This is the AFC Championship game everyone was waiting for. New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos. Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning. Two All-Pro quarterbacks, one looking to play in his record sixth Super Bowl, the other looking to make his second trip and erase the memory of eight one-and-done NFL playoff appearances. There are several storylines for today’s Patriots Broncos game, but none is bigger than that of the quarterbacks. You can see whose 2013-14 season ends today and whose includes the Super Bowl by tuning into CBS. Or you can watch Patriots vs Broncos game online free AFC Championship live streaming using a few different services.
The betting line for today’s AFC Championship game is telling. According to Las Vegas, Denver is a 4.5-point favorite, and the combined over-under is 55.5 points. Naturally that means Vegas bookies think two things are on tap for today’s Patriots Broncos game. First, both Manning and Brady will have big days. Second, today’s AFC Championship game will be more of an offensive show than a defensive sleeper. These aren’t bold predictions considering the history of both quarterbacks, and they reflect exactly why NFL fans have been looking forward to this AFC Championship game all season.
Manning this year was the most prolific QB in the NFL, with 5,477 total yards, 55 touchdowns and a 115.1 passer rating. Not surprisingly, Manning’s epic regular season led to several broken NFL records, including one for touchdowns in a season that was formerly held against his opponent in today’s Patriots game, Tom Brady.
The New England Patriots’ Brady, meanwhile, didn’t have as good a season as you’d expect from his resume, with “just” 4,343 yards and 25 TDs to go with his meager 87.3 passer rating. But where Manning had several high-caliber receiving targets, Brady this season struggled to find a consistent receiver with Rob Gronkowski sidelined by injuries and a batch of youngsters to choose from otherwise.
Indeed, when you watch Patriots vs Broncos game online free AFC Championship live streaming today, the receiving corps could really make a difference. Manning and Brady are facing off for the 15th time in today’s AFC Championship game, with Brady having won 10 of those 14 matchups, including two of three in the playoffs.
In fact, Brady holds an all-time 10-4 edge, including 2-1 in the playoffs, when these QBs have faced off. Manning and Brady have split their two previous AFC Championship matchups, with Manning winning in the 2006 playoffs, and Brady advancing in 2004.
Today Brady and the New England Patriots have fewer weapons. Gone is Gronkowski, out for the second time this season with an injury. Gone is Wes Welker, who ironically left New England for Denver last offseason. But the last time the New England Patriots met the Broncos, in Week 12, the Pats won 34-31 in Gillette Stadium. And the teams combined for 396 rushing yards, minimizing Brady’s lack of solid receivers.
Still, Manning’s five losses playoff at home are the most in league history. And guess where today’s Broncos game is being played. Yep: Sports Authority Field at Mile High. In the high altitude of Denver, the New England Patriots may lean again on running back LeGarrette Blount.
Blount lit-up the Indianapolis Colts in last week’s AFC Divisional Round, and he’s averaging 130 rushing yards per game inside the tackles since the start of Week 16. But the Denver Broncos have been terrible this year against slot receivers, which is essentially all Brady has left, so look for New England to play much more balanced ball this week.
The Broncos, on the other hand, rushed for 281 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per rush in Week 12 against the Patriots. So while Manning will want to seal a Broncos victory himself, he may ironically find more success handing the ball off to his backs, including Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. Those two will run into a Patriots defense missing linebacker Brandon Spikes and with three defensive tackles who hadn’t been drafted or played a game before 2012.
So will Peyton Manning shake his demons and take the Broncos to the Super Bowl? Or will Tom Brady beat the Broncos yet again and sail into his record sixth Super Sunday? You can tune-in live to CBS to find out, or you can watch Patriots vs Broncos game online free AFC Championship live streaming on DirecTV’s website. Doing so requires that you have the NFL Sunday Ticket with Max Package (subscription based), but if you do, you can watch the live streaming version of any game, including today’s 3:00 EST / 12:00 PST AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. CBS Sports is also live streaming all of their AFC playoff broadcasts, including a live stream you can watch free online of today’s Patriots Broncos game on a laptop, tablet or computer.