NFL Playoffs Schedule 2014: Postseason Dates and Super Bowl Prediction

Alex HallCorrespondent IIIDecember 24, 2013

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals on December 22, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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

NFL Playoff Schedule
Wild CardJan. 4-5, 2014
DivisionalJan. 11-12, 2014
Conference ChampionshipsJan. 19, 2014
Super Bowl XLVIIIFeb. 2, 2014


Super Bowl Prediction: Seahawks 27, Bengals 17


Why Cincinnati Will Make the Super Bowl

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 22:  Rey Maualuga #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with George Iloka #43 and Adam Jones #24 after intercepting a pass  during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Cincin
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

Dec 22, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll speaks to a referee during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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.