It is Championship Week for the Denver Broncos and we have Mike from Tailgate 365 to talk to in regards to this weekend’s game against the Patriots.
For the second time in three years, the Denver Broncos are going to the AFC Championship Game. It is quite an exciting time in Denver. Just one game away from playing in the Super Bowl.
However, the challenge will be tough as the New England Patriots come to town. They are all relatively healthy this time around and will be a tough challenge for the Broncos in order to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50.
The Manning vs. Brady bowl will be in its 17th matchup. Both Manning and Brady will also be playing in the fourth title game as opponents. The home quarterback has won every meeting in this instance. So, history favors Manning. But this is also the playoffs. Anything can happen.
For this edition of the Broncos Fanzone, I got to talk to Mike from Tailgate 365. He helps run the tailgate along with 5280 Shirt Shop’s James Hernandez. Together, they have created the Sons of Mile High Tailgating party.
With such a huge win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I asked Mike what he believed contributed to the success of the victory.
“In a word, leadership. I know that sounds a little cliche and corny, but I truly think that having veterans on the team and a coaching staff that have been in this situation helped to prepare the entire team. I firmly believe, it’s why Manning is starting right now over the Brocket Launcher. The team was able to keep their poise amidst some adversity, and come through in the end.”
Brocket Launcher. I like that. Better trademark that while you can. But all aside, I could not agree more. I do believe that the veteran presence helps out a lot when it comes to the playoffs.
If they have some players that have been there before, it will be a bit easier to get ready for a game such as this one.
Speaking of veteran presence, Peyton Manning started in his first game since the Kansas City game back in Week 10. I asked Mike what he thought of Manning in the game and if he is confident in his abilities from the divisional round.
“Manning would be very low on my list of things to be concerned about following the game against the Steelers. We’ve been spoiled as NFL fans watching Manning put up ridiculous numbers throughout the years. As a Denver fan, I remember him torching us in Indianapolis.”
“The irony there for me is, we don’t need him to be that Manning. We need him to be a little more (sorry Bronco fans) Alex Smith right now and just manage the game, minimize the mistakes and audible in the right situations. This defense can easily carry him and the team to a Super Bowl, but he can’t be the Manning we saw against Kansas City the second time.”
Could not agree more. For me, this team is built on its defense and running game as of this year. As long as Manning can keep the mistakes at a minimum, even none at all, then the Broncos will win games without question.
And I do have to point out that Mike is right that we have been spoiled as fans watching Manning put up the numbers that he did. Let us all appreciate what he has done and hope that we can see him be successful one last time before we see a legend retire.
So, the New England Patriots are healthier this time around from the Week 12 matchup. I asked Mike what he thinks the key is going to be in order to come away with a win in this big game.
“Defensive discipline. I think this game is more about our defense than our offense. Brady is going to pick teams apart when given the time. Our linebackers and secondary in particular have to maintain their composure and discipline or it’s going to be a really rough game to watch as a Denver fan.”
“Chris Harris is a key as he completes a fantastic trio of corners along with Talib and Roby. Gronk is going to get his, but New England wins when Edelman is heavily involved and that is the key. Play Gronk like Jordan used to be defended (mostly, attempted to defend).”
“You won’t stop him, just try and contain him and worry about the others. I am looking at Wade to have these guys ready, he’s arguably our greatest addition this year.”
Having the defense ready for this game will be key for the Broncos. As much as I would like for the Broncos to keep Gronkowski in check, it will be a very tall task.
I know that Wade Phillips will have his defense ready for this game. It will take a lot of effort from everyone, but I know that they can get it done.
Manning and Brady have been playing for quite a long time and it has developed into, in my opinion, one of the Top 5 rivalries of all time. I asked Mike what his favorite memory of that rivalry is.
“Selfishly, 2013 when Manning came out on top. It’s hard to choose any game otherwise as they have always battled. I do appreciate that they give one another so much respect though, it’s great to see.”
Agreed Mike. Unfortunately, this was the only time that Manning has defeated Brady as a Broncos quarterback. However, we are hopeful that fortunes will change this weekend.
The two quarterback’s do have a lot of respect for each other. And that is something that can be appreciated no matter who you are a fan of.
As with every guest I have, I must ask the biggest question of them all. So Mike, any bold predictions and final score for the game?
“I think if I am honest this could go either way. I am going to count on Broncos Country to make the best use of the 77,000 plus people to make that place as loud and rocking as possible. Playing here is our greatest advantage and historically Tommy Terrific and the Patriots don’t win a lot here.”
“I think it’s going to be a very close game but I will give Denver the edge and say we squeak it out to the tune of 28 – 24.”
Great prediction. And I agree. This game could go either way. But I know one thing for sure. It will be loud in Broncos Country this Sunday afternoon. I am really looking forward to this game.
Thank You Mike for taking the time out to talk to me. If you want to know more about what he does, you can follow him on Twitter and check out all the cool stuff he and James are doing with home tailgates. Go Broncos!