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When the lights were flipped on at Gillette Stadium for a prime-time game Nov. 24, the Patriots and Broncos had yet to win much of anything. Despite leading their respective divisions, neither knew what the future held, either in the hours or weeks to come. All they shared, as the clock ticked down toward a much-anticipated regular-season game, were short-term focus and long-term goals.
Some details from the game might be forgotten but what happened on that Sunday night in Foxborough seems relevant now, only because of what’s happened since.
The Broncos won the AFC West, and the Patriots won the AFC East. Both received byes into the divisional round, and each took care of business at home over the weekend, setting up a Sunday rematch. The winner advances to Super Bowl XLVIII.