With one 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime against the Steelers, Tim Tebow has managed to take away all the pain that the Broncos and the city of Denver have suffered over the past decade. Not since John Elway led the Broncos to two-straight Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999 has Denver been in this much of a frenzy over their football team. Not since the team's beloved Elway retired after his second Super Bowl victory.
I am afraid that the frenzy that Tebow has caused in Denver, in the NFL, on Twitter, etc. is going to be coming to an end as the Broncos fly to New England to face the Patriots. Here are 3 quick reasons why I don't see Tebow and the Broncos pulling off the upset:
1. Tom Brady - I'm following Ray's 5 Reasons the Saints Will Beat The 49ers article and stating that Tom Brady's experience in the NFL playoffs will trump all the magic Tebow can muster. Brady has played in 19 playoff games (14-5), played in 4 Super Bowls and won 3. Tebow has won 1 playoff game. In the regular season game where these 2 teams played in Week 15 (Pats won 41-23), Brady threw for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns. Going up against a Broncos Defense that still allowed an unhealthy Ben Roethlisberger to throw for 289 yards and a score last weekend, Brady is going to carve up this team faster than Uncle Freddie's ribeye steak. There is belief that the lack of a running game could come back to haunt Brady and company this weekend, but I think the offense has plenty of talent elsewhere to pick up the slack.
2. Coaching and the hiring of Josh McDaniels: Whether you like him or not, Bill Belichick's playoff resume' is still as long as 10-mile island. John Fox may have had playoff experience back in Carolina, but it's nothing compared to what Belichick has been able to accomplish. I am going to be a part of the "Conspiracy Theorists" and say, point blank, that the re-hiring of Josh McDaniels, who hand picked Tebow in the 2010 Draft, will have a big influence on how the Patriots Defense prepares for Tebow this week. They were able to keep Tebow in check through the air with 194 passing yards, but got burned by him as a runner after he rushed for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns.
3. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski: Okay maybe this is 2 reasons, but these guys will be a pain in the ass for the Broncos Defense. In the Week 15 meeting, the Broncos managed to shut down Wes Welker, who caught 4 passes for 41 yards. But because of this, Hernandez and Gronkowski were able to put up 13 combined receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown (Hernandez). Just like in Ray's article, the Patriots have too many weapons for the Broncos to keep track of, especially at tight end. Hernandez had the big game in the regular season, this week I see Gronkowski being "THE GUY" who will blow up.
- The Patriots have an 8-2 playoff record at home.
- The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, the Patriots fell short after losing to the Broncos, in Denver, in the Divisional Round back in 2005.
- The Patriots have been one-and-done over the past two seasons, losing to the Ravens in 2009 and the Jets in 2010.