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Denver Broncos Seattle Seahawks: 2014 NFL Championship Weekend Review

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will battle in Super Bowl XLVIII, Sunday, February 3 in MetLife Stadium, New York, New York. The game will be covered by Fox Sports with kickoff at approximately 6:30pm ET.

The Broncos (AFC) and Seahawks (NFC) both enter the game as the number one seed from the respective American Football Conference and National Football Conferences, and both come into the game as the best at what they do: the Broncos are the top scoring offence in the NFL, while the Seahawks are the league’s top defence. Come Super Bowl Sunday, one of those will have to give in.

So how did the teams get this far. Here is a quick review:

The Denver Broncos finished first in the AFC West with a 13-3 record, edging out the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) for the division crown. The Broncos then faced the San Diego Chargers (9-7) in the Divisional Playoff round, winning that game by 24-17 score.

In the AFC Championship game, the Broncos met their old nemesis in the New England Patriots, who were led by Tom Brady. The Broncos jumped out to a quick 13-3 lead at the half, then extended that to 20-3 heading into the final 15 minute segment, before closing out the 26-16 win. Denver was now heading to the franchises’ 6th Super Bowl, having won twice in back to back wins in 1997 and 1998, led by QB John Elway, who is now the club’s President.

The Seattle Seahawks also finished first in the NFC West with a 13-3 record, squeezing by the defending NFC Champs San Francisco 49ers (12-4) for the divisional crown. In the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Hawks met up with the New Orleans Saints, who were led by quarterback Drew Brees, prevailing 23-15.

In the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks met up with divisional rival 49ers, who jumped out to a 10-0 first half lead. The Hawks then cut into the lead for a 10-3 halftime deficit. Marshawn Lynch then rumbled for a 40-yard touchdown run to knot the game at 10-10 midway through the 3rd quarter. After some back and forth scoring, the Hawks then led 23-17 as the Niners marched in the final minute for the winning score. But an interception in the endzone ended San Fran’s thoughts of a comeback win, and Seattle was on its way to the team’s second-ever Super Bowl. The last time they were in the big game was in 2006 in Detroit, dropping a 21-10 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2013 NFL Playoffs – Divisional Round Matchups

The NFL playoffs will keep rolling along this weekend as the Divisional Round is set to get underway. Both of the top two seeds in each conference will play their first playoff game of the year this weekend and should be well rested after having a bye last weekend. The San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons were the two biggest beneficiaries of the bye week as the defensive units for both teams needed the time off to let some injuries heal.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – 4:30 PM ET Saturday, January 12th

The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Denver to face the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon. These two teams met in week 15 of the regular season with the Denver Broncos thoroughly defeating the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore by a final score of 34-17. In that game, Peyton Manning appeared to be in full control of the Denver offense as he was directing players all over the field en route to a 31-3 third quarter lead.

The offense for the Baltimore Ravens seemingly figured some things out in the second half of last weekend’s playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. All in all, the Ravens racked up 441 yards of total offense. Without two Ray Rice fumbles, the final score could have been a lot more lopsided than the 24-9 final.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – 8:00 PM ET Saturday, January 12th

The Green Bay Packers will travel west to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night in what is also a rematch from the regular season. Way back in week one, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers by a final score of 30-22. Alex Smith was still the quarterback for the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers were still trying to sort out their offensive line issues. Since that game, both teams have taken on a new identity with Green Bay getting back to having a potent passing attack while Colin Kaepernick has taken over the quarterback position for the 49ers and provided a more explosive offensive punch.

In their victory over the Minnesota Vikings in round one of the playoffs, the Green Bay Packers spread the ball around to ten different receivers. With more players getting healthy for the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have several excellent targets down field to get the ball to and should have another fine passing day so long as he has time in the pocket.

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 PM ET Sunday, January 13th

The Seattle Seahawks will look to upset the top seed Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon after defeating Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins on the road in the first round of the playoffs. Seattle will once again turn to their excellent defense in this game as they look to stop Matt Ryan and the Atlanta passing attack. Wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White will need to have a big game if the Falcons are going to move on to the NFC championship game as the Falcons have struggled to run the ball all season long.

If the Seattle Seahawks are able to move the ball effectively and efficiently on the ground against the Atlanta Falcons like they did against the Washington Redskins, it could be a long day for Matt Ryan and company as the Falcons will not have many opportunities to put points on the board.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots – 4:30 PM ET Sunday, January 13th

In another rematch from the regular season, the Houston Texans will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. When these two teams met earlier in the year, the New England Patriots easily defeated the Houston Texans by a final score of 42-14. Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 21-0 halftime lead and they never looked back after that as he finished the game with 296 yards passing and four touchdowns.

In their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in round of the AFC playoffs, the Houston Texans play a much more inspired game on defense. J.J. Watt was constantly getting pressure on Cincinnati’s quarterback Andy Dalton. In order for the Texans to prevail on Sunday against the Patriots, Watt will need to do much of the same while Arian Foster will need to shoulder more of the offensive load.

2012-2013 NFL Potential Playoff Analysis

With five weeks to go in the 2012 NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. A handful of teams are still alive in the wild card races in both the NFC and AFC, which should make for an exciting finish to the NFL season.

If the season ended today, the current playoff seeding in the NFC would be the following:

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Chicago Bears
4. New York Giants
5. Green Bay Packers
6. Seattle Seahawks

The Falcons and 49ers would receive first round byes with the Bears facing the Seahawks and the Giants facing the Packers in round one. Both of those games would be rematches from the regular season as the Green Bay Packers just lost to the New York Giants on November 25th and the Bears will host the Seahawks on December 2nd.

Both Tampa Bay and Minnesota are 6-5 along with the Seahawks, but Seattle gets the last wild card spot because of a tie breaker based on best win percentage in conference games over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a head to head tie break over the Minnesota Vikings.

The Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are all 5-6 and not out of the playoff picture just yet, but time is certainly not on their side as each of those teams needs to start winning games on a consistent basis.

The AFC playoff picture is a little clearer than the NFC at this point. The current division leaders and playoff seedings if the season ended today are the following:

1. Houston Texans
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. New England Patriots
4. Denver Broncos
5. Indianapolis Colts
6. Pittsburgh Steelers

The first round playoff matchups would see the Patriots play the Steelers and Peyton Manning would face his old team as the Broncos would play the Colts. Indianapolis has the inside track on one of the two wild card spots with their 7-4 record. The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need Ben Roethlisberger to return to the lineup as they are just 6-5 and tied with the Cincinnati Bengals in the standings, but hold the tie break advantage over the Bengals based on head-to-head win percentage.

The Miami Dolphins are right behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals with a 5-6 record, and still in the hunt for the last wild card spot. The San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are not completely eliminated from the final wild card position at 4-7, but one of these teams would more than likely have to run the table to grab the sixth and final playoff spot.