The final four Frank Gore's "tournament" are set. The NFL playoff schedule for next weekend will feature the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots at 12:00 p.m. PT on CBS, and then the Seattle Seahawks hosting the San Francisco 49ers at 3:30 p.m. PT on FOX.
I don't recall the Patriots odds at the start of the year, but I'm pretty sure this is about as ideal a pair of conference championship games as the NFL could possibly hope for. In the NFC, you get arguably the best rivalry in the NFL today. Yes, other teams have great rivalries, and have greater history of rivalry, but for right here, right now, the 49ers and Seahawks have as good a rivalry as there is. Getting a crack at each other in the NFC Championship Game takes this to a whole new level.
In the AFC, you get the top two seeds advancing, but more importantly, you get Brady-Manning dynamic. Football is a team game, but it'd be foolish to think these two don't bring one heck of a storyline. They have a long history from Manning's days in Indianapolis, and now they are both in the twilight of their careers.
And while we clearly want the 49ers in the Super Bowl, the NFL gets a heavyweight matchup at Super Bowl XLVIII. The story lines will flow freely. But for now, we get a week of chatter about both these games.