Archives for category: 2016 NFL Season

It’s the second largest day that has food involved next to Thanksgiving. While it’s not a holiday, many have pressed Congress to make it a National holiday. Once an event that took place in the early afternoon after church, it’s now a prime-time event and many watch the commericals but for the most part, there’s a sporting event involved.

For the 51st time since its birth, Super Bowl Sunday will make an appearance, like the swallows at San Juan Capistrano. It signals the end of the football season. The winners get to take home a trophy that looks a lot like a football. The loser will be second guessed right up to kickoff the next season.

Friends, co-workers and families will gather for the big game. Church youth groups will have their get together, while most churches or mosques will move up their services so their parishoners can go home and watch the game. New televsions will be purchased on the day of or before kickoff and most will watch their team either win it all or lose.

A few things you need to know about the Super Bowl.

1. This year’s contest is Super Bowl LI (51 for those that are not familiar with Roman numerals).

2. It is one of the most-watched events in the history of televison or sports for that matter (Last year’s Super Bowl 50 contest between Denver and Carolina had 167,000,000 viewers either watching the game live on CBS or online either in the United States or outside the borders. The game had a 72 share, according to Nielsen, which meant that 72 percent of all televisions in the United States were tuned to the Super Bowl and the game had a 46.6 rating).

3. To date, through last year’s Super Bowl 50 contest in Santa Clara, 3,876,314 have attended Super Bowl games. The largest crowd was 103,985 at Super Bowl XIV, which was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. That’s an average of 77,526. The smallest crowd? The first Super Bowl, which took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The crowd that day? 61,946. The cost of the cheapest ticket in the first Super Bowl? $5. Today, expect to spend about $3 to 4 thousand for a good seat with the cheap ones coming in at about $2,500.

4. There has never been a shutout in the history of the Super Bowl and while there have been some blowouts, for the most part, every team that has played in a Super Bowl on the winnning and losing side have scored points. There has never been a game go into overtime, either.

5. Remember that food thing we talked about before? There’s going to be a lot of it, which means that there could very well be leftovers. Remember your manners and watch out for your cousin Connie. She’s been known to wipe out a buffet and wiped out your Super Bowl party last year and did not gain a pound. Connie by herself could keep the local grocery store in business for the next three years. Be sure your guests have fun, they’re happy and they don’t drink and drive.

6. There are a lot of prop bets, which don’t always involve the game itself. Bets will be placed on the ammount of time it takes to sing the National Anthem, who scores first, what the halftime performer will be wearing (or not wearing). This year’s National Anthem singer, by the way, is Luke Bryant and Lady Gaga has the Halftime duties, in case you’re wondering.

7. There will be a lot of TVs sold during Super Bowl week. That’s a lot of cable and dish sales going on as well. Just make sure your dish/cable bill and the power bill’s paid.

8. The Super Bowl halftime show is 20 minutes long, instead of the usual 15. Be patient. There’s going to be a lot of moving parts involved, such as getting the players into the locker room, getting the performers set and ready to go and then taking everything down.

9. As a courtesy to their football neighbors, the NBA and NHL have a limited schedule of games and the last ones start at 1 p.m. Eastern, giving their fans a chance to watch the Super Bowl.

10. Lastly, those commercials. They’re not cheap. A 30-second ad will run you about $5.5 million or $183,333.00 a second. That means that you have about five seconds or so to decide if you like the ad or change the channel.

32 teams started the season with one goal in mind. There are four teams that have never gone to the big game in the Super Bowl era (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Detroit and Houston, either as the Oilers or the Texans). At the end of tonight’s contest in Houston, one team will be holding the Lombardi Trophy, while the other 31 will say “that should have been ours.”

Is the Super Bowl a BIG DEAL?

It’s a HUGE deal.

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ATLANTA (11-5, NFC South champion, 2nd seed) vs. New England (14-2, AFC East Champion, 1st seed). Ryan vs. Brady. Peach pie vs. Clam chowder. New England vs. Atlanta. The two best teams in the National Football League meet to determine who takes home the Lombardi Trophy. The home of the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, is the site of the last game of the 2016 campaign. Super Bowl LI takes the stage as the Lone Star State hosts the big game for the third time.

Both teams took big wins in their respective championship games in front of their home crowds. Atlanta took Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to task January 22nd in the final game at the Georgia Dome, coming away with an impressive 44-21 win over the Packers to take the Halas Trophy and the NFC Championship. Atlanta led from start to finish in the Big Peach, leading 24-0 at the half and increased that lead to 31-0 with 13:51 left in the third before the Packers ended Atlanta’s hopes of a shutout when WR Davante Adams caught a 2-yard TD pass from Rodgers (287 yards, three TDs, interception) with 9:19 left in the period. Green Bay, who had a chance to score in the first half, missed a 41-yard field goal try by Mason Crosby and was marching down the field before Aaron Ripkowski fumbled near the goal line and Atlanta recovered, was held to 99 yards rushing, while the Falcons tallied 101 yards and a pair of rushing TDs from Tevin Coleman and Ryan. Ryan, who threw for 392 yards and four TDs without an interception, connected with Julio Jones on a pair of TD passes, the longest going for 73 yards and WRs Mohamed Sanu and RB DeVanta Freeman. Atlanta ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:39, while going 10 of 13 on third down in the win. Green Bay, who turned the ball over twice, went 4 of 10 on third down tries (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the pigskin for 26:21.

