NFL Playoff Schedule 2013: When and Where to Tune in on Championship Sunday

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 13:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Houston Texans during the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After two rounds and eight playoff games—some of them more dramatic than others—only four teams are left standing in the pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy.

In the AFC, the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens will renew their postseason rivalry in Foxboro, playing for the conference crown for the second straight year.

In the NFC, the two top seeds, the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, will duel down South, with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl for the first time in the 21st century.

With the matchups set and the schedule released, all that's left to do is watch and enjoy.


Will Colin Kaepernick Run Wild Again?

Colin Kaepernick had a record-setting performance in his first career playoff game last weekend against the Green Bay Packers, and the question now is whether he can do it again.

The second-year signal-caller rushed for a quarterback record of 181 yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Round. He also threw for 263 yards and two scores, proving to be a more explosive option than Alex Smith under center.

Unfortunately for Jim Harbaugh and his young quarterback, if the Niners don't win this weekend, they'll be right back where they were a year ago.

For the Falcons, Sunday's game will be much less pressurized than last weekend's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Matt Ryan and Mike Smith ended the franchise's playoff drought with a win over Seattle and silenced the critics who wondered if they would ever get it done in the postseason.

But instead of the Falcons, the Niners (-3.5) will be the favorite on the road, where they will have their work cut out for them on Sunday afternoon, playing inside a hostile environment in the Georgia Dome.


Can Ray Lewis Lift the Ravens into the Super Bowl?

The Baltimore Ravens are 2-0 since legendary middle linebacker Ray Lewis announced that he will retire after the Ravens' season ends, whenever that happens to be. 

Clearly, the announcement has provided the team with some extra inspiration and the motivation to win a championship before No. 52 rides off into the sunset.

But in addition to some stellar play from his teammates, Lewis has been playing at an extremely high level. The veteran currently leads all postseason defenders in tackles with 30 through two games.

Lewis will need to record another 15 or so tackles on Sunday, though, if Baltimore is to win a second straight playoff road game and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2000.

Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are as lethal as they come this time of year. As New England demonstrated in last week's win over the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round, its offense is capable of putting up points in bunches. 

The oddsmakers like New England (-9.5) at home, but Baltimore has always played its best football as the underdog.


2013 NFL Playoff Schedule 

Game Date Start Time (ET) Channel
NFC Championship Game (49ers vs. Falcons) Sun, Jan. 20 3 p.m. FOX
AFC Championship Game (Ravens vs. Patriots) Sun, Jan. 20 6:30 p.m. CBS


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