The 2014 NFL playoffs are just around the corner with only several weeks to go until a new Super Bowl champion is crowned.
Here's a look at the dates for every round of the NFL playoffs and a prediction for which team will hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy when it's all over.
2014 NFL Playoffs Schedule
|Wild Card||Jan. 4-5, 2014|
|Divisional||Jan. 11-12, 2014|
|Conference Championships||Jan. 19, 2014|
|Super Bowl XLVIII||Feb. 2, 2014|
Super Bowl Prediction: Seahawks 27, Bengals 17
Why Cincinnati Will Make the Super Bowl
This Super Bowl prediction might be a bit early with the regular season not even over, but it's clear that the Seattle Seahawks are a clear-cut favorite to win it all.
The Bengals on the other hand, are a bit of a dark horse in this year's playoffs, but are no less deadly than a team like Denver. While most of the NFL spotlight has been placed on the Broncos, Chiefs, Cowboys and Seahawks, Cincinnati has put together a fine year.
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Vikings and Who Deys are heading back to the playoffs for a franchise best 3rd year in a row.. What say you?— DOM TIBERI (@DOMTIBERI) December 23, 2013
Sure, it took Marvin Lewis' team until overtime to beat the Bills earlier this season, but take a closer look at this team's record. The Bengals have defeated the likes of Green Bay (with Aaron Rodgers), Detroit, San Diego and Indianapolis.
Lewis has never won a playoff game in his head coaching career, but has coached the Bengals to three playoff appearances since 2009. Cincinnati has won four of its last five games and boasts the NFL's No. 5 defense.
AFC favorites like New England and Denver are sure to stumble in the postseason.
The Patriots defense is almost as banged up as Dallas and Tom Brady has not been his usual self in 2013. The Patriots quarterback has just 24 touchdowns so far for his lowest output since 2006.
Without Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork and a legit No. 1 receiver, the Patriots don't look as formidable as they used to.
The Broncos are certainly formidable, but are now without s sidelined Von Miler and Wes Welker is still ailing from a concussion. Peyton Manning has a playoff record of just 9-11 with 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
Major blow to Broncos, losing their top pass rusher, Von Miller, to a season-ending torn ACL.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2013
Denver barely beat the Cowboys and fell to the Chargers and Colts this season. There's something that just screams playoff disappointment with this team.
Why the Seahawks Will win the Super Bowl
Seattle has the NFL's No. 1 defense at its disposal and has taken down Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco and New Orleans. That defense held the Saints to just seven points in Week 13.
The Seahawks did lose to Arizona at home in Week 16, but that was their first loss at home since 2011. They are currently the NFC's No. 1 seed and could play at home all the way through to the Super Bowl this postseason.
When looking at the running game headed by Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson throwing the ball, it's hard not to like this offense against any team. The two have combined for 36 touchdowns this season.
Considering that Seattle's defense has given up 24 or more points only twice this season, the Seahawks offense doesn't have to light up the scoreboard to win.
Sure the Eagles look pretty great after beating Chicago, 54-11, and San Francisco was in the Super Bowl just last year. With at least a first-round bye and one home playoff game likely for the Seahawks though, Seattle can beat Philly or its NFC West rival on its home turf.
When looking at the Bengals and Seahawks, Seattle just has the more-complete team, which Cincinnati won't be able to edge out.
The Bengals do have a formidable defense of their own so the score in this one won't be off the charts. Still, Seattle's secondary can easily shut down a Cincinnati offense which has only one legitimate receiving threat. A.J. Green is a beast, but he'll meet his match against the likes of Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell.
Offensively, the Seahawks have enough weapons to wear down the Bengals with Lynch and a receiving corps with Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Neither are on the same level as Cincinnati's Green, but both have been reliable passing options for Wilson this season.
Expect the Seahawks to capture their first-ever Super Bowl title on Feb. 2.