New England took the AFC title and the Lamar Hunt Trophy in Foxboro after their 36-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger at Gillette Stadium. Pittsburgh made it a close contest in the first 30 minutes of action and trailed 17-9 at the half before New England and Brady pulled away to take control of things in the second half. As far as the rushing game went in the Sunday evening contest, neither club breached the 100-yard barrier and barely touched the 50 yard mark in the contest (New England outrushed Pittsburgh 57-54), while Brady threw for 384 yards and three TDs. Meanwhile, for his efforts, Roethlisberger threw for 314 yards and a TD but was picked off once. In forcing a pair of turnovers for their win, the Pats were 11 of 17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:26, while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 28:34, going 9 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the series 7-6 in regular season play and has won the last four contests, including taking a 30-23 win in the Big Peach in 2013. However, the Falcons have outscored New England 300-249. Atlanta’s last win over New England came in 1998 in Foxboro, where they left Gillette Stadium with a 41-10 win in hand. Atlanta is 0-1 in their only Super Bowl, while the Pats are 4-4 in eight trips to the big game.

Fpr one team, they’ll have a parade and a Lombardi Trophy to keep as well as bragging rights for the season. For the other, they’ll be talked about and second-guessed for years and years. Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. The last football game of the 2016 campaign. After this one’s over, there’s no more football until the pre-season, which means that most of America will be forced to watch those Gosh-awful Lifetime movies on Sundays until Baseball season. There have been 51 of these games and this contest is the star of the show in the sports world. The end of the 2016 NFL season will see a new champion.

It’s also the last chance for “THE DRILL.” It’s kinda sad but even Connie needs some time off (she can still fit into that prom dress she had in high school). (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

It’s the FINAL game of the 2016 campaign. When this one’s over, the winners get the Lombardi Trophy and each player gets a $107,000 check (Which comes out to $26,750 a quarter or $1,733.33 a minute). The loser? They don’t come away completely empty handed. Granted, the check isn’t as big as the winner’s. Each player on the losing team gets a whopping $53,000 or $13,250 a quarter or $883.33 a minute.

The last game of the 2016 campaign gets underway in Houston at NRG Stadium, which will make it the third time that Texas’ largest city has hosted the big game.

Two teams. One game. It all comes down to this.

New England has 9 Super Bowl berths, most in NFL history. Have won 8 consecutive division titles, longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, have won 4 Super Bowl titles, most in NFL. Have 31-19 (.620) all-time postseason record, 2nd highest winning pct. in playoff history. Head coach Bill Belichick has 25 career postseason wins, most all-time and has won 4 Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), tied with Chuck Noll for most in NFL history. As far as their resepctive divisons go, both clubs won their divisions with one loss under their belts (Atlanta lost to Tampa Bay at home in week one, while the Pats were shut out by Buffalo in Foxboro in week four).

Atlanta is making their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Atlanta won the NFC South title and advanced to postseason for 1st time since 2012. Ranked 1st in NFL in total points (540) and 2nd in total offense (415.8 yards per game). Head coach Dan Quinn is making 3rd Super Bowl appearance in past 4 seasons and Was defensive coordinator for Seattle in Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX.

“It’s an honor to get to go and play in this game,” says Patriots wide receiver Julian Edleman, who is the franchise postseason leader in both catches (84) and receiving yards (937). “This is what you fight for. This is what you train for. It’s to get an opportunity to play in this game,” he told the Boston Globe and the Christian Scientist Monitor.

“This is a really special team,” says Falcons fullback Patrick Di Marco told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have so many playmakers on offense, defense and special teams. This is a special time for this organization. I am super proud and super excited we are going to be playing in Houston. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl – not just get there – and we still have a game ahead of us. We still have one more game to win.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won four Super Bowls together, tied with Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw for the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

“I’m proud of this team,” says Belichick. “They all deserve this. It’s a good, hard-working group.”

Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Noll for the most Super Bowl victories by a head coach with four. Brady, who is making his NFL-record seventh career Super Bowl start, is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bradshaw and JOE MONTANA for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback with four.

“You never know if you’ll get these opportunities in life and fortunately this team has got the opportunity,” says Brady about advancing to the Super Bowl. “Now we’ve got to do something and go try and take advantage of it.”

Brady and Montana are the only players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times. Brady, who was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX, can become the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors four times.

Brady enters Super Bowl LI already holding numerous Super Bowl passing records, including attempts (247), completions (164), yards (1,605) and touchdown passes (13).

“He’s the best quarterback to ever play the game,” says Patriots running back Le Garrette Blount about Brady. “He’s obviously, in my opinion, the best ever.”

The Patriots have won nine consecutive games and advanced to the Super Bowl with a 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. In that contest, Brady passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to wide receiver Chris Hogan. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for a franchise postseason-record 180 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just happy to take advantage of this opportunity and be a part of this team,” says Hogan. “This whole team has worked so hard starting in April in OTAs. We’ve grinded through this entire year. This is what we worked for and this is what we wanted to get to.”

Patriots running back Blount, who led the NFL with a club-record 18 rushing touchdowns, added a rushing TD against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Including the postseason, Blount’s 19 rushing touchdowns are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (1996) for the most by a Patriots player in a single season.

The Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1998 season) with a 44-21 win over Green Bay in the final game at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, which led the NFL with 540 points scored, has won six consecutive games and is averaging 39.0 points per game over that span. The Falcons are the first team ever to advance to the Super Bowl by scoring at least 30 points in each of the club’s previous six games.

