NFL Playoff Bracket 2014: Best Possible Matchups After Saturday's Games

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 20: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos congratulates Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts after the Colts beat the Broncos 39-33 at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs blew a 28-point lead to the Indianapolis Colts, and the New Orleans Saints outlasted the Philadelphia Eagles to move into the divisional playoff round. With those two teams having already moved on, things are beginning to take shape.

Click here to see the playoff brackets for both conferences, per

Here's a look at the matchup that is locked in and the most entertaining scenarios for the divisional playoff round.


Saints at Seahawks is Locked In

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 02: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Saints are automatically headed to play the Seattle Seahawks. New Orleans is the sixth seed, so it will have to travel to play the top-seeded Hawks.

You may remember the last time the Saints had to play the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in the postseason. Marshawn Lynch went into beast mode and the Saints were knocked off by an upstart Seahawks team in 2011.

You better believe that game will be on the Saints' minds this time around. In the latest meeting, the Seahawks will be heavily favored. Seattle finished the season 13-3 and destroyed the Saints 34-7 at CenturyLink Field in Week 13.

Still, the rematch is compelling. Can Drew Brees lead his team to a win over the Seattle juggernaut or do the Seahawks just have his number? Brees knows full well what he's headed for. He said this, per 710 ESPN Seattle after Saturday's game:

Comedian Drew Carey has no confidence in the Saints.

Who Dat Nation is hoping Carey's price is wrong.


Indianapolis vs. Denver Would Be Epic

Unless you're a San Diego Chargers fan, you have to hope the Cincinnati Bengals take care of the Bolts at home on Sunday.

If the Bengals win, they would play the New England Patriots in the divisional playoff round and Andrew Luck and the Colts would take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Unless you've been a Castaway playing with Wilson for the last year, you know what a Colts-Broncos playoff meeting would mean: The Colts' present and future under center taking on its past.

Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (left) watches as owner Jim Irsay (right) announces Manning's release from the team during a press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: B
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how classy Manning is, he has to want to smoke the Colts—with no offense aimed at Luck. The hype for this game would be about as big as any non-Super Bowl or non-division rivalry in the postseason.


49ers vs. Panthers Rematch Would Be Cool

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Carolina Panthers at Candlestick Park on November 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Defense is awesome. Seeing two of the best units in the league clash for a second time would be excellent. The Carolina Panthers outfought the San Francisco 49ers 10-9 back in Week 10.

In most years, fans would have whined and moaned about such a low-scoring game. In this era in which NFL teams are averaging 23.4 points per game, a real defensive struggle is welcomed.

The Niners have to take care of the Green Bay Packers at frigid Lambeau Field first. If they do, it would also be nice to see a game played in a stadium that doesn't look like a live action version of the movie Ice Age.


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