National Football League action on Sunday afternoon and the AFC West will grapple with the AFC East as the Denver Broncos take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Broncos enter this game at 1-3 on the year while the Patriots have gone a mediocre 2-2 so far. This game was supposed to take place last week but was postponed due to New England having positive COVID-19 tests.
These teams last met back in 2017, and the Patriots won that game on the road by a score of 41-16. They were seven-point favorites in the contest, and the OU line was set at 45.
(Late line movements and injury reports were updated on Sunday Morning.)
Line Movements: Seeing as this game was scheduled to be played last Sunday, then Monday, and ultimately rescheduled to this week, there has been little movement on the line. New England opened as a nine-point favorite and now stands as an eight-point favorite in the contest. 72 percent of the picks ATS are backing the Patriots and giving the points.
There has been little movement on the total for this contest as well. After opening at 45 points, as of Sunday morning, the total has slipped down slightly to 44.5 points or it has stayed at 45, depending on the sportsbook. 54 percent of the bets on the total are looking for this one to end up Under the total.
Game-time Weather: Temperatures at kickoff are expected to be in the low 60s under sunny skies. The real-feel temperature will be around 65 degrees with the temperature holding steady throughout the game. There is no chance of rain in the forecast for this one. Winds are from the east-southeast around six miles an hour with the wind gusts staying under the 10 mile an hour mark.
The Offense Finally Showed UpThe Denver Broncos are off to a slow start after finishing just 7-9 a year ago as they enter this game sporting a 1-3 record. The Broncos have not played since October 1st, when they beat the Jets on the road by a score of 38-27. Beating the lowly Jets on the road is a far easier task than beating the Pats in Foxborough, so Denver has their work cut out. The offense has been an issue for the Broncos this year, but they do come in having scored 38 points in the win over the Jets. New York does have a weak defense, so the fact that Denver finally got their offense going is not a surprise. They had 359 yards of total offense, including 242 through the air. Brett Rypien had mixed results in his first start as he threw for 242 yards with two TDs, but he also had three INTs in the game. He will need to eliminate the mistakes in this one, though Drew Lock is expected to return from injury and should start in this one. Missing Courtland Sutton has not helped the passing game as Denver does not have a lot of depth at the WR position.
Phillip Lindsay missed the game against the Jets with a toe injury, but that is why they signed Melvin Gordon in the offseason. Gordon had 107 yards rushing and two TDs against the Jets, and he leads the team with 281 yards and three TDs on the year. Lindsay is expected back for this one by the Broncos could be missing Gordon as he is facing a possible suspension after being pulled over for a DUI (and he's also sick). Despite having those two backs, the Broncos are 29th in the league in rushing at 92.5 ypg, but they have a shot at getting things going as the Pats have been below average against the run so far. The Denver defense has been average overall as they rank 16th in total yards allowed an 14th in points allowed, giving up 24.5 ppg. The key to stopping the Patriot offense is clamping down o the run, and the Broncos are 13th in that department, allowing just 109.0 ypg on the ground so far. Denver did allow 129 yards rushing in the win over the Jets and will have to do better than that in this one. It won't get easier for Denver after this one as they have home games against the Chiefs and Chargers on deck.
OUT: LB Jeremiah Attaochu, LB Mark Barron, RB LeVante Bellamy, LB Austin Calitro, DT Jurrell Casey, TE Noah Fant, TE Austin Fort, RB Melvin Gordon III, WR K.J. Hamler, DL Jonathan Harris, NT Joel Heath, T Ja'Waun James, DE Dre'Mont Jones, LB Von Miller, NT Kyle Peko, LB Justin Strnad, WR Courtland Sutton, DE DeMarcus Walker, G Elijah Wilkerson
Questionable: CB A.J. Bouye, TE Albert Okwuegbunam, DL Mike Purcell
The Pats Are Mere Mortals Without BradyThe New England Patriots came into this year having won the AFC East 11 years in a row, but that streak is very much in jeopardy this year. New England comes in at 2-2 on the year, and they look like a mere mortal team now that Tom Brady is off to Tampa Bay. The Pats have been a passing team for years, but it has been the opposite this year as they come in ranked 24th in that department, compared to ranking 2nd in the league in rushing. Wait, the Pats are a running team now? Well, it is 2020, so anything is possible. New England is off a 26-10 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and that is the kind of game that they would have gotten into a shootout with Brady at the helm. New England had just 172 yards passing in the contest, but we must note that Brian Hoyer got the start (was pulled for Jarrett Stidham) as Cam Newton was out due to COVID-19. Newton is expected to be back in this one, and he has thrown for 714 yards with two TDs and two INTs on the year.
It is interesting to note that New England QBs have combined for five INTs already compared to the 7.2 INTs a year that Brady averaged over his last five years with the team. As I stated above, the Pats are 2nd in the league in rushing, but they will be missing Sony Michel, who leads the team in rushing with 173 yards. I would expect Newton to carry the bulk of the running in this one as he is 2nd on the team with 149 while Rex Burkhead is 3rd with 128. Don't forget about Damien Harris, who had 100 of the 185 yards rushing that the Pats had in the loss to the Chiefs. The defense played well against the Chiefs as they held them to just 323 yards of total offense, but it wasn't nearly enough as they were done in by three INTs and a lost fumble. The defense will get a boost in this one as DB Stephon Gilmore is expected to return. New England has been decent on defense, ranking 11th in total yards, 12th against the pass, 18th against the run, and 12th in points allowed, giving up just 23.0 ppg.
OUT: DL Beau Allen, C David Andrews, DT Michael Barnett, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Yodny Cajuste, OL Marcus Cannon, S Patrick Chung, DL Byron Cowart, DB Cody Davis, C James Ferentz, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Brandon King, TE Matt LaCosse, WR Marqise Lee, OL Shaq Mason, RB Sony Michel, DE Derek Rivers, OL Najee Toran, LB Josh Uche, FB Danny Vitale
Questionable: DL Adam Butler, OL Jermaine Eluemunor, TE Dalton Keene, DL Deatrich Wise Jr., OL Isaiah Wynn
New England is:
- 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall
- 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games on fieldturf
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games in October
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Patriots are just not the same team without Tom Brady under center. They do not have the killer instinct right now, and that should allow the Broncos to stay in this game. They get back Phillip Lindsay and should pound away at New England run defense that is just 18th n the league. That will open up holes for rookie Brett Rypien to hit some big plays down the field. He had a good first start against the Jets and should not have butterflies coming into this one. The Pats have turned into a running team, and the Broncos have been solid against the run so far. New England has played far better at home than on the road, but I still feel that the Broncos have the running game and the defense to keep this one close.
Prediction: Denver +8
Full-Game Total Pick
I know that the offenses have been booming in the NFL this year, but this will not be one of those games. The Broncos will look to run the ball plenty with the rookie QB in there, and they have Phillip Lindsay back. He will be facing a below-average New England run defense, so that will allow the Broncos to chew up plenty of the clock. The Pats come in at 2nd in rushing and just 24th in passing, so they will also be chewing up plenty of the clock when they have the ball. The Pats have allowed only 15.5 ppg here at home, and while Denver has allowed 27 ppg on the road, they will be facing a new England offense that isn't nearly as explosive as it has been in years past. The Under is 17-8-1 in Denver's last 26 games as an underdog and 16-5 in New England's last 21 games following a straight-up loss. That will seal the deal for me.
Prediction: Under 45