“I’m happy for everybody in our organization,” says Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point but the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. It’s really difficult to get to this point, and we will enjoy the process leading into it but our ultimate goal is still in front of us.”

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who is in his second year with the team, will be making his third Super Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowls XLVIII (2013 season) and XLIX (2014).

“I am excited for the opportunity. But more importantly, I’m excited for these players,” says Quinn. “It’ll be a great challenge.”

Atlanta quarterback Ryan, who led the league with a franchise-record 117.1 passer rating, has continued his stellar play in the postseason with a 132.6 passer rating. Over the team’s six-game winning streak, Ryan has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating.

“MVP,” says Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones when asked how to describe Ryan. “He’s a great player. He’s a great leader on this team and he’s my brother.”

Ryan has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games, the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. In this year’s playoffs, Ryan has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The Falcons have spread the ball out as Ryan threw a touchdown pass to 13 different players in the regular season, the most ever in a season in league history. Among his favorite targets is Jones, who led the NFL averaging 100.6 receiving yards per game this season (1,409 yards in 14 games).

“He’s a beast,” says Ryan about Jones. “He’s an absolute stud. I’ve been so lucky to play with him as long as I have.”

Jones had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. It marked his second career postseason game with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns and he is the only player in league history to accomplish that feat in multiple playoff games. In five career postseason games, Jones has 552 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. His average of 110.4 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL postseason history (minimum five games).

Defensively, the Falcons are powered by Vic Beasley, Jr., who led the NFL in sacks (15.5), and a quartet of rookies – safety Keanu Neal, cornerback Brian Poole and linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. All four rookies started in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta can become the first team ever to start four rookies on defense in the Super Bowl. Jones (106) and Neal (105) led all NFL rookies in tackles this season.

“Every day, we are just trying to get one percent better for the guy next to us,” says Poole. “Every play, we are going to give it all we’ve got and not let our teammates down. We’re going out there trying to play ball and let people know that what we’ve got is serious.”

Beasley, who is in his second year, had a career-high 15.5 sacks and is the first Falcons player to lead the league in sacks. During the team’s current six-game winning streak, Atlanta has allowed just 19.3 points per game (27.6 points per game in the team’s first 12 games).

“We feel like we have the potential to be a great defense,” Beasley told WSB-TV. “Early in the season, we weren’t playing as well but we have come a long way and now we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

New England’s favored by 3 points in the last game of the 2016 National Football League season and the over/under is 59. Both numbers make a lot of sense. There’s a lot at stake and not just for those that have ads in this year’s contest. There’s a lot at stake for the teams that are involved. The winners will be looked at and heralded for eternity, while the losers will be second-guessed for the entire off season. The winner gets to pick last in the upcoming draft, the loser will pick 31st. Rise up, Atlanta! You’re picking last. Falcons cover the 3 and pull off the upset.

Records vs. Common Opponents

New England: 4-1 (Arizona. 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles Rams 1-0; Seattle. 0-1; San Francisco 1-0)

Atlanta: 5-1 (Arizona 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles 1-0; Seattle 1-1; San Francisco 1-0)(Atlanta’s win over Seattle came in the Divisional Round)

Playoff Records – New England: 31-19; Atlanta: 9-12

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Tony Boselli, James Lofton (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New England), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (New England), 82 (Atlanta)

Referee: Carl Chefferss

Injury Report

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries.

New England – New England reported no injuries.

Weather Report: Game indoors

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

A sampling of NFL records set and milestones reached in 2016 (courtesy the National Football League and NFL Communications):

THE TEAMS

ARIZONA CARDINALS: Led the NFC in total defense (305.2 yards per game) and sacks (48).

QB Carson Palmer passed for 4,233 yards, his franchise-best third season with 3,500+ pass yards.

RB David Johnson set single-season franchise records in scrimmage yards (2,118), rushing touchdowns (16) and total touchdowns (20).

ATLANTA FALCONS: Won the NFC South division title for the first time since 2012. Ranked first in the NFL in total points (540) and second in total offense (415.8 yards per game).

QB Matt Ryan set a franchise record and ranked second in the NFL with 4,944 passing yards. Ryan has six seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards, the most seasons in franchise history. He also owns the top six passing yardage seasons in team history.

WR Julio Jones ranked second in the NFL with 1,409 receiving yards, his fourth season with at least 1,000 receiving yards, tied for the second most in franchise history.

In Week 4, became the first team in NFL history to have a 500-yard passer (Ryan, 503) and a 300-yard receiver (Jones, 300) in the same game. Jones’ 300 receiving yards and Ryan’s 503 passing yards both set franchise single-game records.

BALTIMORE RAVENS: QB Joe Flacco passed for 4,317 yards, a career-high and single-season franchise record. Flacco recorded his seventh career season with 3,000+ passing yards, the most in franchise history.

TE Dennis Pitta had 86 receptions, the most by tight end in a single season in franchise history.

BUFFALO BILLS: Set a franchise record with 29 rushing touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing yards per game (164.4).

RB Le Sean McCoy had 13 rushing touchdowns, tied for the second-most in a season in franchise history. McCoy had four games with 100+ rushing yards and multiple rushing touchdowns this season, tied for the most in Bills history.

CAROLINA PANTHERS: Defeated Arizona 30-20 in Week 8 in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game and became the first team since Tampa Bay in 2002-03 to win both a Championship Game and the rematch the following season by 10+ points each.

