AFC Divisional Playoffs
New England Patriots (13-3)
Denver Broncos (8-8)
8:00 P.M. EST
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow did something last week that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has not been able to do over the last few seasons: He won a home playoff game. Of course, Brady has won far more than his fair share (especially if you ask the Raiders) of playoff games and is the owner of three Super Bowl rings. Brady's team is also heavily favored tonight in Foxboro.
Last weekend, the Patriots were in the same position as most football fans. They were at home -- thanks to earning a bye in the opening round as the No. 1 seed in the AFC -- watching Tebow author another stunning chapter in his amazing season. In the climactic moments of the Wild Card triumph, Tebow made the Steelers pay dearly for not respecting his ability to throw the ball. Will the Patriots make the same mistake? Or, will Brady and the offense score enough points that his team's defense hardly figures?
During the regular season, the Patriots ranked just behind the league-leading Saints in terms of yard per game and points per game. Piloting that prolific offense, Brady joined Drew Brees and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season.
While some fans are willing to attribute miraculous powers to Tebow, no one is going out on a limb to say he is a passer on par with Brady. And that may be the only attribute that will matter today. When these two teams met during the regular season, the Patriots hung up 41 points on the Broncos' defense while Tebow only managed 23 points -- the same number his team had heading into OT against the Steelers.
Do the Broncos have the defense or the firepower to keep up?
FOLLOW HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE GAME. TWEET TO @HUFFPOSTSPORTS TO JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION:
|@ donnabrazile : #Tebow fans. I feel your pain because it hurts like hell. But, God must be more interested in saving souls than winning football games.|
Clock is running out and everyone is on the field. PATRIOTS WIN
Simms and Nantz warning people off criticizing Tebow, saying he A) has overcome adversity before and B) is main reason for Broncos turnaround. I wonder how Defense feels about B...
Ball gets it on the ground. Broncos must just want to keep ball away from Patriots and kill this game themselves.
Ball picked up 8 before the stoppage. It's 3rd and 3 when we get back.
Ball tackled for a loss.. again. 2nd and 11 at Denver 4.
Brady quick punts, pinning Broncos deep. Von Miller shoves a player after then it's on as scrum shifts toward sideline. Flags on Broncos back them up to their own 5.
This is a total farce now.
His logic, by exposing your stars to injury by playing them you're actually making injuries less likely.
This dude is getting carries but Brady is still handing off?
The Law Firm works his way forward for 9. It's 2nd and 1.
|@ Toure : Including tonight Tebow has lost 4 of his last 5 games. #AllHeDoesIsWin?|
Branch get out to the left for 15 and then a horse collar tackle near sideline gets Patriots out from shadow of their own end zone. Branch pops up and seems unharmed by foul.
He hands off on first down as Simms and Nantz discuss Belichick for President. That's where we're at.
|@ PatriotsInsider : @Robgronkowski is 36 yards away from the NFL record for most yards for a TE in postseason set today by Vernon Davis (180)|
On fourth down, Tebow backpedals, just avoids pressure, keeps heading back nearly to 30 before coming back up and throwing. But, after all that poor pass is batted down. Turnover on downs.
Tebow keeps it and rolls to his left again but throws it away. Absolutely nothing on that one.
Tebow throws to Royal in single coverage but ball never gets there. Anderson at line bats it down.
|@ ChrisWarcraft : It is so tempting to troll some of these Denver people on my timeline. I hope you fine Bronconians appreciate my restraint. #awesomenewword|
With empty backfield, Tebow goes left on designed roll. Tebow never sold run and Patriots never bit. Throws goes wide.
|@ MikeSielskiWSJ : Hoping that the NY Post goes with "From Hoodie to Herod" as the headline on this game. #Tebow #Belichick|
Thomas comes back to ball as Tebow rolls left. He catches and spins around a few defenders for a BIG 41-yard gain. 1st and goal. Broncos with their biggest play of the night.
Tebow, predictably, looks to Thomas on 3rd but nothing doing. 4th an 6.
This time he's stuffed for no gain.
Johnson picks up four yards on first down as clock still ticking toward 10 minutes
Tebow and Thomas connect again and pick up another first down. 14 yards on another route across middle.