The options varied from 100% confident all the way down to 0%. As of 1:30 PM ET on Friday, their results were the following:
100% - Absolute confidence: 8%
75-99% - Very confident, and a little nervous: 23%
50-74% - More confident than nervous, but definitely nervous/excited: 43%
25-49% - More nervous than confident: 14%
1-24% - I’m a nervous wreck: 3%
0% - I think the Patriots will win: 9%
As you can see, the majority of Broncos fans are falling into the 50-74%, with the second highest contingent falling into the 75-99% group. I’m also going to go out on a limb here and say that the “0%” voters are Patriots fans.
While I never buy the whole – playing for “nothing to lose” mantra when it comes to the playoffs (seriously, every team has EVERYTHING to lose), I do think the Broncos face a lot more pressure than the Patriots when it comes to this game. They’ve been pegged as the unanimous favorite. They’ve been branded the greatest offense of all-time (which is probable true, although I could still make a very strong argument for the Patriots’ 2007 offense, but that’s another story). They are the clear Vegas favorites, and their future Hall of Fame quarterback has the weight of his legacy hanging in the balance.
In many ways, the Broncos are facing the pressure that the 2007 Patriots faced. For a Patriots team that has embraced the underdog mentality, they are more likely to come in and play loose, which is always an advantage in the playoffs.
And while this Patriots team has consistently overcome adversity in 2013, there are plenty of reasons to be nervous. I mean, after all, this defense has been improved over the last few weeks, but hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency throughout this system. If Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia don’t come up with a near-perfect game plan, it could be a long day for the defense. I am certainly confident that the Patriots can win this game, but I do think a lot of things will have to go right. If the Patriots make the mental mistakes they did against the Broncos in week 12, or even against the Colts in the divisional playoffs, that could be enough for them to lose.
As for where I’d fall on this confidence poll, it would probably be somewhere between options #3 and #4. While I know that on paper, the odds won’t be in the Patriots’ favor, there is an underlying confidence that exudes from this team that carries from the players, to the coaches, to the fan base, to admittedly-biased writers such as myself.
What is your confidence level for Sunday’s game?