As quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck will get the top billing in Sunday's AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Clearly the two marquee quarterbacks will play a key role in the outcome of the game – one looking to add to his legendary legacy and the other trying to make the leap into the stratosphere of truly elite NFL passers.
But the game will be much more complex than just about the quarterbacks. Key players will make key plays on both sides of the ball. And with the media having had a full day of press conferences and player access on Wednesday, the previews of Sunday's big game are beginning to run a bit deeper than just the battle of No. 12s.
The Boston Globe looks at Brandon LaFell and his physical role in the Patriots offense. The Globe's Patriots notebook passes on Tom Brady talking about his game week intensity and preparations. And though the game is more than about the QBs, Vince Wilfork says Luck is clearly one of the best in the game today.
The Boston Herald also looks at the attitude and energy that Brady brings to the week of the title game. Rob Gronkowski had his fill of former teammate and Colts safety Sergio Brown, but the two aren't likely to battle much this time around – through either words or hits. The Herald's Karen Guregian actually questions just how good Luck really is, while Jeff Howe says the Patriots will be looking to take advantage of the young passer's mistakes.
ESPNBoston.com breaks down the Patriots injury report, including the status of rookie center Bryan Stork. ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Colts reporter Mike Wells go back-and-forth in an in-depth breakdown of the big game. The site also addresses how the Patriots offensive line will deal with the possibility that Stork won't play.
Elsewhere from ESPN, a piece on the site's Grantland section breaks down the Patriots corps of young playmaking linebackers.
WEEI.com offers up Gronkowski preparing for an "emotional" game, while the site also relays comments from Brown's former coaches saying the safety won't back down from the best tight end in football. WEEI.com columnist John Tomase has a different spin on Ray Lewis' recent idiotic comments that the tuck rule created Brady. Chris Price makes it clear that the ground game, not the quarterbacks, might be the story of the game Sunday night.
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Tom Curran says that Brady is "still crazy after all these years." Phil Perry breaks down how the Patriots might deal with the Colts tight ends. CSNNE.com also digs deeper into the Gronkowski vs. Brown battle.