NFL Playoff Schedule 2014: When and Where to Watch Every Postseason Matchup

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2014

Dec 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The crowning of a new NFL champion is just one month away.

The 2014 NFL playoffs will kick off on Saturday, Jan. 4, and continue through the first weekend of February, when the Lombardi Trophy will be awarded to the league's best team at MetLife Stadium. With the 12-team field set and the Wild Card matchups set in stone, all that's left to do is watch it all unfold.

Below we'll break down the entire postseason schedule and take a closer look at what's to come on Wild Card Weekend.

2014 NFL Playoff Schedule
RoundDate (Time)Visitor (Seed)Home (Seed)Network
Wild CardJan. 4 (4:35 p.m. EST)Kansas City Chiefs (5)Indianapolis Colts (4)NBC
Wild CardJan. 4 (8:10 p.m. EST)New Orleans Saints (6)Philadelphia Eagles (3)NBC
Wild CardJan. 5 (1:05 p.m. EST)San Diego Chargers (6)Cincinnati Bengals (3)CBS
Wild CardJan. 5 (4:40 p.m. EST)San Francisco 49ers (5)Green Bay Packers (4)Fox
DivisionalJan. 11 (4:35 p.m. EST)Lowest NFC SeedSeattle Seahawks (1)Fox
DivisionalJan. 11 (8:15 p.m. EST)Highest AFC SeedNew England Patriots (2)CBS
DivisionalJan. 12 (1:05 p.m. EST)Highest NFC SeedCarolina Panthers (2)Fox
DivisionalJan. 12 (4:40 p.m. EST)Lowest AFC SeedDenver Broncos (1)CBS
AFC ChampionshipJan. 19 (TBA)TBATBACBS
NFC ChampionshipJan. 19 (TBA)TBATBAFox
Super Bowl XLVIIIFeb. 2 (6:30 p.m. EST)TBATBAFox


Chiefs Look to Avenge Week 16 Loss to Colts

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 22:  Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball across the goal line for a touchdwon during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missou
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The first playoff matchup of 2014 features two underrated teams in the AFC, as the Wild Card Kansas City Chiefs travel to Indianapolis to take on the AFC South champion Colts.

Kansas City finished the year 2-5 following a 9-0 start, while Indy closed out 2013 on a three-game winning streak. One of those wins was a 23-7 thrashing of the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Dec. 22. Indy forced four turnovers in that game and somehow held the Chiefs to just one third-down conversion. 

Unsurprisingly, the Colts will be 2.5-point favorites at home. 

Look for turnovers to play another huge role in this weekend's rematch. After all, the Chiefs and Colts rank Nos. 1 and 2 respectively in turnover margin in the AFC. Among the entire league, only Seattle had a better regular-season margin. 


Saints and Eagles Clash in Offensive Battle

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 29:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints warms up before his team takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles will meet in what's sure to be Saturday's most entertaining Wild Card showdown. Like the Colts, the Eagles will be slight favorites at home.

While defense typically becomes more of a factor in the postseason, there will be no shortage of offense on display when these two teams get together. Drew Brees and New Orleans boast the NFL's second-ranked aerial assault, but the LeSean McCoy-led Eagles feature the league's most dynamic rushing attack.

Both units also rank inside the top four in total offense and inside the top 10 in scoring offense.

Therefore, whichever defensive unit is able to weather the storm on Saturday night will likely be the team moving on. Keep in mind that Philadelphia's secondary ranks dead last against the pass, and New Orleans was one of only six teams to surrender more than 4.5 yards per carry during the regular season. 

The NFL's leading rusher in 2013, McCoy is well aware of that fact, per's Dan Klausner:

We’re made for the playoffs. Everyone is so excited for us to be here, but we should be here. We prepared to be champions of this division, and we’re prepared to win this game. The Saints are a good team, for sure. They have a very explosive offense and a solid defense, but I think the guys in this locker room, the coaches we have, we can get the job done.

Keep in mind that McCoy has rushed for more than 130 yards in three of Philly's last four games.  


Bengals Take Aim at 1st Playoff Win Since 1990

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals calls signals in the game with the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 1, 2013 in San Diego, California. The Bengals won 17-10.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Gett
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals have lost five consecutive playoff games dating back to 1990. Still, they will be favored by a touchdown on Sunday when they host the Wild Card San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium.

Just like the other AFC Wild Card matchup, the Bengals and Bolts met as recently as December. Cincinnati would beat San Diego, 17-10, on the road in a game decided by turnovers. 

Philip Rivers and the Chargers gave the ball away three times, including on their opening drive of the game and twice down the stretch. Clearly, San Diego can ill afford to make those same mistakes on the road against a superior team.

Of all the matchups on Wild Card Weekend, this battle places the most emphasis on home-field advantage. Remember, Cincinnati is 8-0 at home this season and has been crushing opponents at Paul Brown Stadium, scoring 34.4 points on average compared to just 16.8 points for its opponents. 


Packers and 49ers Reignite Rivalry 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will host the Super Bowl favorite San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's final Wild Card matchup at historic Lambeau Field.

With bone-chilling temperatures projected for kickoff, expect both teams to hand the ball off plenty. After all, both clubs rank inside the top seven in rushing offense this season and possess bruising running backs in Green Bay's Eddie Lacy and San Francisco's Frank Gore.

However, the difference-maker this weekend will likely be 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Green Bay has been unable to contain Kaepernick in the two teams' most recent meetings. He rushed for a record 181 yards in San Francisco's NFC Divisional playoff win last January and threw for 412 yards in the Niners' Week 1 win at Candlestick Park.'s Vic Ketchman believes Green Bay's wounded defense will have to "pick its poison" on Sunday: "Dom Capers has a big job on his hands this week. I think he has to pick his poison and then find a way schematically to lessen the effects of the poison he’s picked."

With a former Super Bowl MVP in Rodgers on the other side, though, underdog Green Bay will have an excellent shot to beat the spread and upset San Francisco in the cold.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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