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AFC Championship preview: Broncos vs. Patriots

Battle of elite quarterbacks will come down to the better defense

staff writer

Published: Saturday, January 18, 2014

Updated: Saturday, January 18, 2014 19:01

As football fans, we have a special treat this year in the AFC Championship with the Broncos and the Patriots. Two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will be squaring off in what could be their last head-to-head playoff matchup against each other. Despite this epic quarterback matchup, this game will be won or lost by each quarterback’s respective teams. Because of this, I will take an objective look at how each team matches up to each other in all the phases of the game.

— Patriots pass offense vs. Broncos pass defense

During the season, the Patriots had the No. 10-ranked passing offense, while the Broncos were near the bottom of the league in defending the pass at No. 27. Despite pounding the ball last week against the Colts, look for the Patriots to open it up more in this game as they have a definite advantage this week, especially since the Broncos’ starting corner Chris Harris is out with a torn ACL. Advantage: Patriots

— Broncos pass offense vs. Patriots pass defense

The Broncos easily have the best passing attack in the league, averaging over 340 yards passing a game, while the Patriots rank in the bottom half of the league at No. 8 in pass defense. Peyton Manning is loaded with passing weapons in Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas. Advantage: Broncos

— Patriots run offense vs. Broncos run defense

The Patriots have a very good three-headed rushing attack spearheaded by LeGarrette Blount, but the Broncos are just as strong against the run, ranking No. 7 in the league in rushing defense. Advantage: Broncos slightly

— Broncos run offense vs. Patriots run defense

The Broncos are in the middle the league in rushing at No. 15, but the Patriots are one of the worst teams at stopping the run at No. 30. With Knowshon Moreno gaining over 200 yards the last time these two teams met, expect a heavy dose of him again this time. Advantage: Broncos

— Patriots offensive line vs Broncos pass rush

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