QB Cam Newton set franchise records in passing touchdowns (136) and rushing touchdowns (48).

RB Jonathan Stewart has 51 career total touchdowns, third-most in franchise history.

CHICAGO BEARS: Rookie RB Jordan Howard ranked second in the NFL with 1,313 rushing yards and surpassed Matt Forte (1,238 in 2008) as the Bears’ all-time rookie rushing leader. Howard had seven 100-yard rushing games this season, the most games with 100+ rushing yards by a rookie in team history.

Howard gained 202 yards from scrimmage (153 rushing, 49 receiving), including a rushing touchdown, in Week 8 and became the youngest player (21 years, 363 days) in Bears history to record at least 200 scrimmage yards in a single game.

In Week 13, Howard became the fifth rookie in Bears history to rush for three touchdowns in a single game.

CINCINNATI BENGALS: QB Andy Dalton had 4,206 passing yards, his second career season with 4,000+ pass yards (4,293 in 2013) and joined Carson Palmer (two) as the only quarterbacks in team history with multiple 4,000-yard passing seasons.

RB Jeremy Hill had nine rushing touchdowns and has at least nine rushing touchdowns in three consecutive seasons, the second-longest streak in franchise history.

LB Vontaze Burfict has three seasons with 100+ tackles (101 in 2016), tied for the second-most in franchise history.

CLEVELAND BROWNS: WR Terrelle Pryor, Sr. had 1,007 receiving yards and became the seventh wide receiver in franchise history with a 1,000-yard receiving season.

LB Christian Kirksey had 143 tackles, the eighth-most in a season in team history.

DALLAS COWBOYS: Won the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons and won 11 consecutive games from Weeks 2-13, tied for the longest winning streak in franchise history.

Ranked first in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 83.5 yards per game.

QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott became the first rookie quarterback and running back duo to start a season opener for the Cowboys since Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Roger Staubach and RB Calvin Hill in 1969.

Became the first team in NFL history to have a rookie pass for 20 touchdowns (Prescott, 23) and a rookie rush for 15 touchdowns (Elliott, 15) in the same season.

In Week 9, Prescott had three touchdown passes and Elliott rushed for two touchdowns, marking the second time in NFL history in which a rookie passed for three touchdowns and a rookie teammate rushed for two touchdowns in the same game.

WR Dez Bryant has 67 career touchdown catches and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (65) for the second-most in franchise history.

DENVER BRONCOS: Led the NFL in pass defense, allowing 185.8 yards per game.

In Week 10, rookie Justin Simmons blocked an extra-point attempt with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and rookie Will Parks returned it for the game-winning two-point conversion in Denver’s 25-23 win at New Orleans. It marked the first-ever game-winning defensive two-point conversion since the rule was adopted in 2015 and the first to give the scoring team the lead.

DETROIT LIONS: Earned a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons.

Had eight wins after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in a single season in NFL history.

JiM Caldwell became the third head coach in franchise history to lead the Lions to the playoffs twice in his first three seasons.

QB Matthew Stafford passed for 4,327 yards, fifth-most in a season in team history and had a 93.3 passer rating, third-highest in team history.

GREEN BAY PACKERS: Won the NFC North division title for the fifth time in the past six seasons and have 217 victories at Lambeau Field, surpassing Chicago (216 at Wrigley Field) for the most wins by any franchise at one stadium in NFL history.

QB Aaron Rodgers passed for 4,428 yards, his sixth career season with at least 4,000 passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett (five) for the most in franchise history.

Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson have connected on 59 touchdown passes, surpassing Favre and Antonio Freeman (57) for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

WR Davante Adams had 25 total receptions in Weeks 7 and 8, the most in a two-game span in Packers history.

RB Ty Montgomery rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 at Chicago and became the second Packer to rush for at least 150 yards and two touchdowns in a game against the Bears (Ahman Green, September 29, 2003).

HOUSTON TEXANS: Won the AFC South division title for the second consecutive season. It is the second time in franchise history the team has won back-to-back division titles (2011-12).

Led the NFL in total defense (301.3 yards per game).

WR De Andre Hopkins has 317 career receptions and surpassed Andre Johnson (312) for the most receptions in a player’s first four seasons in franchise history.

S Quinton Demps had six interceptions, tied for the second-most in a season in franchise history.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: WR T.Y. Hilton led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards and has four seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, the third-most in franchise history.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: In Week 16, QB Blake Brotles and WR Marqise Lee became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to throw touchdown passes of at least 20 yards to each other in the same game.

WR Allen Robinson joined Jimmy Smith as the only players in team history with at least 800 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions in consecutive seasons.

LB Paul Posluszny had 132 tackles and has five seasons with 100+ tackles with the Jaguars, the most in franchise history.

DE Yannick Ngakoue had eight sacks, the most by a rookie in franchise history.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Won the AFC West division title for the first time since 2010.

Ranked first in the NFL with 33 takeaways and tied for the league lead with a +16 turnover differential.

QB Alex Smith has 1,317 rushing yards in four seasons with Kansas City and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson (1,253) for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback in franchise history.

Rookie WR-PR-KR Tyreek Hill had 12 touchdowns (6 receiving, 3 rushing, 2 punt return, 1 kick return), tied for the most by a rookie in franchise history.

Hill had a 95-yard punt-return touchdown in Week 17, the longest punt-return touchdown in team history.

