Sunday Night NFL Betting: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at DENVER BRONCOS (11/29)

PRO FOOTBALL — November 29

NEW ENGLAND at DENVER
(America’s Bookie Line: Patriots -2.5, Total 42.5) — The Patriots are truly putting their undefeated record at risk here, because they are coming into a hostile environment, against the league’s best defense, with a short-handed offense. In recent weeks they lost the dual threat running back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was Tom Brady’s favorite all-purpose outlet (61 catches). Now they will be without Danny Amendola (nine receptions for 117 yards vs. Buffalo last week), who has a knee injury. That leaves just Brandon Lafell and Chris Harper at the wide receiver spot, so expect Rob Gronkowski and LeGarrette Blount to have enhanced roles. But this Denver defense stuffs the run (3.5 ypc) and if they can get away with man coverage on the wideouts, they can devote extra attention to Gronkowski. Buffalo did that last week and gave him a lot of different looks, and held him to just two catches. Denver has held foes to 5.6 yards per pass attempt, so they are capable of following that blueprint.

On offense, life without Peyton Manning includes some “caretaking” by Brock Osweiler (20 for 27 last week) behind center. Gary Kubiak really wants to run the ball, so expect him to do just that. They got good results last week from CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman (161 yards combined). And Vernon Davis had six catches last week. But don’t lose sight of the fact the the Broncos’ offense has not been a thing of beauty this season.

At some point, you have to show some signs of the attrition, and last week the Pats were held to a season low in points. They have now gone under the 30-mark three games in a row, and if Brady is pressured (Denver, with 34 sacks, has DeMarcus Ware available), this becomes a very problematic situation because there aren’t many guys to throw to. The Pats are not bad against the run themselves (3.9 ypc allowed), so we are looking for a defensive battle at Mile High.

PLAY BY JAY: UNDER 42.5 ***

(All information is for news matter only; All games are graded on a scale of 1-4 stars. Lines are subject to change)