And then there were four.
Following two eventful rounds of playoffs, only four teams remain alive in the chase for the Lombardi Trophy. The Divisional round went mostly as expected, with all four betting favorites advancing. As a result, fans get a pair of excellent championship matchups, featuring arguably the two best teams in each conference.
The AFC Championship matchup features a pair of familiar foes, with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squaring off against each other for the 15th time in their respective careers. While Manning and the Denver Broncos have the benefit of playing at home, Brady and the New England Patriots beat Denver earlier this season. New England erased a 24-point halftime deficit in that game to come away with the win. SB Nation's NFL experts were split on whether the Patriots will be able to make it 2-for-2. Ryan Van Bibber, Jason Chilton and Stephen White picked the Patriots to pull off the road upset. Joel Thorman, David Fucillo and Matt Ufford have the Broncos advancing to the Super Bowl.
In the NFC, division rivals Seattle and San Francisco will meet for a third time this season. The majority of SB Nation's experts picked Seattle, but it wasn't unanimous. Four of the six predicted the Seahawks to hold court at home and advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. White and Fucillo went the opposite direction, predicting the 49ers to become just the second road team in 18 games to win in Seattle. The Seahawks and 49ers split their regular season matchups. Seattle won 29-3 at home and lost 19-17 in San Francisco.
Here's a closer look at our expert picks for the championship round:
|Game||Ryan Van Bibber||Joel Thorman||Jason Chilton||Stephen White||David Fucillo||Matt Ufford|
|49ers at Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks||49ers||49ers||Seahawks|
|Patriots at Broncos||Patriots||Broncos||Patriots||Patriots||Broncos||Broncos|
Our panel consists of: David Fucillo, SB Nation's fantasy guru; Stephen White, retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation NFL contributor; Jason Chilton, SB Nation NFL contributor; Joel Thorman, manager of SB Nation NFL blogs; Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation's NFL editor; and Matt Ufford, editorial producer, SB Nation studios.