The AFC And NFC Championship game schedules are set. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will visit the Denver Broncos for Brady-Manning 17 in the AFC Championship game. Over on the NFC side, Cam Newton and the one-loss Carolina Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals, who beat the Green Bay Packers in a thriller last week.
My first inclination is to pick the Patriots to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl again. The Chiefs-Patriots game on Saturday looked like it had two better teams than the Broncos and Steelers on Sunday. I don't see how the Broncos are going to be able to score enough on the Patriots. New England's defense is underrated. Tom Brady, though, is not underrated. He can put up points on anyone, including Denver. I'll lean with New England here. The Patriots are a 3-point road favorite.
As for Arizona and Carolina, I have no idea. The Packers-Cardinals game was one for the ages and I love this Arizona team. From head coach Bruce Arians to Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald, this team is really easy to root for. The Panthers lit the world on fire in the first half on Sunday against Seattle but somehow let the Seahawks get back into it. I'm not sure what happened there. I lean to picking the Cardinals in this game. The Panthers are a 3-point home favorite.
Sunday, January 24
AFC Championship game: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos, CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET
NFC Championship game: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, FOX, 6:40 p.m. ET
Sunday, February 7
Super Bowl 50: AFC champion vs. NFC champion, 6:30 p.m., CBS