We're getting close now. Only two more days. In preparation for Sunday's game, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald breaks down all the match-ups in the upcoming AFC Championship game. Guregian gives her take on the game and explains which team has the edge at each position. Tim Whelan of the Metro Daily News highlights the match-up between Wes Welker and Kyle Arrington. Whelan believes this will be a key battle to win for both teams.
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss notes that Tony Corrente has been announced as the game's head referee. His crew worked two Patriots games this season including the Saints (10/13) and the Dolphins (12/15). It was also announced that Willie McGinest will serve as the Patriots honorary team capain on Sunday. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald writes that McGinest was honored by the announcement and that he looks forward to the day that he will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
And following with tradition, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made a friendly bet with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday. Fox 25 explains that if the Broncos win, Walsh agreed to wear a Broncos jersey at the U.S. Conference of Mayors next week. If the Patriots win, Hancock agreed to wear a Patriots jersey at the event.
Going based off the "experts" it sounds like Mayor Marty Walsh will be the one wearing a jersey next week. Most people are picking the Broncos to win on Sunday. NFL.com's Elliot Harrison made his weekly picks and he believes New England will fall 26-24 to the Denver Broncos. Nine of the thirteen ESPN experts and six of the seven USA Today experts also picked the Broncos to win. ESPN's NFL Live also posted a video of their analysts' predictions.
But as the Patriots have showed before, being an underdog doesn't mean you can't win. One of the most difficult tasks this week will be containing Peyton Manning's offensive attack. New England will attempt to confused Manning and disguise their defensive alignments at the line of scrimmage. Zuri Berry of the Boston Globe explains Manning's 'Omaha call' and writes how the Patriots will handle his pre-snap calls.
Some say that Wes Welker is Manning's right-hand-man and his most important receiver -- he certainly was for Brady. The Lowell Sun's David Pevear says that Welker could haunt Bill Belichick and make him regret his decision if #83 is able to have a strong performance on Sunday afternoon.
However, similarly Danny Amendola has an opportunity this week to change fans perception of him and make Belichick look like a genius. Brian Macpherson of the Providence Journal says that a strong game from Amendola could help the Patriots earn another Super Bowl appearance and could earn the love of fans all over New England.
"In many ways, what Amendola does in the playoffs could define the legacy of his first year in New England," writes Macpherson. "A lackluster, injury-marred regular season could be erased by a productive postseason."
Boston.com*'s Chad Finn highlights five memorable plays from the Patriots season that were made by "unsung players." Kenbrell Thompkin's game-winning touchdown catch against the Saints made the list as well as Kyle Arrington's onside kick recovery against the Browns. It just goes to show that so many players have made big impacts on this team in 2013.
Rick Gosselin of* Dallas News* released his Special teams rankings this week. After calculating all of the teams' stats, the Patriots' special teams came in as the best in the NFL. This is the second time since 2010 that New England has finished the season with the best special teams in the league.
And NESN posted a parody video about Tom Brady's high fives. Tom has been left hanging all year.
Download the new Kamino app to your phone and give Brady a high five!