The second round of the 2016 NFL playoff schedule is officially over. The divisional round featured some interesting games. Now the stage is set for the championship games next weekend.
NFC Championship Game
The top two seeds from the NFC are set to play against each other. The Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carolina got here by getting up big on the Seattle Seahawks and then holding off a comeback. The Cardinals, meanwhile, beat the Green Bay Packers in an overtime thriller.
This should be a really good matchup. The Cardinals' offense has been lethal for most of the season. The Panthers have been able to score the ball as well but their defense is obviously the strength of the team. Cam Newton and Carson Palmer are two of the top candidates for NFL MVP. We'll see which quarterback can be most valuable to his team next Sunday.
AFC Championship Game
The top two seeds from the AFC are set to play against each other as well. So much for parity, huh? The Broncos will host the New England Patriots in Denver. The Broncos got here by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a close game. The New England Patriots, meanwhile, advanced to the championship round by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. This marks the 10th championship game Tom Brady will play in during his career, which is pretty crazy.
Manning versus Brady is always a classic. These two have faced off against each other 15 times in their career. They've met in the playoffs four times before and they're split at two wins and two losses each. This result of this game will split the tie. Manning clearly isn't what he used to be so Denver's defense will need to come up big here. Brady is still playing at a high level.
Sunday, January 24
AFC: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (CBS, 3:05 p.m.)
NFC: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (FOX, 6:40 p.m.)
Super Bowl 50
Sunday, February 7
NFC champion versus AFC champion (CBS, 6:30 p.m.)