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The last time these teams met, the Patriots came from behind to cruise past the Broncos 41-23 in Week 15.
But anyone who understands football knows the past is not a reliable predictor of the future.
This time, Denver will be missing wide receiver Eric Decker. This should make it easier for the Patriots to focus on Demaryius Thomas in the secondary.
So why do I expect this game to be closer?
Despite all the focus on quarterback Tim Tebow, the key for the Broncos attack will be Willis McGahee. New England is an average rush defense (17th in the league) and if the Broncos can sustain drives with McGahee, they can keep the Patriots offense off the field longer.
And Tebow made several big-play, professional throws last week against the top-ranked defense in the league in Pittsburgh. That bodes well for Denver's rematch against the 31st-ranked pass defense.
Speaking of defense, Denver can contain Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker with cornerback Champ Bailey. And the Denver defense will be more prepared to game plan for the short drops that Patriots QB Tom Brady used in Week 15 to neutralize Elvis Dumervil.
The reason the Patriots will still prevail is that the Broncos still won't have a solution for the New England tight ends.
In Week 15, the Patriots exploited Denver's choice to put rookie safety Quinton Carter often on Aaron Hernandez. This time, expect Rob Gronkowski to give the Broncos matchup problems.
Upset odds for Denver: 35%.