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.