Overcame a 21-point deficit in their 33-27 overtime victory against San Diego in Week 1 and became the first team in NFL history to extend a winning streak of at least 10 games with a 21+ point comeback victory.

LOS ANGELES RAMS: TE Lance Kendricks has 17 career touchdown catches and surpassed Billy Truax (16) for the second-most touchdowns by a tight end in franchise history.

WR-PR Tavon Austin has 146 career punt returns and tied Le Roy Irvin (146) for the most punt returns in team history.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Earned a postseason berth for the first time since 2008.

RB Jay Ajayi had 1,272 rush yards, the third-highest single-season total in franchise history.

Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the Dolphins’ 30-15 win over Pittsburgh in Week 6 in Miami and joined Ricky Williams as the only players in franchise history to rush for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game. Ajayi is the first Dolphin to rush for at least 200 yards in three games in a season.

WR Jarvis Landry had 94 receptions, the second-most catches in a season in Dolphins history. Landry also owns the single-season team record with 110 catches in 2015.

Rookie RB-KR Kenyan Drake had a 96-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 9, the second-longest by a rookie in franchise history (Mercury Morris, 105 yards, Septermber, 14, 1969).

MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Joined the 1969 Los Angeles Rams as the only teams since 1933 to start 5-0 without throwing an interception. Minnesota had eight sacks at Carolina in Week 3, tied for the third-most in a road game in team history.

CB Xavier Rhodes had a 100-yard interception-return touchdown and KR Cordarrelle Patterson had a 104-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 11 and became the first team since the 1962 Dallas Cowboys to have a 100+ yard interception-return touchdown and a 100+ yard kickoff-return touchdown in the same game. Minnesota is the fourth team in NFL history with two scoring plays of at least 100 yards in the same game and Rhodes’ 100-yard interception-return touchdown was the longest in franchise history.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Won the AFC East division title for the eighth consecutive season, the longest streak in NFL history. The Patriots are the only team in league history to win 13 division titles in a 14-year span.

New England ecorded their sixth season with at least 13 victories (14-2), tied with Denver for the second most 13-win seasons in NFL history.

The Pats became the fifth team in NFL history – and the first since the 1983-1998 San Francisco 49ers – to have at least 16 consecutive seasons with a .500 or better record.

Head coach Bill Belichick has 201 regular-season victories with New England and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers George Halas (318 with Chicago), Don Shula (257 with Miami), Tom Landry (250 with Dallas) and Curly Lambeau (209 with Green Bay) as the only coaches to reach 200 career regular-season wins with one franchise.

Belichick has 260 career victories (including the postseason) and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Shula (347), George Halas (324) and Tom Landry (270) as the only head coaches in NFL history with at least 250 career wins.

RB Le Garrette Blount set a franchise record with 18 rushing touchdowns.

WR Julian Edleman ranks second in franchise history with three seasons of 90+ receptions (98 in 2016).

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Led the NFL in total offense (426.0 yards per game) and ranked first with 6,816 total net yards (5,074 passing, 1,742 rushing).

QB Drew Brees has 53,763 pass yards in 11 seasons with New Orleans and became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to pass for 50,000 yards with one team.

WR Michael Thomas set franchise rookie records and led all NFL rookies with 92 receptions, 1,137 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches.

NEW YORK GIANTS: Earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2011.

QB Eli Manning passed for 4,027 yards, his franchise-record sixth season with 4,000+ passing yards.

WR Odell Beckham, Jr. had a career-high 101 receptions and joined Steve Smith (107 in 2009) as the only players in franchise history with a 100-catch season. Beckham had 1,367 receiving yards, the third-most in a single season in team history.

S Landon Collins had 125 tackles, the most by a safety in a season in franchise history.

Collins and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie each recorded two interceptions in Week 7, the first Giants duo to accomplish the feat since Kenny Hill and Terry Kinard on September 14, 1986 against San Diego.

NEW YORK JETS: RBs Matt Forte (1,110) and Bilal Powell (1,076) became the first running back duo in franchise history with 1,000+ scrimmage yards each.

OAKLAND RAIDERS: Earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2002. Oakland tied for the NFL lead with a +16 turnover differential.

In Week 1, the Sliver and Black became the fourth team in NFL history to score the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter when QB Derek Carr connected with WR Michael Crabtree on the game-winning two-point conversion with 47 seconds remaining. They are the first to do so in a season opener.

Carr passed for four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 4 and became the first Raiders quarterback to have a four TD and zero interception performance in back-to-back seasons since Rich Gannon in 1999 and 2000. Carr also accomplished the feat on November 1, 2015.

Crabtree had three touchdown receptions in Week 4 and became the first Raider to have three touchdown catches in a game since Jerry Porter on December 19, 2004.

WR Amari Cooper (1,153) and Crabtree (1,003) became the first Oakland duo since 2001 (Jerry Rice and Tim Brown) and third in franchise history to each have at least 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.

LB Bruce Irvin had six forced fumbles, tied for the most in a single season in team history.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Rookie QB Carson Wentz became the first Eagles rookie to start at quarterback in a season opener since Davey O’Brien in 1939.

Wentz had 379 completions, the most in a season in franchise history and the most by a rookie in NFL history.

K Caleb Sturgis made 35 field goals, the most in a season in franchise history.

Philadelphia had kickoff-return touchdowns in Week 6 (Wendell Smallwood, 86 yards) and Week 7 (Josh Huff, 98 yards) and became the fifth team since 1970 to have kickoff-return touchdowns by different players in consecutive weeks.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Won the AFC North division title, their seventh division title since 2002.

