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NFL Playoffs: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos - Live Blog

Welcome to the AFC Championship game. Kickoff is at 1:05 MT between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots
Sunday, January 24, 2016 - 1:05 PM MT
Denver Broncos

AVG. YPA (RNK)

TEAM CATEGORY

AVG. YPA (RNK)

6th Pass Off. 21st
30th Rush Off. 11th
12th Pass Def. 1st
10th Rush Def. 1st
13-4 Sports Authority Field at Mile High 13-4
#2 Seed Spread: Patriots by 3.5 #1 Seed

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The Denver Broncos will appear in the franchise's 10th conference title game in its history. Given how the season has gone, this could also be the final home game for Peyton Manning. To say there isn't a lot riding on the outcome of this game is a major understatement.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots barely even try to run the ball. Their success totally relies on Brady's right arm, which at least simplifies how Wade Phillips will need to attack their offense. That game plan should include max pass rush and jamming their pass catching weapons at the line of scrimmage with man coverage. It's a recipe that should mostly work, but the Patriots will find some success on a few drives in this AFC Championship game.

I am fully confident that Bradley Roby and Aqib Talib will shut down their assignments, so the real battle will be between Chris Harris Jr. and Julian Edelman. At least when it comes to the wide receiver position. The other big battle will be between the Broncos safeties and linebacker Brandon Marshall who will be charged with slowing down Rob Gronkowski. They were relatively successful in their regular season matchup and that was with T.J. Ward getting knocked out of that game in the first quarter.

Make no mistake, this game is going to come down to defense. The Patriots have a solid pass defense, but it can be beaten deep. That is where Manning must find a few successful throws. Outside of that, the Broncos just need to hand the rock off to Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson in the running game.

Defensively, the key to this game will come down to how many times the Broncos defensive line can hit Brady or get him off his spot. There really isn't anything else that will achieve a low scoring game, which is what the Broncos will likely need.

Prediction: Broncos 27, Patriots 20

What is your prediction, Broncos Country?

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