We have reached the penultimate weekend of the NFL season (not counting the Pro Bowl next week). Today's game will feature the top two teams from each conference facing off for a spot in Super Bowl 50 two weeks from today. The first game on the schedule today will be the New England Patriots at the Denver Broncos for the AFC Championship.
Neither team took the easy route to today's game. The Patriots, who started the season dominating everyone in their way, were decimated by injuries late in the year and lost four of their last six contests. They have gotten healthier as the Playoffs have continued and are looking more like the defending Super Bowl Champions now, but there are still question marks surrounding the team.
The Broncos, meanwhile, lost quarterback Peyton Manning to a torn plantar fascia during the season, an injury that not only impacted the power Manning could put on a pass, but also led to misdirected passes and an increase in interceptions. Manning spent seven weeks healing from the injury, during which backup quarterback Brock Osweiler stepped in and played fairly well. Osweiler was playing well enough that, when Manning was ready to return, he actually had fallen to a backup role for the Broncos, a move that last one-half of football. Manning returned for the second half of the team's Week 17 game against the San Diego Chargers, then started the Divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Everything you need to know to watch today's game is below:
Patriots vs. Broncos
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
When: Sunday, January 24, 3:05 pm ET
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Radio: Patriots Radio Network | Broncos Radio Network
Online Streaming: CBS Sports
Odds: The Patriots opened as a 2.5-point road favorite. The line climbed to 3.5, but has settled between 3- and 3.5-points, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Patriots blog: Pats Pulpit
Broncos blog: Mile High Report