The Steelers have 601 regular-season victories, joining Chicago (744), Green Bay (730) and the New York Giants (684) as the only teams in NFL history to reach 600 regular-season wins.

QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown have combined for 50 touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann (49) for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to receiver in team history.

Roethlisberger had 15 touchdown passes through Week 5, the most by a Steelers quarterback in the first five games of a season.

K Chris Boswell made six field goals in Week 15, tied with Gary Anderson (10/23/88) and Jeff Reed (12/1/02) for the most in a single game in franchise history.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: QB Philip Rivers passed for 4,386 yards, his team-record eighth season with at least 4,000 passing yards. Rivers had 33 touchdown passes, tied for the second-most in a season in franchise history and has five 30-touchdown seasons, the most in Chargers history.

Rookie DE Joey Bosa (10.5) became the first Chargers rookie to record 10 or more sacks since 2005 (Shawn Merriman, 10.0).

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Rookie DL De Forest Buckner had 6 sacks, tied for the fifth-most by a rookie in franchise history.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Won the NFC West division title for the third time in the past four seasons and advanced to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

QB Russell wilson passed for 4,219 yards, the most in a season in franchise history.

TE Jimmy Graham had 65 receptions for 923 yards, the highest totals by a tight end in franchise history.

LB Bobby Wagner led the NFL and set a single-season franchise record with 167 tackles.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: QB Jameis Winston set franchise single-season records with 4,090 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes.

WR Mike Evans had 96 receptions, the second-most in franchise history.

Evans had 12 touchdown catches, tied for the most in a season in team history.

TE Cameron Brate had eight receiving touchdowns, tied for the most by a Buccaneers tight end in a season.

TENNESSEE TITANS: QB Marcus Mariota had 26 touchdown passes and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda and Warren Moon as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to pass for at least 25 touchdowns in a season.

TE Delanie Walker had seven touchdown receptions, the third-most among tight ends in franchise history.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: QB Kirk Cousins set a franchise record and ranked third in the NFL with 4,917 passing yards.

Cousins has 18 career games with at least 300 passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen (15) for the most in franchise history.

WR De Sean Jackson had 1,005 receiving yards, his second 1,000-yard season with Washington, and is the eighth player in franchise history with multiple seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards.

TE Jordan Reed has 248 career receptions and surpassed Don Warren (244) for the third-most catches among tight ends in team history.

THE PLAYERS

ACCOMPLISHMENT(S)

JAY AJAYI – RB, Miami Dolphins: Rushed for 204 yards in Week 6 and 214 yards in Week 7 and became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (twice) and Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

Ajayi ecame the first player since 1970 to rush for 200 yards in two of his first three career starts, became the fourth player in NFL history to record three games with at least 200 rushing yards in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Earl Campbell (four in 1980) and O.J. Simpson (three in 1973) and Tiki Barber (three in 2005).

Ajayi had 420 rushing yards in two games against Buffalo in 2016, the fourth-highest rushing total against one team in a single season.

LORENZO ALEXANDER –  LB, Buffalo Bills: Entered the season with nine career sacks in nine seasons and became the first player to begin his career in 1982 or later with a career total of fewer than 10 sacks to record at least 10 sacks (12.5) in his 10th NFL season.

DWAYNE ALLEN – TE, Indianapolis Colts – Had three touchdown receptions in the first half of the Colts’ 41-10 win at the New York Jets in Week 13 on Monday Night Football and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (December 18, 1995) as the only players to have three touchdown catches in the first half of a Monday Night Football game.

VIC BEASLEY JR. – LB, Atlanta Falcons: Led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.

Beasley three sacks, one forced fumble and a 21-yard fumble-return touchdown in Week 14 and became the 10th NFL player – and first Falcon – to record three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown in a single game since 1982.

ODELL BECKHAM JR. – WR, New York Giants: Ranked third in the NFL with 101 receptions and 1,367 receiving yards.

Has 288 career receptions, tied with Jarvis Landry for the most receptions in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history.

Has 11 career games with at least 140 receiving yards, the most in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history.

Beckham beame the first player in NFL history to record at least 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons and joined John Jefferson (1978-1980) and Randy Moss (1998-2000) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches in each of his first three seasons.

Beckham reached 3,000 receiving yards in his 30th career game, the fastest in NFL history (Charley Hennigan, 31 games).

LE’VEON BELL – RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Led the AFC with 1,884 scrimmage yards (1,268 rush, 616 receiving).

Bell averaged 157.0 scrimmage yards per game in 2016, the third-highest single-season average in NFL history and had 236 rushing yards with three touchdowns and four catches for 62 yards in Week 14 and became the second player in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (November 19, 1961).

ERIC BERRY – S, Kansas City Chiefs: Intercepted a two-point conversion attempt and returned it for the go-ahead score with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Chiefs’ 29-28 victory at Atlanta in Week 13, marking the first game-winning defensive two-point conversion scored when his team was trailing since the rule was adopted in 2015. Berry, who also returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the contest, became the first player to return an interception for both a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the same game.

ANQUAN BOLDIN – WR, Detroit Lions: Had eight touchdown catches in 2016 and became the second player in NFL history (Terrell Owens) to have at least 1,000 career receptions (1,076) and record a touchdown catch with four different teams (Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco).

