Is this the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady heavyweight bout? Or will Sunday afternoon's AFC Championship Game become more than a battle of superstar quarterbacks?
The sold-out, orange-clad crowd at Sports Authority Field at Mile High will soon find out. So will a national television audience sure to approach records for TV market share.
This much is certain. All eyes will be on the QBs, two future first-ballot hall of famers who seemingly can win games by themselves.
Will New England's Tom Brady march into yet another Super Bowl or can the Peyton Manning become an immediate Denver folk hero by getting the Broncos to their first Super Bowl since the 1998 season?
On the other side of scrimmage, neither defenses have been stellar this season. But almost invariably in a game of this magnitude, somebody — often as a surprise — steps up and makes a huge defensive play.
The Broncos will start Champ Bailey at left corner in place of the injured Chris Harris. Left corner was Bailey's position the previous 14 1/2 seasons. As a concession to his season-long left foot injury, Bailey was moved last month to nickelback.
But with Harris down with a torn ACL, Bailey will now go back to starting at the left outside corner, then shift back to nickel when the Broncos go to their nickel package.
As Bailey moves to the nickel, Tony Carter will play the outside left corner. Carter had been the Broncos' outside corner in the nickel package most of last season through the first five games of this season.
Here are the inactives:
Broncos — QB Zac Dysert, RB Ronnie Hillman, CB Marquice Cole, T Vinston Painter, G Chris Kuper, TE Joel Dreessen, DT Sione Fua.
Patriots — DB Justin Green, TE D.J. Williams, LB Steve Beauharnais, OL Chris Barker, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DT Isaac Sopoaga, DE Jake Bequette.