It's championship Sunday in the NFL with two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks going head-to-head in the AFC and then a pair of stellar defenses taking stage in the NFC.
The AFC Championship Game comes first from Denver where Peyton Manning leads the Broncos against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. With a win, the Patriots would earn their eighth trip to the Super Bowl, which would tie Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most in NFL history. Brady has generally had the edge in the personal rivalry historically, going 10-4 against Manning's Colts and now Broncos, including a triumph earlier this season when Denver jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead before New England stormed back for a 34-31 overtime win in Foxborough. Sunday's contest also marks the fourth postseason meeting between the two superstars and the third AFC Championship Game matchup in the last 11 years, dating back to the 2003 AFC title tilt when Brady and Co. got the best of Manning's Colts 24-14 at Gillette Stadium.
Football's fiercest rivalry takes center stage in the NFC Championship Game when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Seattle Seahawks. The Niners will be making their third straight appearance in the conference's title tilt and their 15th overall since 1970. This one shapes up as one of San Francisco's most difficult to date, however. The last two times the 49ers have visited their NFC West-rivals, they've been outscored by a combined 71-16 margin. Seattle is an imposing 16-1 in front of "The 12th Man" since quarterback Russell Wilson took over the team at the beginning of the 2012 season, a mark which includes a 23-15 win over the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of NFC playoffs last weekend. Colin Kaepernick has already led the 49ers to a pair of road playoff wins in the last two weeks against Green Bay and Carolina. Seattle had the No. 1 ranked defense during the regular season, while San Francisco was fifth.