NFL Playoff Schedule 2016: Live Stream Guide, Expert Picks and TV Info

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2016

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos after the Broncos defeated the Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In less than 24 hours, the matchup will be set for Super Bowl 50. 

It's been mostly chalk on the playoff bracket so far, with all four No. 1 and No. 2 seeds advancing to the conference championship round. 

Heading into Sunday's action, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers hold a slight edge, according to Odds Shark, with each favored to win by three points.

Here's all the info you'll need to watch the games, followed by a breakdown of who the experts are picking to advance.


Championship Game TV Info
Date/TimeMatchupTVLive Stream
Sun. 3:05 p.m. ETPatriots at
Sun. 6:40 p.m. ETCardinals at PanthersFoxFox Sports Go

Expert Picks

ESPN released its NFL analysts' selections, giving a clear indication that the Patriots and Panthers are the heavy favorites. Of the 13 analysts polled, only two picked the Denver Broncos to advance (one of them was former Bronco Tom Jackson), and only three selected the Arizona Cardinals. 

Perhaps the man to listen to is ESPN's Merril Hoge, who enters this weekend with a perfect 8-0 mark in the playoffs. Hoge is picking the Patriots and Panthers to advance. 

It's rare to see such overwhelming support for a road team in the playoffs. Making it even more odd is the fact that the Patriots were just 5-3 on the road this season, including a loss in Denver. 

According to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, the Broncos are just the eighth team to be a home underdog in the championship round, and only two of the previous seven have advanced to the Super Bowl. 

Brinson predicts that "New England wins but the Broncos can cover and possibly pull off the upset."

The strong support for Carolina is more understandable, as the team is a perfect 9-0 at home this season (including the playoffs). Not only are the Panthers perfect at home, but they're winning convincingly. Dating back to Week 9, they are 5-0 at home, with each win coming by at least seven points. 

In contrast to ESPN's panel of voters, Bleacher Report's analysts are supporting the Cardinals by a vote of 6-2. 

As B/R's Gary Davenport points out, Arizona's advantage may be its depth at receiver. Davenport notes that Panthers cornerback "Josh Norman has enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, but he can't cover Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown all at once. And outside of Norman, the Carolina secondary is pretty beat up at the moment."

It's also worth mentioning that the Panthers' home-field advantage is unlikely to faze Cardinals veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, who is 13-4 in his career as the Cardinals starter on the road and has won 11 of his last 12 road starts. 

Ultimately, these are two close matchups that will, hopefully for our sake as fans, go down to the wire. With only three games remaining in the NFL season, let's hope they're classics.