The Broncos' thrilling 29-23 overtime victory Sunday against the Steelers earned them a trip to Gillette Stadium. The Pats and Broncos will play at 8 p.m. Saturday, exactly six years after their last postseason meeting.
The Patriots beat the Broncos, 41-23, in Week 15 in Denver. Since 2001, the Patriots are 7-5 in playoff games against teams that they've already met in the regular season, but they've lost four of their last five, including three in a row.
The Patriots are 0-2 all time in playoff games against the Broncos, but they've never squared off in New England. In their last playoff meeting, Denver shocked the two-time Super Bowl champions in the 2005 postseason.
In Week 15, the Patriots erased a nine-point deficit to throttle the Broncos. Tom Brady had 320 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score, and tight end Aaron Hernandez had a career day with nine receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who had 316 passing yards, 50 rushing yards and three total touchdowns against the Steelers, wasn't quite as strong last month against New England. He had 194 passing yards, 93 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the loss to the Pats.
If the Patriots defeat the Broncos, they will host the AFC championship against the winner of next Sunday's clash between the second-seeded Ravens and third-seeded Texans. If the Broncos win, they'll visit Baltimore or Houston.