Clockwise from top, left: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh.
Could this past weekend have gone any better for the NFL? Maybe if Tom Brady and Peyton Manning had each thrown for 400 yards and four touchdowns, possibly, but otherwise, no.
The league got its two dream matchups for this coming weekend's conference championship games as the top four teams in terms of preseason Super Bowl odds in Vegas reached the conference championships, setting up some stellar matchups.
The San Francisco 49ers will travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks just don't lose. These NFC West rivals are the reason their division has become probably the best in the league just a few short years after the St. Louis Rams reached the playoffs with a losing record a few years back. Their head coaches, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, have a dicey past going back to their days in the Pac-12 at Stanford and USC, respectively, and have had some brush-ups in their few meetings in the NFL. The teams are both known for their dominant defenses, strong running games and young, dual-threat quarterbacks. It oughta be a slugfest of the highest order.
Then, of course, there's the AFC Championship game Sunday in Denver in the dream matchup of quarterbacks when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots head to Mile High to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Brady owns Manning in the historic matchup, and will look to one-up his contemporary one more time to reach the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. Even though quarterbacks don't "face" each other, that's definitely the matchup this game is being built around, and rightfully so. The two have had epic postseason battles when Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts, and now the NFL hopes to see another one on Sunday.
Buckle up, folks. It's going to be a fun day of football.