AFC Championship: Key Storylines For Patriots vs. Broncos


Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

With the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots slated to duke it out for a chance to obtain the Vince Lombardi trophy, numerous storylines will be in play and up for discussion as Sunday’s kickoff approaches.

Arguably the two best quarterbacks of all-time, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will once again link up and do battle in their fourth postseason showdown and third AFC Championship game. Brady holds two playoff wins to Manning’s one in head-to-head meetings. Though each owns one AFC Championship victory against the other.

The Patriots will get a second opportunity to see Wes Welker after his abysmal showing against his former club back in week 12. Eyes will be on Welker and how effective he can be against a defense that knows him very well. Then there’s Julian Edelman. He’ll surely be motivated to prove that he is indeed the successor to Welker in New England, especially on such a big stage.

Do the Patriots have enough defensively to slow the dynamic Denver attack? The Patriots defensive unit is playing with swagger and confidence, as a perfect mix of rookies and veterans have come to gel together at the right time. And will the Patriots offense be able to manhandle the Broncos defense as they did against Indianapolis. This game will comedown to which offense is able to successfully establish its identity.

It’s all but an inevitable guarantee that everybody outside of New England will be discounting the Patriots chances of winning because of the lack of weapons and talent that’s needed to contend with a Manning quarterbacked club.

New England will be motivated to prove that despite injury, they have what it takes in order to knock off such a marquee opponent when the lights are at their brightest. They have the belief, motivation and drive needed to achieve their goal. All that remains to be seen is whether or not the Patriots can continue to flourish in what will surely be an underdog situation.

Almost everybody had Denver penciled into the NFL’s final four at the onset of the season. Most critics wrote the Patriots off, saying Brady’s options offensively were to limited and success could not be had.

“It would be as satisfying a victory as we have ever had to go into Denver and get the win,” said Brady making his weekly call into WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan radio show on Monday.

Bill Belichick had said he was sure these teams would see one another again following their tilt back in November. As fate would have it, Belichick was right and New England once again find’s themselves in a situation that they’re ever so familiar with.