Broncos set to host Patriots

Oct 10, 2005 3:38 AM

Talk about perfect timing.

Not that any team would relish playing the two-time defending champion New England Patriots, but with the Brady Bunch coming off a trip to "Hot-lanta" this would seem to be a golden Colorado opportunity for a Mile High celebration.

Denver is coming off a home game with Washington and owning a definite advantage over the weary Patriots, who have had to face Carolina, Pittsburgh, San Diego and the Falcons over the past four weeks.

Not to mention the revenge factor. Denver was beaten at home 30-26 by New England in the last meeting two years ago as a 2½-point favorite.

Normally you would expect this showdown of two of the AFC’s glamour teams to be a Sunday night or Monday night affair, but this is simply a late afternoon ballgame. However, the Patriots are in danger of becoming a .500 team or worse and sure to come out playing with urgency.

Things aren’t easy for the Broncos right now, either. Mike Shanahan’s crew is in the midst of its toughest stretch on the schedule, starting with Sunday’s clash with the Pats. Next week, Denver visits the red-hot Eli Manning and the New York Giants, then returns to Invesco Field to face the Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles.

It would not surprise us in Las Vegas to see the Broncos open as a slight favorite, much like the line was in 2003. If you can get to a sports book before the line approaches a field goal, our advice is "do it."

The Broncos jumped out to a 3-1 start on the strength of their defense, which held its opponents to just 316 yards rushing. Quarterback Jake Plummer has been solid and efficient — throwing less, completing more and posting victories. Mike Anderson has a balanced, if not spectacular, ground game that produced over 500 yards prior to the contest with Washington last Sunday.

History shows that the Broncos are in good shape this week. Denver is 12-3-1 ATS at home in October against teams off straight up and against-the-spread wins. On the other side, the Broncos are 7-2 ATS versus teams coming off consecutive SU/ATS losses. New England was facing both situations in its game with Atlanta.

Denver is also 6-3 both SU and ATS in the last nine meetings against the Patriots since 1995.