Tom Brady and Peyton Manning meet again to decide the AFC’s Super Bowl representative.
If this does end up being Peyton Manning’s last season, it’s only fitting the Denver Broncos veteran quarterback gets one more crack at Tom Brady and the New England Patriots with a berth in Super Bowl 50 on the line.
This will be the 17th matchup between the two legendary quarterbacks and this rivalry is showing wear on its tread now. Sure it’s still Manning vs. Brady, but it has a different feel this time around. Brady is still at the top of his game, while Manning has struggled to hold on to his starting job this season.
That said, in a one-game showdown anything can happen.
AFC Championship odds opened with the New England Patriots set as 3.5-point favourites. Meanwhile, as two legendary quarterbacks square off in the AFC, Cam Newton represents the next generation as he leads his Carolina Panthers against the Arizona Cardinals as 3-point favourites on the NFC Championship point spread.
So, with just three games left in the NFL season, who you got?
AFC Championship Odds
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Point spread: Patriots -3.5
Manning delivered in a big way in the fourth quarter last week to help the Broncos reach the AFC Conference Championship – that much is certain. Whether he remains Denver’s best option at quarterback isn’t so clear. As much as it’d be fantastic to see Manning light up the scoreboard and push the Broncos to the Super Bowl, that kind of storybook ending is for the movies. Bill Belichick will stack the box and force Manning to beat the Pats downfield and that’s just not going to happen. The Broncos’ defence can keep them in the game with a couple of turnovers, but will that be enough? It’s more likely that Brady and the Patriots score early, forcing Denver to play catch-up. That’s a recipe for disaster against Belichick.
Prediction pick against the spread: Patriots -3.5
NFC Championship Odds
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Point spread: Panthers -3 / Panthers -3.5
It’s getting harder to find all those Cam Newton haters every week. Last week the Panthers proved they could take out top-tier teams even without Newton going off, but he certainly got the job done. Arizona’s win over Green Bay was everything you’d want in a football game, though it also showed some holes in the Cardinals. Arizona was down at the half and then allowed a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, which sent the game to overtime. That should never have happened against the Packers. Meanwhile, the Panthers showed just how good they can be by jumping out to a 31-0 lead against Seattle before coasting in the second half. Carolina is a more explosive team than Arizona and can win in a number of different ways. Look for Cam Newton to steal the spotlight again as the Panthers punch their Super Bowl ticket.
Prediction pick against the spread: Panthers -3