AFC Championship Game Predictions


Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) following the game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Denver and New England will matchup this Sunday for the AFC Championship, but somehow this game just feels so much bigger. This game not only determines which team will march to the Meadowlands come February 2nd, but several legacies are on the line. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and even head coach Bill Belichick’s legacy are all on the line. With all the focus on these three individuals this past week, it’s easy to forget some of the other key members of each squad.

With only 48 hours left until Sunday’s game, we here at Chowder and Champions will each provide our own insight into the matchup as well as our predictions for who will move on to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Phil Bausk (Co-Editior)

I don’t think either team will want to kick many field goals, so a touchdown heavy game we should see. The injury to Broncos defensive back Chris Harris is devastating for a defense that has been inconsistent all season. No one knows better than the Pats about where to attack on offense. As for the other side of the ball, the Broncos will score, but the Pats defense has played well together in the last six weeks. It will come down to who gets the ball last, and who knocks down the opposing QB most. Ironically, I think the Pats win on a late FG. (bet the over!)

Patriots 31 – Broncos 28

Frank O’Laughlin (Co-Editor)

The Patriots may not boast as much talent as the Denver Broncos, but they are playing with confidence and believe in themselves.

If New England can create a turnover or two, get pressure on Peyton Manning and exploit the Broncos weakness on the outside of their secondary, I then like Tom Brady and company to advance to the Super Bowl.

I also strongly feel New England’s physicality in the run game will open up play-action, creating a nightmare for Denver. Though Denver will keep this game close, Bill Belichick will not allow it to become a track meet.

Patriots 31 – Broncos 28

Willy (Writer)

The Pats can and should win against the Bronco’s even though they’ve never done well at Mile High. It may come down to the last second but I don’t see why the Pats can’t pull this one out, baring turnovers.

Patriots 31- Broncos 28

*John Ackerman could not be reached by the posting of this article*

Dylan Smith (Writer)

The Patriots are coming off an impressive win versus the Colts last week, showing how dominant they can be running the football. Going back to the regular season, the Patriots have ran for at least 100 yards in the past three games (Colts, Bills, Ravens). It should be interesting to see how the Patriots approach their offense come Sunday, do they establish the run early, or test out the weakened secondary of the Broncos? I can see the Patriots moving back to a pass first offense, especially in the first few drives in order to get some points on the board. If they are able to get 10 or 14 points on the board, I can see them move towards a run game (especially if the defense can hold the Broncos).

We all know the story on the Broncos, high-powered offense lead by Peyton Manning and his cast of stars. Manning has a wealth of options to throw the ball, from Julius Thomas, to Demaryius Thomas, to Wes Welker, to Eric Decker, he certainly will have his choice on where to throw. This game sets up perfectly for the Broncos and specifically Peyton Manning. A high powered offense versus a weakened defense, at home, and in mild weather. All of these signs are pointing to a Broncos win, but it’s going to be interesting to see if Peyton Manning can top Tom Brady and Bill Belichick under the spotlight.

Up until yesterday, I was unsure who would win this game, I kept going back and forth between the Patriots and Broncos. But the more I look at the stats, the more I like the Patriots in this game. The Broncos, while very impressive, I feel are running out of gas (similar to the 2007 Patriots). They dominated the regular season, but now I see them starting to lose steam, a perfect example of that was last weekend against the Chargers. They gave up 17 fourth quarter points against the Broncos defense, which has to be very concerning for Bronco fans. The loss of CB Chris Harris is a very big blow to an already shaky defense especially after the loss of Von Miller. In the end I believe this will come down to a last possession drive by Peyton Manning and in the end, I think he will run out of gas and throw a interception to end the Broncos season and send the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

Patriots 31 Broncos 28

What do you guys think? Will the Patriots make their 6th Super Bowl in the Brady/Belichick era, or are Peyton and Wes destined to New York?