NFL playoff schedule: Seahawks advance to NFC Championship Game, face winner of 49ers-Panthers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks defeated the Saints Saturday afternoon, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. They will host the winner of the 49ers-Panthers matchup on Sunday. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

The Seattle Seahawks held off the New Orleans Saints Saturday evening, defeating them 23-15 and advancing to the 2014 NFC Championship Game. They will host the winner of Sunday's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers.

The Seahawks jumped on top early as the Saints could not get things going on offense until well into the second half. Seattle scored on four of their first five possessions, although they benefited from some poor play by the Saints. New Orleans had a missed field goal, a turnover, and a flustered Drew Brees. The Seahawks took a 16-0 lead into the second half, and it seemed like the game was just about finished.

The Saints finally figured some things out, and they managed to cut the lead to 16-8 with a touchdown a two-point conversion. They forced a stop of the Seahawks, and set themselves up inside the Seattle 30 after a big 52-yard catch and run. However, a delay of game backed them up to a 1st and 15, and they could get nothing figured out on the next three plays. The Saints attempted a 48-yard field goal in horrific conditions, and as expected, it was no good.

The Seahawks added a touchdown for good measure, which proved slightly important. The Saints scored a touchdown with 26 seconds left, and then managed to recover the onside kick. They had a shot at a hail mary to end the game, but came up short. Seattle won by a final score of 23-15.

Now it's time for the 49ers to take care of business. They face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in a rematch of a physical Week 10 contest. The Panthers won that one as the 49ers offense was entirely anemic. The 49ers are healthier now, but face a Panthers team that is playing some strong football. It should be a close one, and it should be another physical one.

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