Until recently, the AFC title game appeared that it would just be another annual Broncos and Peyton Manning versus Patriots and Tom Brady, in just another game where the winner would get the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl and win the Lombardi Trophy. But that all changed with the upstart Indianapolis Colts and QB Andrew Luck as they beat the Broncos last Sunday 24-13. Luck threw for some 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. Let’s take a closer look at the NFL betting action in this one.
With that said, there are some 10 things to consider, as we all await the AFC Championship game this coming Sunday the 18th at 6:45 PM ET and on CBS TV, with the early Vegas odds favoring the Patriots at -7 (EV) with the O/U at 53 ½ and -275 ML.
First question is which QB will perform better in this AFC Title game? New England has based their approach on QB Brady’s arm as in their playoff game against the Ravens that they won 35-31, he passed for 54 of their 66 offensive plays in the game.
Secondly is Colts QB Luck, who is the only QB in this postseason play who hasn’t won a Super Bowl Title. But he has gained momentum and confidence in his game, and that is critical as he takes on the Patriots. Previously, in his career, Luck has faced the Patriots 3 times, and has lost on all three of those occasions. The encouragement comes from their big win over Denver as he face 3 Pro Bowl defensive backs, and 2 Pro Bowl rushers and still beat Denver. Thus, is Luck ready to lead the Colts to a win over the Patriots?
Thirdly one wonders how important Darelle Revis the Patriots Cornerback will be in this AFC Title game. Some claim he will play a huge role, as in the past two AFC Title games the Patriots suffered as their starting CB was out with injuries, as the Patriots became very vulnerable to the big pass plays of Denver. With Revis at CB the Patriots have another Pro Bowl performer in their secondary.
Fourth we wonder if Indianapolis should be excited with their chance against the Patriots defense. That just may be the case as New England’s defense did not have a good performance in the playoff game with the Ravens, as Baltimore had 428 offensive yards, while averaging some 4.9 yards on each rushing attempt and were 3 for 3 on fourth downs.
Fifth should the Patriots seek more out of their rushing game? We would hope so since in their last game they only rushed 13 times in the game, and Brady did no hand the ball off one time in the 2nd half against the Ravens. They need to get their running backs more involved in this playoff game.
Sixth will the Colts defense be able to control the New England offense. If you consider that in the previous 3 games the Pats have averaged 48 points in each of those games. Will the Colts suddenly find a magic solution to stopping Pats QB Brady? But remember the Colts defense did stop the Broncos offense.
Seventh we wonder if the New England can survive another sloppy start like they had against the Ravens. They fumbled twice, and they were lucky the Ravens did not benefit from either. Also, QB Brady threw an interception, and the Ravens did score on that miscue by the Brady. They can survive, if it goes no deeper that that!
The eight question is what player will be the X-factor in this Title game, will it be the Patriots WR Amendola has last week he had 5 catches for 82 yards, and averaged 25 yards on each of his 5 kickoffs returns in the game, a 2 important touchdowns in the game. Or will it be Colts Pro Bow CB Davis who will cover Patriots WR’s Edelman and LaFell.
Ninth is asking what can we derive from the 1st games these two teams played this 2014 season? For the Patriots you will see more rushing against the Colts, as Coach Belichick loves to run against the Colts. Thus, the Colts better have their defense ready for not only the Patriots passing game, but their running game with Gray and Blount.
The tenth and final question is who will be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl? Our opinion is that even as the Patriots had lost the AFC Title game in the last two seasons, as a result of critical injuries, but this year if you bet on NFL at a offshore sportsbook, then look for the Patriots to win this game, as they have been the most dominate AFC team during this 2014 season and presently have no serious injuries!