The Denver Broncos have already begun playing the New England Patriots, even if the AFC Championship isn't scheduled until Sunday.
On Monday, two Broncos, defensive end Antonio Smith and linebacker Brandon Marshall, began attacking the Patriots' offense through the media.
Does Patriots quarterback Tom Brady complain too much to the referee after he gets sacked?
"I've never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady," Smith told the Colorado Springs Gazette. "Every time he gets sacked, he looks at the ref like, 'You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.'"
So would he call Brady a "crybaby?"
"That would be an accurate statement," Smith said.
Meanwhile, Marshall took aim at the Patriots' top pass-catcher (1,176 yards receiving) and leading scorer (11 touchdowns).
Is New England tight end Rob Gronkowski pushing off from defenders to get open?
The same day, Marshall, in an appearance on "PFT Live," suggested Gronkowski is such a weapon on the field because he illegally uses his physicality against defenders.
"I say 'cause he pushes off," Marshall said. "I mean, he pushes off and he gets away with it about 98% of the time."
Should such questions enter the heads of officials while calling the game, it could provide the Broncos with the slightest of edges, even if that means one less penalty flag. After all, they may need it against Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, who is known for pushing the limits of the NFL rulebook.
For example, look at the eligible/ineligible receiver trick New England used against the Baltimore Ravens during the playoffs last season. They won't be able to employ that one against the Broncos because the NFL passed a rule against such actions during the offseason.
At worst, the Broncos calling out Brady and Gronkowski could end up as motivation for the Patriots, something that might have been the wrong play call.