The stage is set. The Patriots will travel to Denver for an AFC Championship Game against the Broncos on Sunday.
We brought the big guns out to break this matchup down - Michael Holley, Albert Breer, Ron Borges, and our very own Tom E. Curran.
So, fellas, are these the two teams we expected to see here?
"I think you looked at the [playoff] bracket and expected the Patriots to be there," Breer said. "And there was a ton of pressure on Peyton Manning to go out there today. Everybody talked about the eight one-and-dones, he got it done with a couple third-down throws at the end of the game when he easily could have crumbled. So you have to give him credit there, and now he gets his shot at enhancing his legacy."
Curran is quick to point out Manning's playoff record, but then goes on to say how tough of a game it will be for the Patriots.
"I think it's terrific, [Manning's] going to get an opportunity to get to .500 in the playoffs, so that's awesome . . . I think that [the Broncos] should be the favorite, they will be the favorite, the Patriots are going in with a beat up diminished offense, and a defense that's just as diminished. So I think everything sets up for Peyton Manning to get to .500."
The Patriots used their run game to beat the Colts on Saturday, and have been running the ball much more than passing it as of late. Curran says that's due to the Patriots not going down by a lot of points in those games. They could afford to run it.
The Broncos should be throwing it plenty on Sunday. After all, Manning now has a loaded arsenal in Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and now Julius Thomas - who was inactive earlier this season when the Pats played the Broncos.
Borges says that Julius Thomas is going to be a nightmare for the Pats.
"I think they didn't have Julius Thomas the first time they played the Patriots. I think he creates terrible matchup problems for anybody they've got out there," Borges said. "I don't want to see [Jamie] Collins on him, I certainly don't want to see [Dont'a] Hightower on him, I don't want to see Dane Fletcher in the same area code, I don't want any of those safeties on him. But you have to put somebody on him. So that is a fourth problem. When they just have three guys to deal with, I think Belichick can figure something out. But when all four of those guys are playing, I think it's a real problem."