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NFL playoffs 2016 bracket and schedule: Broncos advance to Super Bowl with win over Patriots

Peyton Manning led the Broncos to a thrilling win over Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship.

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SB Nation 2016 NFL Playoff Guide

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will be playing at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Feb. 7 after they downed Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship on Sunday. It was Manning's second start since he was benched after a four-interception game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and his second start since a foot injury that kept Brock Osweiler under center for several weeks.

Manning played well, looking a lot better than he did for much of his time in the regular season. He hasn't looked like the old Manning all season, but with Sunday's win over the Patriots, he will be playing in Super Bowl 50.

That almost was not the case when the Patriots survived several fourth-down opportunities in the fourth quarter and Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown with under 20 seconds to go. But they trailed by two points, and needed the conversion to win it. The conversion was unsuccessful, giving Denver the 20-18 win.

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The team the Broncos will be facing has yet to be decided. The NFC Championship will also be played on Sunday between the top-seeded Carolina Panthers and the second-seeded Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals are coming off a thrilling overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers and the Panthers are coming off a dominant win over the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional round. It will be Manning vs. Carson Palmer or Manning vs. Cam Newton, and either matchup is plenty intriguing.

The Super Bowl will take place at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.

1/24bracket

Schedule (all times Eastern)

Saturday, Jan. 9

AFC Wild Card Game 1: Kansas City Chiefs 30, Houston Texans0 (recap)
AFC Wild Card Game 2: Pittsburgh Steelers 18, Cincinnati Bengals 16 (recap)

Sunday, Jan. 10

NFC Wild Card Game 1: Seattle Seahawks 10, Minnesota Vikings 9 (recap)
NFC Wild Card Game 2: Green Bay Packers 35, Washington 18 (recap)

Saturday, Jan. 16

AFC Divisional Round Game 1: New England Patriots 27, Kansas City Chiefs 20 (recap)
NFC Divisional Round Game 1: Arizona Cardinals 26, Green Bay Packers 20 (recap)

Sunday, Jan. 17

NFC Divisional Round Game 2: Carolina Panthers 31, Seattle Seahawks 24 (recap)
AFC Divisional Round Game 2:
Denver Broncos 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 16 (recap)

Sunday, Jan. 24

AFC Championship: Denver Broncos 20, New England Patriots 18 (recap)
NFC Championship: Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals, 6:40 p.m., FOX

Sunday, Feb. 7

Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos vs. NFC champion, 6:30 p.m., CBS