Believe it or not, there are only three more games remaining until the never-ending time warp that is the NFL offseason, and they can all be found on either CBS or Fox.
The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots earned their spots in the conference championship games by taking care of business in the divisional round. These were arguably the four most talented teams throughout the regular season, so it’s only appropriate that football fans will be treated to these matchups before the Super Bowl.
Here is how you can find every remaining game in the NFL playoffs.
|NFL Playoffs Schedule|
|Round||Date/Time||Road Team||Home Team||Network|
|AFC Championship||Jan. 19 (3:00 p.m. ET)||New England Patriots||Denver Broncos||CBS|
|NFC Championship||Jan. 19 (6:30 p.m. ET)||San Francisco 49ers||Seattle Seahawks||FOX|
|Super Bowl XLVIII||Feb. 2 (6:20 p.m. ET)||TBA||TBA||FOX|
Key Storylines in Conference Championships
Crowd Noise, Defense and Bad Blood in Seattle
There hasn’t been a safer bet in the NFC the past few years than backing the 49ers to make the conference title clash. Jim Harbaugh has led his squad to the past three NFC Championship Games, although he has yet to win a Super Bowl ring as the head man in the Bay Area.
Despite San Francisco’s recent success, trips to Seattle have been anything but enjoyable. The Seahawks dismantled the 49ers 29-3 in front of the home fans in Week 2 this season, which wasn’t even as big of a beatdown as last year’s matchup in CenturyLink Field (Seattle won 42-13).
There are few home-field advantages across all of American sports that are as intimidating as that of the Seahawks. The noise is deafening, and the players feed off the energy. San Francisco will have its hands full dealing with the atmosphere against Richard Sherman and Seattle’s shutdown defense.
In fact, both of these teams feature lockdown defenses. Seattle ranks first in the NFL against the pass and seventh against the run, while the 49ers rank seventh against the pass and fourth against the run. Points will certainly be at a premium in the NFC title contest.
One thing that will not be at a premium is the bad blood between these two rivals. Let Adam Schein of NFL.com explain why it is the best rivalry in the league:
It's the single best rivalry in the NFL today.
Yes, I understand the amazing history between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. I'm well aware of the classic battles waged by the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. I know all about Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers—that's a spectacular clash, fueled by smashmouth play and a whole lot of people (players and fans alike) who don't like each other. But it isn't Niners-'Hawks. Not now. In 2013, nothing gets the emotions flowing like this epic NFC West grudge match.
No other rivals truly loathe each other right now quite like San Francisco and Seattle. And pure hatred in today's NFL—with free agency and general player movement—is rare. Pure hatred is wonderful, needed and extremely juicy.
Legendary Quarterbacks and Vulnerable Defenses in Denver
If you aren’t mentally prepared for the barrage of Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady stories you will see leading up to the AFC Championship Game, get ready now.
Two of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, and arguably the defining players of an entire generation of football, will clash with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Manning has the slight edge on many of the tangible statistics when it comes to the head-to-head comparison, but Brady has more championship rings on his fingers.
With these two signal-callers manning the controls for the Broncos and Patriots, points are almost assured against any defense, let alone the two that will be taking the field in the AFC title game.
Yes, Denver’s defense has had its moments, but it still ranked 27th in the NFL in opposing passing yards allowed. Some of that can be explained by the fact that opponents found themselves throwing more against the Broncos because they were always behind, but Brady will find holes to exploit against Denver’s secondary.
That is exactly what he did in the regular-season matchup when the Patriots overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to knock off the Broncos.
As for the Patriots defense, they were 18th against the pass and 30th against the run this season. Few teams, if any, have as many offensive weapons across the board as Denver, and that’s not even including Manning at quarterback, so Bill Belichick’s defense will likely have serious issues keeping the Broncos out of the end zone.
Follow and interact with Bleacher Report writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.
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