Is the fourth player in NFL history to have a season with at least five touchdown receptions with four different teams (Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco), joining Terrell Owens (five teams), Irving Fryar and Brandon Marshall as the only players in league annals to accomplish the feat.

Played in his 200th career game in Week 15 and his 1,067 career receptions are the fourth-most in a player’s first 200 games.

JOEY BOSA – DE, San Diego Chargers: Led all rookies with 10.5 sacks, the highest total by a rookie since 2011 (Aldon Smith, 14.0).

SAM BRADFORD – QB, Minnesota Vikings: Completed 395 of 552 passes for a 71.6 completion percentage in 2016, the highest single-season completion percentage in NFL history, surpassing Drew Brees’ mark of 71.2 percent (468 of 657) in 2011.

TOM BRADY – QB, New England Patriots: Has 205 career victories including the postseason, the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history.

Brady became the fifth player in NFL history to reach 60,000 passing yards (61,582), joining Peyton Manning (71,940), Brett Farve (71,838), Drew Brees (66,111) and Dan Marino (61,361).

Brady has 5,244 career completions and became the fourth player in NFL history to reach 5,000 completions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (6,300), Peyton Manning (6,125) and Drew Brees (5,836).

Brady threw 28 touchdown passes with two interceptions in 2016, recording the highest touchdown/interception ratio in NFL history, has 21 career games with at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most in NFL history and as passed for 28,678 yards at Gillette Stadium and surpassed Brett Farve (28,240 at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field) for the most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history.

DREW BREES – QB, New Orleans Saints: Has 66,111 career pass yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (61,361) for the third-most all-time. Led the NFL with 5,208 passing yards, his NFL-record 5th season with 5,000+ passing yards.

Brees had 37 touchdown passes and extended his NFL-record streak to nine consecutive seasons with at least 30 TD passes, had nine career seasons with at least 30 touchdown passes, tied for the most in NFL history with Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve and Peyton Manning.

Brees extended his NFL-record streak of seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards to 11, extended his NFL-record streak to 60 consecutive home games with a touchdown pass.

Brees has 58 career games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes, the most in NFL history.

Brees passed for four touchdowns and had a rushing touchdown in Week 12, his third career game with at least four touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown, the most in NFL history.

Brees passed for 465 yards in Week 6, his 15th career 400-yard game and surpassed Peyton Manning (14) for the most all-time.

ANTONIO BROWN – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Ranked second in the NFL with 106 catches and has 481 receptions over the past four seasons, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (469 from 1999-2002) for the most catches in any four-year span in NFL history.

Brown has four consecutive seasons with at least 100 receptions, tying Marvin Harrison (four from 1999-2002) for the most consecutive 100-catch seasons in NFL history and reached 600 career receptions in Week 11 in his 96th career game, the fewest games to reach the milestone in NFL history.

DEZ BRYANT – WR, Dallas Cowboys: Had two touchdown catches and his first career touchdown pass in Week 16 and became the fifth player in NFL history with two touchdown catches and a touchdown pass in the same game.

DEREK CARR –  QB, Oakland Raiders: Has 81 career touchdown passes and is the fifth player in NFL history with 80 touchdown passes in his first three seasons.

In Week 8, Carr passed for 513 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Raiders’ 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay and became the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 500 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a single game.

BRANDIN COOKS – WR, New Orleans Saints: Had a 98-yard touchdown reception on Kickoff Weekend and an 87-yard touchdown catch in Week 6 and became first player in NFL history with two touchdown catches of at least 85 yards in his team’s first five games of a season.

AMARI COOPER – WR, Oakland Raiders: Had 83 receptions, 1,153 receiving yards and five touchdown catches and became the third player in NFL history to have at least 70 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdown catches in each of his first two career seasons, joining Odell Beckham, Jr. (2014-2015) and Marques Colston (2006-2007).

KIRK COUSINS – QB, Washington Redskins: Ranked third in the NFL with 4,917 passing yards.

Cousins became the second player in NFL history (Aaron Rodgers, 2008-09) to have at least 4,000 passing yards and four or more rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

STEFON DIGGS – WR, Minnesota Vikings: Became the first player in NFL history to have at least 13 catches in consecutive games (Weeks 9-10).

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT – RB, Dallas Cowboys: Became the fifth rookie since 1970 to lead the NFL in rushing yards (1,631) and the first since Edgerin James in 1999.

Elliott’s 1,631 rushing yards are the third-highest single-season total by a rookie in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,808 in 1983) and George Rogers (1,674 in 1981).

Elliott ad five games with at least 125 rushing yards, trailing only Eric Dickerson (seven in 1983) for the most by a rookie.

Elliott became the first rookie running back to have a 60+ yard touchdown run and an 80+ yard touchdown catch in a season since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965 and rushed for 130+ yards in four consecutive games (Weeks 3-6), the only rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

RHETT ELLISON – TE, Minnesota Vikings: Had a one-yard touchdown run to give the Vikings a 16-13 lead with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter in Week 9. Ellison, whose touchdown run was the first carry of his five-year career, became the first player in NFL history to score a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of regulation on the first carry of his career.

LARRY FITZGERALD – WR, Arizona Cardinals: Led the NFL with 107 receptions and at 33 years, 123 days old, became the oldest player to lead the league in receptions since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (34 years, 71 days) in 1996.

Fitzgerald has 1,125 career receptions and moved into third place on the all-time receptions list has 104 career touchdown receptions, the eighth-most all-time.

