No Brady vs. Manning XVII this postseason. Now it's Brady vs. Luck IV.
Translation: After 16 matchups with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady will face Andrew Luck for the fourth time when the star quarterbacks lead the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
At stake in this budding rivalry is a spot in Super Bowl XLIX (that's 49) — one year after Manning's Broncos beat Brady's Patriots in last season's AFC championship game.
The steadily rising Luck is more of a puzzle than Manning even though the Patriots are 3-0 against the third-year veteran with every win by more than 20 points.
Still, their lack of experience against him — and his growth as a quarterback — could mean extra time for defenders in the film room and on the practice field getting ready for the strong-armed Luck and the Colts (13-5).
After a bye, the Patriots went to Indianapolis and beat the Colts 42-20 on Nov. 16. Luck threw for 303 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Luck was a rookie when he first faced Brady on Nov. 18, 2012. And he played like one in New England's 59-24 win.
He threw three interceptions with two returned for touchdowns covering 87 and 59 yards. He also lost a fumble one play before Brady hit Rob Gronkowski with a 34-yard touchdown pass.
"They're good enough," Luck said after the game. "They don't need those gifts."
In his next game against the Patriots, he threw four interceptions in a 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss last season, one week before Manning and Denver eliminated New England.
"The NFL is a very competitive league," Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio. "Peyton is an incredible player. Andrew Luck's a great player. We've got one of the great young quarterbacks coming into our stadium, so we've got to be able to figure out a way to slow those guys down."
The Patriots did that well enough to beat Manning 11 times in Brady's career.
Now they'll try to go 4-0 against Luck.
"It's the National Football League. It's the playoffs," Patricia said. "Every game is very difficult."