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The conference championship round of the 2016 NFL playoffs gets going Sunday afternoon! We will figure out the Super Bowl 50 participants this weekend. Sunday opens with the AFC Championship Game, featuring the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots at 12:05 p.m. PT on CBS. That will be followed by the NFC Championship, featuring the Carolina Panthers hosting the Arizona Cardinals at 3:40 p.m. PT on FOX.
The top two seeds advanced on each side of the bracket, which is the first time that has happened since 2004. The AFC Championship Game features the 17th matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Broncos escaped against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, while the Patriots did not have much trouble with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots are a road favorite as Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense has been less than stellar. The most notable injury news this week is Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. He is dealing with a left shoulder issue that has him a game-time decision.
The NFC Championship Game features the two teams that were clearly the best in the conference. Other times had their moments, but the Cardinals and Panthers were the teams to beat. Carson Palmer struggled against the Packers in the divisional round, but the team did just enough to win in overtime. The Panthers jumped out to a 31-0 lead on the Seahawks. While Seattle made a comeback, Carolina held them off to advance. The most notable injury news is that Jared Allen broke his foot, and his status is unsure.
Patriots vs. Broncos
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
When: Sunday, January 24, 12:05 p.m. PT
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Radio: Patriots Radio Network | Broncos Radio Network
Online Streaming: CBS Sports
Odds: The Patriots opened as a 2.5-point road favorite. The line climbed to 3.5, but has settled between 3- and 3.5-points, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Patriots blog: Pats Pulpit
Broncos blog: Mile High Report
Cardinals vs. Panthers
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
When: Sunday, January 24, 3:40 p.m. PT
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Radio: Cardinals Radio Network | Panthers Radio Network
Online Streaming: FOXSportsGo
Odds: The Panthers opened as a 4-point favorite. The line dropped to a field goal, and has settled there, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Cardinals blog: Revenge of the Birds
Panthers blog: Cat Scratch Reader