In a duel of marquee quarterbacks, Tom Brady’s Patriots host Tim Tebow’s Broncos in tonight’s divisional playoff game. Unfortunately for Tebow, his team is ill-equipped to win the kind of high-scoring games New England has been playing all season.
When the Broncos have been at their best under Tebow, they’ve been controlling the ball with their option running game and grinding out close wins (including four in overtime). Against the Pats, though, playing for that kind of 16-13 game would be foolhardy at best.
New England’s biggest weakness on the season has been a secondary that’s gotten shredded by opposing QBs (as in a 34-31 loss to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills). Although Tebow has specialized in long passing TDs, he rarely gets more than one such play a game, and that won’t be enough against Brady.
Denver, playing without veteran safety Brian Dawkins, is a good pass defense but not a dominant one. They may not get embarrassed by Brady’s balanced passing attack, but they’re certainly not going to stop it.
If this scenario sounds familiar to fans on both sides, it should. It already played out once this season, with New England going into Mile High and coming away with a 41-23 victory.
With Bill Belichick’s team playing on its home field—and with Belichick’s defense having already seen what Tebow is likely to throw at them—it’s hard to imagine the Broncos reversing that result tonight. Look for Tebow (again) to put more points on the board than usual, and look for that total to be not nearly enough to match Brady.