The Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots in the National Football Conference’s Championship game this coming Sunday, January 19 at Sports Authority Field in Denver. Kickoff is 3pm ET, with the game being shown on CBS Sports Network.
The winner of the AFC Championship game will meet the winner of the NFC Championship game between the number one seeded Seattle Seahawks and the number five seeded San Francisco 49ers. The two winners will play Sunday, Feb 2nd in the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, New York. It will also mark the very first ‘cold’ weather game to played outdoors in Super Bowl history.
Bookmakers have pegged the Broncos as the better team, with the Denver sitting as a 5-point favorite, while most expect the game to be a more high scoring affair as the Total for this AFC Championship is set at 51.
Both teams have superstar quarterbacks, with the Broncos led by Peyton Manning while the Patriots will have Tom Brady behind center. Both QBs have won Super Bowls, Brady with three and Manning the one, so each have been through the wars and nothing is expected to catch them by surprise. Even the weather is looking cooperate, as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50s with very little wind.
Besides both teams being led by all-World quarterbacks, there are other similarities between the two teams. Both have potent, high scoring offences, each finishing in the top 5 for both yards and scoring. The Pats are on a real surge offensively at the moment, having scored an average of almost 40-points per game over their last four games. The Broncos set an NFL record this year for most points scored (606), and Manning set a new NFL mark for touchdown passes with 55. Even while missing his top three receivers from last year, Brady has still been able to keep the Patriots at the top of their offensive game, but this year they have done it with a more balanced attack, featuring the bludgeoning running of LaGarrett Blount, which has helped to set up the playaction pass for Brady.
Both defences, meanwhile, have struggled at times, both finished at the bottom on the league. Denver at 19th overall while the Patriots’ young defence ended up at 26th, but have been improving a lot of late.
This will also be the 15th time that Brady and Manning have met, with Brady having won nine of those contests.
Denver, the number one seed in the AFC, has made it to the championship game by virtue of a 13-3 regular season record, and a home playoff win over San Diego last week in the Divisional Round. The Patriots finished with a 12-4 regular season mark, giving it the number 2 seed in the AFC. Last week the Patriots hammered the visiting Indianapolis Colts by a 43-22 count.