BOSTON (CBS) – The AFC Championship is set as the Patriots will head to Denver to take on the Broncos, matching Tom Brady against Peyton Manning once again with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
This will be Brady and Manning’s third meeting in the AFC Championship, with each quarterback earned a win over the other. Boomer Esiason of WFAN and The NFL Today joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Monday, and said to expect another classic battle between Brady and Manning come Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a legacy game. That’s what I coined it yesterday on The NFL today because it truly is,” said Boomer. “When you look at the numbers these guys have, and look back in history and ask who these guys are like in history, Brady and Manning will tie [Brett] Farve and [Steve] Young, [Ken] Stabler and [Terry] Bradshaw for most postseason meetings between quarterbacks since 1950. This is also the most quarterback meetings in the conference finals since [Troy] Aikman and Young, [John] Elway and [Bernie] Kosar, Bradshaw and Stalber did it three times.”
“The numbers are spectacular and they deserve every ounce of accolades they get,” he said of the two quarterbacks. “This is one of the games we were all hoping for when the season started. It really should be a fantastic football game giving the way the Patriots are now playing and how they’re re-invented themselves on offense.”
While most of the focus will be on Brady and Manning, Boomer says what gives the Patriots a great chance at pulling off a road victory is their rejuvenated rushing attack. LeGarrette Blount torched the Colts for 166 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday, and has 355 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.
“It’s perfect; it’s exactly what they need to go into Denver to win,” said Boomer. “LeGarrette Blount is becoming Corey Dillon or Antowain Smith right before our eyes these last few weeks. But there’s is something else I took away against Indianapolis; Stevan Ridley is running his ass off too. He has been the one with the key fumble here and there, and Belichick needed to sit him down. But the emergence of Blount has had a positive effect on Ridley, and he’s the change of pace back where if he gets through the line of scrimmage no one is catching him.”
“This is exactly the type of offense you need to go in there and beat Denver. I know San Diego tried to do it yesterday… but these are running backs going into the game extremely healthy with a strong offensive line. This is the way to neutralize the fans out in Denver, running the ball and being methodical.”
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“The Patriots are built, offensively at least, exactly the way you need to be built to go into Denver and beat them,” he said.