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Championship games quick takes

Posted Jan 20, 2016

The stakes are high this weekend as four teams stand 60 minutes from a place in the Super Bowl. And it’s not just any old Super Bowl – this is the historic 50th Super Bowl that will take place in San Francisco on Sunday February 7.

It’s time for the players and coaches to bring their ‘A’ games and it’s the same when it comes to finding stats relating to the big showdowns. So here are some of the killer facts and statistics I’ll be breaking out in the Sky Sports studio on Sunday night.

New England Patriots (13-4) at Denver Broncos (13-4)

  • Tom Brady has thrown more TD passes at Mile High this year (3) than Peyton Manning. In 6 games at home this season, Manning has thrown 1 touchdown and 8 interceptions.
  • Tom Brady will be playing in his 10th conference Championship Game. That’s more than 27 other NFL teams.
  • Including this upcoming game in San Francisco, either Brady or Manning have been the QB of the AFC team in 9 of the last 13 Super Bowls.
  • Sunday marks the 17th meeting between Brady and Manning during their illustrious careers. Brady leads their series 11 wins to 5 and has 4 Super Bowl wins to Manning’s 1.
  • Denver boast the number one-ranked defense in the NFL. Brady is 3-0 during the playoffs against top-ranked defenses during his career.
  • Brady is 2-6 in his career at Mile High with his only wins coming against Danny Kanell and Tim Tebow.
  • Patriots are playing in their 5th consecutive AFC Championship Game, tying the 1973-1977 Oakland Raiders for longest streak in NFL history. They have won 1 Super Bowl during that span.
  • Homefield advantage is huge for the Broncos. They are 5-1 all time at home in AFC title games. They are also 3-0 in home playoff games against New England.
  • The Broncos will be aiming for at least 105 rushing yards in this game – when they have reached that total this season they are 9-0 including the playoffs. When held below 105 rushing yards, they have a record of 4-4.
  • The Broncos are 12-1 on the season when they have at least 1 defensive takeaway.

Arizona Cardinals (14-3) at Carolina Panthers (16-1)

  • This is the first playoff game in the Super Bowl era featuring 2 teams who average more than 30 points per game. Carolina ranked first in the NFL with 31.3 points per game and Arizona were second with 30.6 points per game.
  • Both defenses create turnovers. Carolina led the NFL with 39 takeaways and scored 148 points off takeaways. Arizona ranked second with 33 takeaways and 140 points.
  • Cam Newton has more rushing yards this season (636) than Carson Palmer has in 13 NFL seasons (424).
  • Palmer has never had a run over 15 yards. Cam achieved that 7 times in 2015 alone.
  • Carolina went 8-0 at home during the regular season while the Cardinals went 7-1 on the road.
  • Cardinals rookie RB David Johnson scored an NFL-leading 9 touchdowns on the road in 2015.
  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 114 receiving yards in his 8 playoff games and has scored 10 post-season touchdowns.
  • Arizona blitzed more than any other NFL team during the regular season (44.5% of the time). Cam Newton threw more TD passes (18) vs. the blitz than any other NFL QB in 2015.
  • Panthers have rushed for more than 100 yards in 30 straight games. That is the longest streak in the NFL since the 1974-1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Don’t eagerly await the battle between Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. Fitzgerald lined up in the slot 51.2% of the time but Norman only covered the slot on 1.4% of his plays.

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