On Sunday, the NFL will watch as four teams battle desperately to punch their ticket into their respective conference championship games.
With the NFL season coming down to a furious finish, only the best teams remain. Two of the four teams fighting on Sunday were preseason favorites to be here, expected to make a Super Bowl push. Two others were complete afterthoughts in September, with nobody but the most diehard fan expecting much.
Yet, here we sit, waiting to see what happens next.
NFC Divisional Game 2
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
When: 1 p.m. ET
San Francisco comes into this contest feeling very good about itself after beating the Green Bay Packers 23-20 on a last-second Phil Dawson field goal in brutal weather. The 49ers are only a win away from advancing to their third consecutive NFC Championship Game under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Carolina on the other hand is a shocking No. 2 seed after starting the season 1-3. At the time, many thought head coach Ron Rivera might be fired, but my how things have changed. There is no hotter team than the Panthers, winners in 11 of their final 12 games and holders of the NFC South crown.
AFC Divisional Game 2
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
When: 4:40 p.m. ET
There is no team under more pressure this weekend than the Denver Broncos, who come in looking for their first playoff win of the Peyton Manning era. Last season, the Broncos had an identical 13-3 record and were also the No. 1 seed before losing in the famous Rahim Moore game to the Baltimore Ravens.
Denver has been a juggernaut this season, only dropping one game at home. However, that loss came on a December night to these Chargers. San Diego dominated on the ground that night, churning out 177 yards on the ground compared to only 18 for the Broncos. The Chargers are winners of their last five.