This Sunday, the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots will meet in the Mile High City with a trip to Super Bowl 50 on the line. The Broncos and Patriots played against each other during Week 12 in the season in Denver, which the Broncos won, 30-24, in overtime. It was the first loss of the Patriots season. Both the Broncos and the Patriots finished the season at 12-4, and as the top two teams in the AFC standings. This is the fifth time these two franchises meet in the postseason. The Broncos lead the all-time regular season series and playoff series. Denver defeated New England two years ago in the AFC Championship, 26-16.
This is the fifth straight year that the Patriots will participate in the AFC Championship, after they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-20, in the AFC Divisional round. With a win, New England will advance to its ninth Super Bowl in franchise history. Bill Belichick has the most playoff wins of any head coach in NFL history, while Tom Brady has the most playoff wins of any quarterback in NFL history, making them the winningest head coach and quarterback combination in NFL postseason history. Brady has the most completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdowns in NFL playoff history, and is tied with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl MVPs, with three. Last week, after catching two touchdown passes from Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski now has eight playoff touchdown receptions, the most ever by any player at the tight end position. On defense, Pro Bowl selections Jamie Collins, who led the Patriots in tackles, and Chandler Jones, who led the team in sacks, are two players who will try to wreak havoc against Denver's offense. The Patriots have 16 players listed as questionable on their official injury report, but no players as doubtful or out.
The Broncos are 7-2 in AFC Championship games, which is the highest winning percentage of all-time (minimum of five games). Quarterback Peyton Manning is second in playoff touchdowns, completions, and attempts, behind only Brady. Running back C.J. Anderson had 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns during the Week 12 meeting. Anderson averages 96 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown in his past two playoff games. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is the first Bronco with four straight 1,200-yard receiving seasons. On defense, DeMarcus Ware has five sacks in six career playoff games.
Game Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn
Radio: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (NE), 82 (Den). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (NE), 82 (Den).
Odds: Patriots -2.5
Patriots blog: Pats Pulpit
Broncos blog: Mile High Report