The Patriots have won eight straight games and finished the season at 13-3 as the top seed in the AFC. Quarterback Tom Brady is playing as well as ever, and the rest of his offensive weapons are playing superbly.
New England finished the regular season with the NFL's second-ranked offense, averaging 428.0 yards per game. Brady wrapped up the 2011 season with a quarterback rating of 105.6 to go along with 5,235 yards and 39 touchdown passes.
The Patriots simply have too much firepower for Denver's 20th-ranked defense to handle. The Broncos finished the regular season allowing 357.8 total yards per game and 231.5 passing yards per game.
When the two teams met in Week 15, Brady and the Patriots racked up 451 total yards en route to a 41-23 road victory. Since that time, I don't think Denver has done anything to improve defensively.
Rookie linebacker Von Miller has been dominant at times this season, and after being benched for ineffectiveness in Week 17, he bounced back with a sack and two tackles for loss against the Steelers on Sunday.
Still, a small spark from Miller won't be enough against a Patriots team that is rolling offensively right now.
For the Broncos to have a chance in this one, they have to stop Brady and his offense. I just don't see that happening.
If the game is close in the fourth quarter, maybe Tebow would have a chance to pull off another miracle. But Denver's defense won't be able to keep it tight for very long.