The Denver Broncos are one game away from making their seventh appearance in a Super Bowl. If they can beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, they will be traveling to New York City for the league’s championship game.
For just the fourth time under the current playoff format (and the first time since 1998), all four teams in the conference championships won 12 or more games in the regular season. That was the year the Broncos beat the Jets in the AFC Championship and went on to defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. That was the last Super Bowl title the Broncos won.
The Patriots are playing in the conference championship for the third year in a row. They are no pushover team, and play with a physical style that is tough to stand up to. However, most NFL fans are primarily focused on Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady.
Manning and Brady have played a combined 30 seasons and won 28 playoff games while their combined age of 74.3 is the oldest ever between opposing starting quarterbacks in a conference championship game. In each of their previous postseason meetings, the winner went on to win the Super Bowl. The only pair of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks to meet more than Brady and Manning is Bart Starr (Packers) and Johnny Unitas (Colts).
Including the postseason, the Broncos have lost four straight to the Patriots. However, Denver has won two of three postseason matchups versus New England. They won in the 1986 Divisional Playoffs and the 2005 Divisional Playoffs but lost in the 2011 Divisional Playoffs.
Let’s take a look at the five biggest questions/concerns for the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.