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AFC Championship - New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos (Open Thread)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When QB Peyton Manning had to sit out this year's Patriots vs. Broncos game, I thought we'd finally have a season where we had to live without his annual clash with QB Tom Brady. Funny enough, in his first attempt, QB Brock Osweiller defeated Brady in a thrilling overtime game while Manning was sidelined with an injury.

Now back in the starting lineup, another edition of Brady vs. Manning will no doubt be entertaining, but the feeling isn't quite what it used to be. It's a story we've seen time and time again, which makes the fresher blood in the NFC Championship a bit more exciting. Also, although Manning is still giving-it-a-go, everyone who watches him quarterback now knows that he is a complete shell of his former self. He was able to get by Pittsburgh despite being victimized by drops, but can he out-shoot Brady and a Patriots defense that is only getting better? And, if he does that, does he stand a chance against either the Cardinals or Panthers in the Super Bowl? I'll still be rooting for Manning, but I see the Patriots getting the chance to defend their title. Patriots 24, Broncos 17


Game: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Date/Time: Sunday, January 24, 2015 at 3:05 p.m. ET
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Television: CBS - Jim Nantz & Phil Simms