The NFL playoffs are into the championship round and both games in the AFC and NFC will be played on Sunday.
The New England Patriots will play against the Denver Broncos in the first game, while the Carolina Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals in the second game. Here are 5 things to know heading into championship weekend:
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning battle for the 17th time
When the Broncos host the Patriots on Denver on Sunday, it will be matchup number 17 between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The two have battled for years in the playoffs and the regular season and this game will decide who ends up in the Super Bowl from the AFC. The Patriots and the Broncos played during the regular season, but Manning was injured for that game and did not play, keeping another Manning-Brady matchup from going down.
The Patriots and Panthers are considered favorites
The Panthers and Patriots are considered the favorites to get to the Super Bowl, according to the betting lines heading into the championship game matchups. The Panthers are the number one seed in the NFC and went undefeated through 14 games this season, while the Patriots earned the number two seed in the AFC behind Denver. The Patriots won the Super Bowl last season and now have the chance to get to their second straight NFL title game with a win against Denver.
Heisman Trophy winners battle in the NFC
The Cardinals and Panthers matchup has a notable battle at the quarterback position, as this will be the first time yeah Heisman Trophy winners will be playing each other in the Super Bowl era. Carson Palmer won the award while playing at Southern Cal, while Newton won the award while at Auburn. These two are also battling for the most valuable player award this season and could finish one-two after leading their teams to the top two spots in the conference.
First time the top two seeds in each conference have made it to championship round since 2004
The Panthers and Broncos are the number one seeds in the NFC and AFC, while the Cardinals and Patriots are the number two seeds, meaning all four of the top seeds in the league made it to the championship round this year. The last time that happened was back in 2004 when the number one Steelers hosted the Patriots and the number one Eagles hosted the Falcons. The Patriots later won over the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Funny enough, the last time Bill Belichick and Andy Reid coached against each other before the Chiefs-Patriots game in the wild card round was that Super Bowl.
Broncos have home field advantage, in a couple ways
The Denver Broncos have home field advantage for the championship game and will host the Patriots. The team also has an advantage with the fact that Brady is just 2-6 in Denver in his career. That doesn't mean the Patriots will lose of course, but the Broncos will take that as they get ready for the title game.