Friday, September 19, 2014
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2014 NFL Playoff bracket and schedule: New England advances to AFC Championship

The New England Patriots confirmed one half of the AFC Championship on Saturday, and will wait to see if they have home-field advantage when the Broncos play the Chargers on Sunday.

As expected, the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday to advance to their third straight AFC Championship game. Bill Belichick continues his domination of the Colts at home during the playoffs, no matter who is taking the snaps for Indy. This is the third time since 2003 that the Patriots have eliminated the Colts at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will now have to wait and see if they'll be on the road against the Broncos next weekend or hosting the Chargers.

The Seahawks worked hard to earn home-field advantage for the playoffs, and they used it to their advantage on Saturday, defeating the Saints to advance to the NFC Championship game. Pete Carroll's team now has a week to heal and prepare before meeting the winner of Sunday's game between the 49ers and the Panthers. The winner of that game will have the somewhat unenviable task of having to find a way to win in CenturyLink Field.

Denver hosts San Diego on Sunday to determine the second participant in the this season's AFC Championship. The Broncos are the heavy favorites, despite the Chargers win against the Broncos in Week 15. If things go as expected, Peyton Manning and the Broncos will be preparing to face the Patriots at home next Sunday. Should Phillip Rivers and the Chargers defeat the Broncos for the second straight game, they'll travel to New England. Kickoff is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. ET.

On the NFC side of the bracket, the Seahawks will await their opponent for Sunday's NFC Championship game. The Panthers will be looking to advance to the NFC Championship for the fourth time in franchise history, while the 49ers are on a mission to return to the Super Bowl for the second straight season. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Click to enlarge and for SB Nation's complete postseason coverage.

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This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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