NFL playoff bracket 2015: Full postseason schedule announced as regular season ends

The regular season is over and now we look to the wild card round of action in the 2015 NFL playoffs.

The 2014 NFL regular season is officially a thing of the past and the playoffs are now just days away. There were fewer spots than usual up for grabs in Week 17, but almost all of the seeding spots were still fluid. Those are all locked up now, with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers set to enjoy a nice week off while the rest of the field engages in the wild card round of the playoffs.

The league announced the full schedule for the wild card and divisional rounds, while the conference championship schedule has been known for some time. Super Bowl XLIX is also obviously already scheduled. The Super Bowl champion will be crowned on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

Even without many playoff spots up for grabs, Week 17 provided a thrilling end to the regular season. The Carolina Panthers managed to beat the Atlanta Falcons to take the NFC South while the Baltimore Ravens beat out the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans for the final wild card spot in the AFC. The other spots were all already spoken for coming into Week 17, though the seeding had to be determined.

Here’s a look at the seeding and matchups throughout the entire postseason, with a full bracket for your perusal here:

Wild Card Playoffs

AFC Game 1

(3) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. (6) Baltimore Ravens
Date: Jan. 3
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m.
TV: NBC

Three AFC North teams will be represented in the playoffs and all three are in action in the wild card round. The Steelers won the division in Week 17 and will host the Ravens, who secured the last wild card spot with a little help from the Kansas City Chiefs’ win against San Diego. The Steelers and Ravens split their season series, each winning their home game.

AFC Game 2

(4) Indianapolis Colts vs. (5) Cincinnati Bengals
Date: Jan. 4
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m.
TV: CBS

The Bengals led the AFC North for much of the season, but came up short in Week 17 against the Steelers and will now have to go on the road as a wild card team. They’ll travel to take on the Colts, winners of the AFC South. Indianapolis already beat Cincinnati at home once this season.

NFC Game 1

(4) Carolina Panthers vs. (5) Arizona Cardinals
Date: Jan. 3
Kickoff: 4:20 p.m.
TV: ESPN

The Cardinals and Panthers are possibly the two most up-and-down teams to make the playoffs. Arizona sat atop the NFC West and the NFC for much of the season. The Cardinals, however, lost four of their final six games to fall out of the division lead. Quarterback injuries didn’t help matters, and Ryan Lindley may be under center in Carolina. The Panthers struggled during the middle of the season, including a winless stretch of seven games. Carolina, however, surged at the end of the year with four straight wins to finish 7-8-1 and claim the NFC South. Arizona has the better record and was the better team for much of the season, but the Panthers are playing better football heading into the postseason.

NFC Game 2

(3) Dallas Cowboys vs. (6) Detroit Lions
Date: Jan. 4
Kickoff: 4:40 p.m.
TV: FOX

It’s a tough situation for the Lions. They were leading the NFC North going into Week 17, but fell to the Packers and now have the No. 6 seed, which means they travel to Dallas and, if they make it past them, travel to Seattle in the divisional round. Dallas locked up the NFC East in Week 16 and are definitely one of the season’s biggest surprises. The Cowboys are playing very good football and tied for the best record in the NFC, only to drop to the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers.Dallas hasn’t, however, been great at home going just 4-4 at AT&T Stadium.

Divisional Playoffs

NFC Game 3

(1) Seattle Seahawks vs. Lowest Seed
Date: Jan. 10
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m.
TV: FOX

The Seahawks may have struggled a bit to start the season — and trailed the Cardinals in the division for much of it — but they won when they needed to and secured the top seed in a tough conference. Seattle now has a week of rest before hosting whatever team is unfortunate enough to play a road playoff game in Seattle. If the Lions win, they will head to Seattle. If Dallas wins, the Seahawks will face the winner between Carolina and Arizona.

NFC Game 4

(2) Green Bay Packers vs. Highest Seed
Date: Jan. 11
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m.
TV: FOX

Lambeau Field is cold, unforgiving and is usually a tough place to play. The Packers went 8-0 there this season and will take on the highest remaining seed in the NFC after the wild card games. This game can’t be against the Lions, who Green Bay went 1-1 against this season, as Detroit is the No. 6 seed. If Dallas holds court at home, the Cowboys would travel to Green Bay.

AFC Game 3

(1) New England Patriots vs. Lowest Seed
Date: Jan. 10
Kickoff: 4:35 p.m.
TV: NBC

New England went 7-1 at home this season and put itself in a great position by snaring the No. 1 seed. After resting for a week, they’ll play the lowest remaining seed, having already beat the Colts and Bengals this season. Baltimore could make the trip to New England if it beats the Steelers, otherwise the Patriots will have a rematch against either Indianapolis or Cincinnati. The Patriots handled both teams with ease winning 43-17 against the Bengals and 42-20 against Indianapolis.

AFC Game 4

(2) Denver Broncos vs. Highest Seed
Date: Jan. 11
Kickoff: 4:40 p.m.
TV: CBS

The Broncos will take on the highest remaining seed from the AFC wild card games, and they’ll do it at home. Denver was a perfect 8-0 at home this season, with all four losses coming on the road. If that team happens to be the Bengals, it’s worth noting that Denver lost to them in Week 16.

Conference Championships

AFC: Divisional Winner 1 vs. Divisional Winner 2
Date: Jan. 18
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
TV: CBS

Obviously, yet another matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning could be destined to fill this spot, and that would leave few unsatisfied when it comes to good matchups. That series may be slanted in favor of Brady, but they’re definitely the two best teams in the AFC.

NFC: Divisional Winner 1 vs. Divisional Winner 2
Date: Jan. 18
Kickoff: 3 p.m.
TV: FOX

Every team involved will be hoping the Seahawks don’t make it out of the divisional round, as a conference championship game in Seattle’s stadium is about the hardest thing any team can hope to overcome this season. Seattle has only hosted two championship games, but both times the Seahawks moved on to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XLIX

AFC Championship Winner vs. NFC Championship Winner
Date: Feb. 1
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
TV: NBC

Super Bowl 49 will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Arizona Cardinals. They’re in the playoffs and certainly have a chance at playing in this game, though it will be a tough road given the field in the NFC and Arizona’s path at the No. 5 seed. Whatever the case, broadcast duties for the game are held by NBC this year.

December 29, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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