NFL Playoffs Open Thread: 49ers-Panthers, Chargers-Broncos

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's two playoff games will leave us with the NFL's final four...and a potential all-NFC West conference championship.

Well, the 4th quarters of yesterday's two games weren't all that memorable, but they serve as a good reminder that you can't always jump back in the game late.

What the Chiefs let the Colts do was something the Patriots were well able to avoid. An umpteenth AFC Championship berth is the reward for being able to choke those kind of attempts out.

And so we go from the physicality of Seattle-New Orleans and the power of Indy-New England to two different kind of games today.

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers

These are the two hottest teams in the playoffs. San Fran is riding a 6-game win streak while Carolina finished 11-1 in their final 12 games. Momentummy.

Really though, this is a question of how good Ron Rivera's Panther defense is...and which QB, Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, can find that moment to take over what should be a low-scoring game.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

The Chargers lost four of five out of the bye week, including one to the Redskins...so Rams fans might have a minor axe to grind there. On the other hand, the Broncos lost to the Chargers when they met in early December. So who knows what's going to happen here.

We know Peyton should have a show. I guess the question is if San Diego QB Phillip Rivers can find the efficiency of his last showing against Denver and if Ryan Matthews can bring as much production to the game. Give that their first clash finished 28-20 and the second one 27-20, well, it should be close.

Hopefully, today supplies us the drama yesterday lacked.

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