The Wild Card Round is in full swing.
The Green Bay Packers look like Super Bowl contenders, and the Houston Texans appear to be pretenders.
However, the fun doesn't really start until the second round.
In the second round, the NFL's top teams enter the bout, and the best weekend in football takes place with four games between the absolute best the NFL has to offer.
The teams that emerge from the second round will be in great shape to appear in the Super Bowl, but it won't be easy to reach that point.
Still, two teams will endure to reach their goal: the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.
The Broncos are the NFL's hottest team entering the playoffs. They reeled off 11 straight wins to end the year, snagging the AFC's No. 1 seed in the process.
Peyton Manning has been nothing short of spectacular in his return from neck surgery, and the offense continues to get better each week as he gains familiarity with the team’s personnel.
But what makes Denver so dangerous is its defense.
The Broncos are third in the NFL against the run and the pass. Their pass rush, led by Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, is deadly.
The Broncos are 7-1 on the year at home, and it will be tough to top them en route to the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers don't have the NFC's best record; that distinction lies with the Atlanta Falcons. But what they do have is one of the league's most balanced teams, and that will make the difference in the playoffs.
San Francisco's defense is fearsome.
The 49ers have physical corners and a front seven that gets after quarterbacks on every snap. They are ranked fourth in the NFL against the run and the pass, setting them up for a deep playoff run.
On offense, first-year starter Colin Kaepernick is the outlier, but an impressive run game and solid O-line should help San Francisco overcome his inexperience.
The 49ers fell just short of reaching the Super Bowl last season. Don't expect them to do so again.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!