Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dull Prediction Department

No sports forecast is both less interesting to its audience and more dangerous to the forecaster than predicting that the outcome of a rematch will closely resemble the course and outcome of the first meeting of the teams in question. Nevertheless, logic and instinct tell me that's what's going to happen in the Patriots-Broncos game.

There is a significant chance that Tim Tebow will come out and stink tonight and the Pats will win by a telephone number. I was in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida over the holidays, Tebow's high school home town and where He will come again some day to be a back-bench Republican congressman. I thus was forced to watch every play of the Broncos-Chiefs game, and I have never, with the possible exception of the playoff games of the 1985 Bears, seen a quarterback that helpless. Tebow just didn't know what he wanted to do, and so did less than nothing.

But that didn't happen in the first New England game, and I don't think it will happen again. I have resolved the Tebow issue to my own satisfaction. He's Mark Sanchez who runs. He's going to be very bad in any number of games and his team will lose. But he can beat you, too. There will be games, more of them, when he's a reason Denver wins. There are plenty of NFL quarterbacks I rate below both those guys.

Tebow had a more than decent game against New England last month. He had over 280 yards of offense. The Broncos scored 23 points, the exact same number they scored against the Steelers in regulation last Sunday, in Tebow's finest game as a passer. I suspect Denver will score in the 20-24 point range tonight. That's what most Patriots opponents have done, after all.

There is, however, no way I can see the other end of what's necessary for a Denver victory, or even for a close game. The Broncos simply don't have what it takes to keep New England's offense from producing points at the pace to which it is accustomed. Denver doesn't force many turnovers, the key to 90 percent of all football upsets. Denver's pass defense had significant difficulties against the Steelers, facing of the NFL's seven best quarterbacks playing on one leg. Tonight they face one of the league's three best QBs with two legs. Not a promising vista, that.

If Tebow stinks, call it 45-3 New England. If he plays well, call it 38-28 New England. My best guess is around 37-20.

Satan's always tough at home.


Post a Comment

<< Home