The 2014-2015 NFL playoffs begin on January 3 with the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers and end on February 1 in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl XLIX. Also participating: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts. For the NFC: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, the defending champions.
NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
Where: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
When: Saturday, January 3, 4:20 PM Eastern Time
Who: The Arizona Cardinals are heading into the playoffs with terrible momentum and even worse, hardly anything to sell offensively as Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, whoever gets to play, is clearly not made to for this. The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, suddenly finding their defense and offense after a season of failures, winning four in a row to make it (three against NFC South teams, all against losing teams).
AFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
When: Saturday, January 3, 8:15 PM Eastern Time
Who: The Steelers are back in the postseason after missing out for two years, winning the division after beating the Bengals on the last day of the season. Solid defense and a great trio in Roethlisbeger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to lead the offense, although Bell might be injured. The Ravens? Joe Flacco hasn’t been exactly superstar-ish, but the defense and grinding out wins has carried them this far.
AFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
When: Sunday, January 4, 1:05 PM Eastern Time
Who: The Bengals, hoping to finally get out of the wild card game and that Andy Dalton stops imploding when it matters the most and the Colts with Andrew Luck, already one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but no running game and a receiving crew that can’t stop dropping passes.
NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Detroit Lions (11-5) at Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
When: Sunday, January 4, 4:40 PM Eastern Time
Who: The Cowboys are in the postseason for the first time since 2009 and a great run to finish the season which included road wins against all three NFC East rivals. The Lions had a chance to win the division but lost in Green Bay and might lose some key players to stupid suspensions.
Bye Teams: New England Patriots (hosting on January 10, 4:35 PM), Denver Broncos (January 11, 4:40 PM), Seattle Seahawks (January 10, 8:15 PM), Green Bay Packers (January 11, 1:05 PM).
Conference Championship Games: January 18. NFC at 3:00 PM, AFC at 6:30 PM.
Super Bowl: February 1, 6:30 PM, at Glendale Arizona.