DENVER, Colorado - Peyton Manning powered the Denver Broncos to within one victory of the Super Bowl and San Francisco advanced as well by beating Carolina in Sunday's NFL playoff games.
Manning threw two touchdown passes to lead Denver over visiting San Diego 24-17 while Colin Kaepernick ran for one touchdown and threw for another to lift the 49ers over host Carolina 23-10.
Denver will host New England and San Francisco will visit Seattle in next Sunday's playoff semi-finals with those winners to meet in Super Bowl 48 on February 2 at suburban New York.
Manning, who set new NFL pass yardage and touchdown toss records this season leading the top-scoring offensive unit in league history, will have a showdown against New England rival Tom Brady, whose records he broke, in a battle of star quarterbacks for the American Conference crown.
"It's the Broncos versus the Patriots," Manning said.
"Tom and I have played against each other a lot but when you get to the conference championship it's about two good teams getting there."
The Patriots defeated Denver 34-31 in overtime in a regular-season matchup on November 25 at New England.
The Broncos led 24-0 at half-time before three-time Super Bowl winner Brady produced the greatest comeback of his NFL career.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, completed 15-of-28 passes for 196 yards and ran seven times for 15 yards as the 49ers shook off a slow start and avenged a 10-9 regular-season home loss to the Panthers last November.