Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos meet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional Playoff matchup. See where we are placing our NFL picks on this game's spread. Will Tebow pull it off again?

Let this thought sink in for a moment. The Denver Broncos started the season 1-4 and were in last place in the Western Division. Now they’re just one victory away from a trip to the AFC championship game. Just the mere possibility of reaching the title game has the city of Denver in a tizzy and Tim Tebow mania at an all-time high.

Saturday night, the Broncos will try to take the most improbable step yet in their ‘Excellent Adventure’ when they matchup against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

NFL odds makers opened with Denver as a 14 point underdog, but early NFL betting action has pushed the number to -13.5 at most sportsbooks. The total opened at 51.5 but has been heading south and is at 50.5.

How they got here

Tim TebowLast week, Tim Tebow and Broncos did the unthinkable beating the defending conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers at home 29-23 in overtime. Team president and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, told Tebow to "pull the trigger" and he did just that, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns.

It was his 80 yard TD strike to Demaryius Thomas on the first play from scrimmage in OT that fans will remember the most. It set an NFL record for the quickest OT period in playoff history (11 seconds) and joined Elway’s “The Drive” among the greatest moments in Broncos history.  

The Patriots enjoyed a bye week after wrapping up the top-seed in the playoffs. In their final regular season game, they rolled to a 49-21 victory over the Bills easily covering the -10 point spread with the combined 70 points giving ‘over’ bettors an easy victory. Tom Brady fired 3 TD passes giving him 39 on the year and his 338 yards put him at 5239 for the season.

First meeting

In their regular season matchup in Week 15 in Denver, the Patriots spotted the Broncos a 16-0 first quarter lead before roaring back for a 41-23 victory and cover. Tebow was solid but not spectacular, throwing for 194 yards and running for another 93 yards and two touchdowns, but he also fumbled, one of three turnovers on the day. Brady didn’t need the extra help but he gladly took it, guiding New England to 20 second quarter points.

What’s changed since their first meeting on December 18? The point spread is the most notable thing. In the Week 15 matchup the Patriots were favored by -7 with the total at 47.5. This time around New England is nearly a two touchdown favorite. The other thing is the Tebow factor. Just when fans (and his own coaching staff) were ready to write him off, he delivered a clutch performance that should guarantee his job security next year.

Statistical matchup

Broncos vs. PatriotsOffensively, the game matches up New England's No. 3-ranked offense (32.1 points per game) against a Denver defense that ranks 24th allowing 24.4 ppg. The Patriots passing attack has averaged 317.8 yards per game while the Broncos defense is surrendering 231.5 yards per game through the friendly skies.

Denver should be able to put up some points against New England’s 31st ranked defense which is averaging 411.1 yards per game including 293.9 yards passing. I can hear Elway now saying to “pull the trigger”.

Trends

This is my favorite sports betting trend, as Denver is 5-1 ATS in its last six visits to Foxborough while New England despite its well documented home dominance in the postseason is just 1-4 ATS in its past 5 playoff home games.

The Broncos are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games but 1-6 as a double digit dog. The Patriots have failed to cover in their last six playoff games. 

For players who are inclined to bet the total, consider these trends.

New England closed the season with six straight overs, but Bill Belichick is 10-1 to the ‘under’ at home following a bye week.

Harvey’s Take: Since Tebow has taken over at QB, I’ve ridden the Broncos all the way and I’m a richer man for it. Just like last week there aren’t many people giving Denver much of a chance. Even if they don’t win I’m confident John Elway’s team will cover.

Good luck!