Originally written on D's Sports Nuts  |  Last updated 10/24/14

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after Laurence Maroney scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Manning and Brady have matched up 12 times with Brady taking 8 of those
Denver Broncos (2-2) @ New England Patriots (2-2) 4:25 p.m.
Both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will be in the Hall of Fame someday but today they will both be focusing on the present.  Each team needs to win this key AFC contest to give their team a boost. The loser will have three losses in their first five games, something that these two successful quarterbacks have not had to deal with much.
The Patriots seemingly have the better team in terms of overall talent especially on offense. Brady is surrounded by better weapons on offense but the key for them has been health issues.  Rob Gronkowski has been ailing quite a bit but should play today.  The other part of the dynamic tight end duo, Aaron Hernandez has been out of action for a couple weeks but has practiced this week. I doubt that Hernandez will play this weekend.  The Broncos will see a heavy dose of Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. The Broncos have a solid pass defense and only give up 221 yards passing per game.  
The Broncos offense runs through Manning as you would expect but he does have a solid option at running back. Willis McGahee is averaging 4.7 yards per carry which makes him a good threat i the running game.  The Patriots rush defense is ranked 8th in the NFL (Broncos are 10th) so the Broncos could have a difficult time running.  A big matchup for the Broncos on the ground will be former Patriot Dan Koppen facing off against Vince Wilfork.  Koppen was released because he was slowing down and his effectiveness was on a downward trend. This matchup is Wilfork's to lose. Wilfork should dominate him at the line and be a difference maker.
As with most close matchups, the team that forces turnovers and takes advantage of them will win this game.  Manning has thrown 2 picks. Brady has thrown one. The Broncos have lost two fumbles and the Patriots have now lost any.  The Patriots take care of the ball pretty well and that should continue today at Gillette Stadium.  That will be enough to take this home game. Patriots 31, Broncos 21

Week 5 Picks Last week: 10-5  Season: 34-29
Cardinals over Rams
Bengals over Dolphins
Packers over Colts
Ravens over Chiefs
Falcons over Redskins
Giants over Browns
Steelers over Eagles
Panthers over Seahawks
Bears over Jaguars
Vikings over Titans
49ers over Bills
Saints over Chargers
Texans over Jets
BYES: Cowboys, Raiders, Lions, Buccaneers
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