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AFC Championship Game: Broncos vs. Patriots Open Thread

Here's an open thread for you to discuss today's AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a whole week of waiting and discussing the upcoming matchup, the AFC Championship game is finally here.  It's Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady for the 17th time, yes, but it's mainly the Denver Broncos against the New England Patriots for the right to advance to Super Bowl 50.

As Manning himself has pointed out this past week, it's about the Broncos' defense more than about Manning.  He's the 39-year old quarterback who is, at this point, just trying to be a game-manager.  But if he can do that and play turnover free football while letting his run game and defense win the game, that's the Broncos' best chance of success.

For the Patriots, they have Tom Brady and his weapons, as both Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman will play, making New England's offense very dangerous.  This game, then, could very well come down to whether the Broncos' top-ranked defense or the Patriots' offense, also one of the best units in the game.  The talk will be about Manning vs. Brady (which makes sense, considering the two best players of this era will be facing off for the 17th time and fifth in the postseason), but this game likely will come down to how well Denver's defense is able to do against Brady and the Patriots' offense.

The Broncos will still have to score some points, however, and so they'll need to take advantage of the opportunities they get.  They'll have to run the football well, catch the passes thrown to them (something they have struggled with a lot this year), and play-turnover free (like they did last week but have struggled to do for much of this year).  And, of course, making the most of the opportunities they get - such as not having to always settle for field goals - will be crucial.

It would be awesome to see Peyton Manning win another AFC Championship game and advance to the Super Bowl once again, hopefully sending one of the best players in league history out the right way.  But if we're being realistic, the Patriots are the favorites and deservedly so.  The good thing for the Broncos is that they're at home and they have a very good team around Manning, but the Patriots are also a very good team and I'm taking them to win today and advance to yet another Super Bowl under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  Regardless of what happens, here's an open thread for you to discuss today's AFC Championship game.