Is a Brady vs Manning AFC title game inevitable?
This isn’t a guarantee by any means but i’m sure you can guess which teams i’m leaning towards to advance to the AFC championship. It’s surely what the NFL and it’s money-hungry hands want. I’m not speaking for all NFL fans but i’m positive that most non-Ravens/Texans fans would prefer to see Brady face Manning next weekend. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves because as we know, crazy things happen in the NFL. Particularly this week where teams with the bye week can get caught off guard by being a little too confident. Then again there’s a reason that Vegas has the higher seed favored by more than one score (+9.5) but let’s take a closer look at how the Ravens or Texans can spoil some parties.
Biggest factors: Baltimore faced Denver not too long ago (week 15) and it was a lopsided affair in favor of Manning and co. Baltimore is a different looking team this time around with previously injured players not named Ray Lewis being much healthier and ready for action this time around. Can that be enough to slow down Manning? The Ravens need a couple of big plays on defense to help their offense keep up with Denver’s firepower. The Ravens must score quickly because being down by a TD against the Broncos in Denver is a death sentence. I know Ray Rice had 2 fumbles last week but look for screens and things of that sort to neutralize Von Miller’s pressure on Joe Flacco.
A big reason the Texans are playing this game in New England is because one month ago today, the Texans played against the Patriots on to road and it wasn’t pretty for Houston. Tom Brady and co laid the smack down. So what can Houston do to slow down the best offense in the league? Remember, this time Gronkowski is playing. For starters the Texans can’t get into such a big hole. The Patriots are susceptible to teams that can pressure Brady and control the clock. The Texans can do that but only if they score early. Playing catch up is not an option. The Texans biggest stars (Foster and Watt) both need big games and need to influence the game or else it’s going to be a long night for Houston.
Prediction: Like I said earlier, there’s a reason the Broncos and Patriots are favored so heavily at this stage of the season. They’re just better teams. It doesn’t take stats or extensive film study to figure that out, just watch the teams from week to week. That doesn’t mean that I don’t give the under dogs a chance this weekend. There’s always a chance for an upset and if I had to chose one, i’d take the Ravens. They’re not intimidated by any means and the Baltimore offense can catch fire at any moment. Also, Denver did have an extremely easy regular season schedule. I wouldn’t put my money on it though. Denver wins closer than expect and the Patriots roll. Get ready for an enitre week of Brady-Manning hype.