In the lead-up to the 2014 AFC Championship game, the Pats Pulpit was asked their prediction for the final score of the game. Yes, once again, we were biased, going 4-0 in favor of the Patriots. I'll admit that I was very tempted to choose the Broncos, but I just didn't have the heart to do it.
Alec Shane: I have been predicting this AFC Championship game since March 14, 2013, which is the day Wes Welker signed with the Broncos. I had the Pats traveling to Denver, going up big at halftime, Manning engineering a comeback, and hitting Wes Welker for the completion/touchdown that ends up sealing the game for the Broncos 30-27 to send Manning to the Super Bowl. Manning then adds his voodoo doll of Welker right next to the one of Adam Vinatieri on his shelf of Patriots heroes that got him rings. However, now that the game is actually upon us, I just can't make that prediction outright. This Patriots team is too tough, too determined, and too hot to let something like that happen (right?). Plus, what Pats fan in his right mind would go against this team so late in the season after sticking with them this long? I expect a tough, physical game that is going to be decided by one or two plays, and New England is going to be the one making them. The Pick: Patriots 38 Broncos 34
Greg Knopping: This game has seemed like destiny since the start of the season, hasn't it? Around mid-season, I had made the determination that I would take the Broncos in this game if it were played at Mile High. The Broncos offense has just been too good. This Patriots team has just been too inconsistent (other than, you know, winning). My role on this site is to be inherently biased, but a little objectivity never hurt, right? Wrong. I'm throwing objectivity out the window on this one, as this Patriots team has been anything but ordinary. On paper, they should be 8-8 at best. But here they are, sitting in the AFC Championship, waiting to prove the world wrong once again. After everything this team has been through, why not predict them to win Sunday? The Pick: Patriots 34 Broncos 31
Richard Hill: Denver's defense is exposed. The Patriots defense is better than ever. The Denver offense will have some pieces it had missed in the first match. The Patriots will be missing some. Key is who can control the game- and I believe the Patriots will shock the world with how prepared they are. The Pick: Patriots 31 Broncos 27
Kevin O'Connor: In my key to the game, I said that the Patriots must finish drives with touchdowns, and not field goals, and I fully expect them to do that today versus the Broncos. The offense should be able to find success on the ground, which will open up the passing game. It wouldn't surprise me to see Tom Brady take one or two deep shots down the field when the moment is right. I also think the Patriots defense has improved as of late, despite all of the injuries, and is close to resembling their early season form. That speaks to the development of young players like Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower, and Alfonzo Dennard, as well as the production from veterans like Aqib Talib, Devin McCourty, and Rob Ninkovich. Can any team stop Peyton Manning? Not exactly, but I think the Patriots can contain him, just like Bill Belichick's defenses have many times in the past. The Pick: Patriots 35 Broncos 27
What's your prediction for the final outcome of the game!