After another wild chapter in the 2014 NFL playoffs, the focus has shifted to the conference championships schedule and the dream matchup each has spawned.
With defensive juggernauts in Seattle and San Francisco going to war in the NFC and Denver’s Peyton Manning squaring off with New England’s Tom Brady in yet another chapter in their storied rivalry on the AFC side, the title games are shaping up to be unforgettable.
Football fans can’t afford to miss a second of Sunday’s NFL action.
Here is the full schedule for the remainder of the 2014 playoffs and a preview of each conference championship:
|Conference Championship and Super Bowl Schedule|
|Round||Date (Time)||Time (ET)||Visitor||Home||TV Info|
|AFC Championship||Sunday, Jan. 19||3 p.m.||New England Patriots||Denver Broncos||CBS|
|NFC Championship||Sunday, Jan. 19||6:30 p.m.||San Francisco 49ers||Seattle Seahawks||Fox|
|Super Bowl XLVIII||Sunday, Feb. 2||6:30 p.m.||TBA||TBA||Fox|
New England Patriots (12-4) at Denver Broncos (13-3)
The New England Patriots travel to Denver to play the Broncos on Sunday, but the headlines have been focused on the 15th meeting between legendary quarterbacks Brady and Manning.
While the Brady vs. Manning battle deserves to be talked about, per NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano, this is a team sport:
New England’s offense has been built on a consistent rushing attack. After racking up 234 yards against the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round, Denver will be pushed to its limit with a powerful back like LeGarrette Blount playing this well.
Fox Sports and star tight end Rob Gronkowski chimed in on Blount’s performance:
The Broncos defense hasn’t been great this season, but the team stepped up against San Diego’s rushing attack and allowed just 65 yards on the ground. If the Patriots want to run the ball on the Broncos, they will have to earn every yard.
Blount’s physical style will make this a hard-hitting battle.
This game will ultimately come down to which team takes advantage of its opportunities. With Brady’s lack of elite offensive weapons and Manning’s abundance of gifted receivers, Denver will have the edge in the passing game.
The AFC Championship will come down to the wire, but the offensive firepower of Manning and the Broncos offensive unit will be too much for Brady and New England’s defense to handle.
Predicted Final Score: Denver 28, New England 24
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
The San Francisco 49ers must travel to CenturyLink Field to play the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most anticipated NFC Championships in years.
Seattle has been outstanding at home, losing just one game all season in its own building, but San Francisco has amassed eight wins in a row, including a Week 14 victory over the Seahawks and two postseason wins on the road.
With both teams predicated on strong defensive play and a hard-hitting mentality, this matchup of NFC West rivals will be very physical and very chippy.
A battle. A brutal battle. It will be sparks, flames, you name it. It's going to be tough, and we know that. We have to go back to Santa Clara, look at film and correct some of the things that we need to correct from our last match.
This will be a physical battle, but Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is ready:
The key in this matchup will be which offensive unit can get its rushing attack going consistently first.
Seattle deserves immense credit for the success that running back Marshawn Lynch and dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson had on the ground in 2013, but San Francisco limited the team to just 86 yards in Week 14.
Led by Frank Gore and mobile QB Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers racked up 163 total yards rushing against the Seahawks' vaunted defense in their last meeting and will look to accomplish the same feat in the NFC Championship.
This will be a defensive battle, but the consistency from San Francisco’s run-heavy offensive game plan will lead the franchise to its second Super Bowl berth in a row.
Predicted Final Score: San Francisco 17, Seattle 13
*All stats via NFL.com.