With Saturday evening's 27-20 win over the Chiefs in the Divisional Playoff at Gillette Stadium, Bill Belichick's Patriots advance to the AFC Championship Game for the record-tying fifth-straight season.
The defending Super Bowl Champions will play the winner of Sunday afternoon's battle between the Steelers and Broncos in Denver. A win for the No. 1 seeded Broncos would mean New England would travel to the Rocky Mountains next Sunday afternoon at 3:05 PM to be broadcast on CBS. A Pittsburgh win would result in the Steelers traveling to Foxborough for the title game against the No. 2 seed Patriots.
Either way the game should be a battle of former Super Bowl QBs. If Denver advances, reigning Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady (MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX) would lead his team into a duel against Peyton Manning's Broncos – the MVP of Super Bowl XLI for the Colts -- a potential 17th meeting in the historic rivalry between the two future Hall of Fame passers. A Pittsburgh victory would send Ben Roethlisberger's Steelers – Big Ben has a pair of rings from Super Bowl XL and XLIII though no MVPs from the big game -- up north for another battle in the long playoff rivalry between the two consistent championship contenders in the conference.
New England's championship game streak matches the Oakland Raiders, who went to the AFC title game five straight years from 1973-77.
Regardless of opponent, Belichick will be playing to advance to his record-setting seventh Super Bowl as a head coach while Brady would extend his own record with his seventh trip to the biggest game in all of sports. Meanwhile the Patriots remain on track to become the first team since the 2003-04 squad from New England to defend its Super Bowl crown.
The New England drive for a fifth Lombardi Trophy is one step closer.