The New England Patriots are going to the AFC Championship Game. After defeating Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night the Patriots will be facing off against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. After a dramatic week twelve comeback victory against Denver, this time the Patriots are in Denver as they battle for the right to represent the AFC against either San Francisco or Seattle in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots and Broncos match-up will garner attention on the marquee quarterbacks involved: veterans Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. However, the two never set foot on the field at any time the clock is running and the game is really a chess match between the quarterback reacting to the look given by the defensive coordinator. This game is a battle of wills and wiles between Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and New England Tom Brady and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
There are a number of intriguing plot-lines for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. A big question revolves around how the Patriots offense will attack the Broncos defense. In week twelve the Broncos defense made a number of big plays in the first half to stymie the Patriots offense. The Broncos defense forced and recovered three fumbles on the first three Patriots drives of the game to leap out to a 17-0 lead and eventually expand to 24-0. This would force New England out of their game plan and into a spread passing offense on nearly every down.
On Sunday the conventional wisdom is that Tom Brady and the New England offense will continue its smash-mouth power running offense that they have displayed in the last three games. However, as San Diego found out last week, running the ball into the mouth of the Denver defense is an invitation to fall behind and struggle to play catch-up to the most potent offense in NFL history.