the field with accuracy thanks to an injured shoulder, the Broncos were playing way off, letting Roethlisberger throw for over 300 yards on short passes that ended up being large gains because of the receivers having so much space to gallop after the catch.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 19, 2016
Why You Should Bet On the Patriots’ Passing Game
That plays right into the Patriots’ hands because of their quick passing game. Julian Edelman has returned to the active roster after recovering from a broken foot, and Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady was able to throw the ball in under 2.13 seconds per attempt; before Edelman returned, that was at 2.45 seconds. That might not seem like a lot of time, but it makes a big difference for teams trying to disrupt the Patriot offense with a pass rush. Getting the ball out sooner makes it easier for the Patriots’ offensive line to protect the passer. In the game against Kansas City — which features a pretty strong pass rush — the Patriots did not permit a sack or even a hit on Brady, and he only had five hurries.
Why You Should Bet On the Broncos’ Running Defense
When it comes to running the ball, though, the Patriots don’t do much at all. Against Kansas City, the Patriots only ran the ball seven times with running backs, for a total of 21 yards. Sixteen of those 21 yards happened after contact, which meant that the backs weren’t even gaining an average of a yard before they were hit by a defender. The longest gain on the ground was only eight yards.
This means that the Patriot offense will have to be heavy on the pass again against the Denver Broncos. The good news is that they have a quarterback who passes with an incredible amount of efficiency. Tom Brady finished the 2015 season with a completion percentage of 77.7, good for fifth in the NFL. Against Kansas City, he completed 78 percent of his passes, the best of all of the quarterbacks in the divisional playoff round.
A key matchup to watch will be Edelman against Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby. Edelman caught 10 balls (out of 16 targets) for 100 yards in his return from that foot fracture. Roby tends to have problems allowing yards after the catch. During the regular season, opposing receivers had 4.32 yards after the catch on average when he was covering them. Against Pittsburgh, that number mushroomed to an unacceptable 26.0.