In one of the best football games you'll watch in a long time, the New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Since the Patriots hold the number one overall seed in the AFC playoffs, that means that they will host the AFC Championship game next weekend against the winner of tomorrow afternoon's game between the Colts and the Broncos.
Both Indianapolis and Denver were rooting hard for the Ravens in this game, as a victory over the Patriots would have meant that the winner of tomorrow's game would actually host the AFC title game. As Tony Dungy mentioned on the post-game show on NBC, that would have provided a huge boost for Sunday afternoon's game, as both the Colts and the Broncos would know that with a win they'd host the AFC Championship. But it's not going to happen, as the Patriots overcame a 14-point deficit on two different occasions during this afternoon's game to win an absolutely thrilling contest.
No matter who wins tomorrow, it will be a repeat of a game that we saw in last year's playoffs, as the Patriots faced the Colts in the Divisional Round and they faced the Broncos in the AFC Championship game. For the Colts, it ends the perfect playoff scenario, but it was expected. They haven't competed with the Patriots yet in the Andrew Luck era and that makes next weekend's game even more daunting, but it would be a great accomplishment just to get there. The Colts are underdogs on the road tomorrow against the Broncos in a game that will present enough challenges in itself.
We knew the winner of the game would advance to the conference title game, but we now know the opponent as well. The winner of the Sunday afternoon game between the Colts and the Broncos will travel to New England to take on the Patriots at 6:40 p.m. ET next Sunday evening on CBS in the AFC Championship game.