Only 4 teams remain and two games left. before we know who will make it to the Super Bowl 50, at the Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara. After the surprising results of the Wildcard weekend, where all the road teams won, the Divisional Round set everything back to balance with a home team swept.
Now, the top seeds in each conference will play at home against the #2 seeded teams. First game on Sunday will face Patriots at Denver, followed by Panthers receiving the Arizona Cardinals. Both games feature the best of the best from this season and both promise to be exciting matches.
No. 2 New England Patriots at No. 1 Denver Broncos, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
These teams already faced each other on week 12, with Broncos 30-24 victory. Nonetheless, Tom Brady didn’t have the support of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who are expected to play on Sunday. As well as Rob Gronkowski and Chris Harris Jr.
The New England Patriots arrive as favorites to win the game. However, Brady will have to battle against the No.1 ranked defense. During this season, the Broncos ranked first against the pass, third against the run and fourth in scoring defense. On the other hand, in almost 10 years the AFC Championship series has favored the home team.
“We will have to wait and see if New England has what it takes to defeat Denver, or will they be forced to pull out some special trick, under Brady’s controversial sleeve.”
No. 2 Arizona Cardinals at No. 1 Carolina Panthers, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Unlike the Patriots’-Broncos’ game, these two teams haven’t met during the regular season. So, there is no parameter to predict how they will do against each others strategy. The Carolina Panthers made it here with a dominant 15-1 record. However, Arizona may be the best team that Carolina has had to face so far.
Cardinals’ offense is one tough line to beat, but without Chris Johnson they might have problems on the ground attack. Plus, Tyrann Mathieu’s injury, that could have weakened their defense. This game might be even closer than Patriots-Broncos.
A Signal Caller Clash
All four teams have proven their skills and right to be competing for a spot in Super Bowl 50.Of course we know this is a team sport. Without a well-balanced defensive and offensive line, it is virtually impossible for any team to succeed. However, it’s no secret that the four quarterbacks are the ones called to shine in the Conference Championship Games on Sunday.
First, we have the AFC matchup, where the two future Hall of Famers, Tom Brady and Payton Manning will measure their skills for the 17th time. Both have won 5 of their last 10 meetings, but Brady holds the overall lead in the series 11-5. However, Manning has won two of three AFC Championship game contests. This would be the fourth time Manning and Brady have battled with the Hunt Trophy with a Super Bowl trip on the line.
For the other matchup, it’s the first time in NFL history where both quarterbacks in a conference championship game are former Heisman Trophy winners. 36-year-old Cardinals’ quarterback Carson Palmer is fighting for his first Super Bowl appearance. He won the Heisman in 2002.
As for Carolina, Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman winner, will battle to lead the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance in the franchise history. The likely NFL MVP has been almost flawless, in the last 9 weeks. Newton allowed only one interception and racked up 27 touchdowns.
After going over several of the most popular online sportsbooks, most of them had so far:
Patriots -3 (-120) / Broncos +3 (EV)
Cardinal +3 (-105) / Panthers – 3 (115)
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