Fitzgerald had 1,116 career receptions through his 200th career game in Week 15 and surpassed Jerry Rice (1,115) for the most catches in a player’s first 200 games in NFL history.

MATT FORTÉ – RB, New York Jets: Became one of only four players in NFL history with at least 50 rushing touchdowns (52), 500 receptions (517) and 20 receiving touchdowns (20), joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk and Herschel Walker.

WILL FULLER – WR, Houston Texans: Became the first rookie drafted in the first round to have at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team’s first two games of a season.

Became the only rookie in NFL history to have 300 or more receiving yards (323) and a punt-return touchdown in his team’s first four games of a season.

ANTONIO GATES – TE, San Diego Chargers: Had seven touchdown receptions in 2016, bringing his career total to 111 and tying Tony Gonzalez (111) for the most touchdown catches by a tight end in NFL history.

TED GINN JR. – WR, Carolina Panthers: Had an 88-yard touchdown catch in Week 12 and became the fourth player in NFL history to have a receiving touchdown, punt-return touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown of at least 85 yards each in his career.

FRANK GORE – RB, Indianapolis Colts: Moved into eighth place on the all-time rushing list with 13,065 career yards.

Gore rushed for 1,025 yards in 2016, his ninth career season with at least 1,000 yards, the fifth-most all-time and is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 12,500 rushing yards (13,065) and 400 receptions (414).

Gore is the only player in NFL history with 11 consecutive seasons with 1,200+ scrimmage yards.

A.J. GREEN – WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Has nine career games with at least 150 receiving yards, the fourth-most by a player in his first six seasons.

ROB GRONKOWSKI – TE, New England Patriots: Has 23 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, the third-most by a tight end in NFL history.

CASEY HAYWARD – CB, San Diego Chargers: Led the NFL with a career-high seven interceptions.

JOHNNY HEKKER – P, Los Angeles Rams: Set the single-season NFL record with 51 punts inside the 20-yard line.

TYREEK HILL – WR-PR-KR, Kansas City Chiefs: Joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers as the only players with at least five receiving touchdowns (six), three rushing touchdowns (three), a punt-return touchdown (two) and a kick-return touchdown (one) in a single season.

Hill scored on a three-yard run, a three-yard reception and an 86-yard kickoff-return in Week 12 and became the first player since Sayers in 1965 to have a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown in the same game.

JORDAN HOWARD – RB, Chicago Bears: Ranked second in the NFL with 1,313 rushing yards, the third-highest total by a rookie not chosen in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. Alfred Morris (1,613 yards in 2012) and Mike Anderson (1,487 in 2000) are the only players drafted outside of the first four rounds with higher totals in their rookie season.

DE SEAN JACKSON – WR, Washington Redskins: Had an 80-yard touchdown catch in Week 14, his 22nd career touchdown of at least 60 yards, the second-most in NFL history.

SEBASTIAN JANIKOWSKI – K, Oakland Raiders: Has made 55 career 50+ yard field goals and surpassed Jason Hanson (52) for the most in NFL history.

DAVID JOHNSON – RB, Arizona Cardinals: Led the NFL in scrimmage yards (2,118) and touchdowns (20). Set an NFL record with 15 consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards to begin a season.

Johnson tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15) as the only players in NFL history to record 15 consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in a single season.

Johnson has 24 rushing touchdowns, eight receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown in his career and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers as the only players in NFL history with at least 20 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown in a player’s first two seasons.

Johnson has scored multiple touchdowns in 11 career games, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James for the most such games in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history.

JULIO JONES – WR, Atlanta Falcons: Led the NFC with 1,409 receiving yards.

Jones had 475 catches through his 75th career game in Week 10, the most receptions in NFL history by a player in his first 75 games, had 7,306 career receiving yards through his 75th career game and became one of two players in league annals with at least 7,000 receiving yards in his first 75 games (Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth, 7,532).

TRAVIS KELCE – TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Led NFL tight ends with 1,125 receiving yards and ranked second with 85 receptions.

Had at least 100 receiving yards in four consecutive games from Weeks 11-14, tied for the longest such streak by a tight end in NFL history.

JARVIS LANDRY – WR, Miami Dolphins: Has 288 career receptions, tied with Odell Beckham, Jr. for the most receptions in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history.

ANDREW LUCK – QB, Indianapolis Colts: Reached 15,000 career passing yards in Week 1 in his 56th career game, tied for the second-fastest in NFL history.

Luck has seven career game-winning touchdown passes in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the most in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history.

ELI MANNING – QB, New York Giants: Has 320 career touchdown passes, the seventh-most in NFL history.

Manning has 4,072 career completions and became the seventh player in NFL history to reach 4,000 completions and moved into eighth place on the all-time passing yards list with 48,214 career yards.

MARCUS MARIOTA – QB, Tennessee Titans: Threw multiple touchdown passes in eight consecutive games from Weeks 5-12, the second-longest single-season streak in NFL history by a quarterback in his first two seasons, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino’s streak of 10 games in 1984.

Mariota became the first quarterback in NFL history to have three games with a 70.0+ completion percentage, at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first two seasons.

VANCE MC DONALD – TE, San Francisco 49ers: Had a 75-yard touchdown catch in Week 2 and a 65-yarder in Week 9 and became the fourth tight end since 1970 and the first since 1997, with two touchdown catches of at least 65 yards in the same season.

DE MARCO MURRAY – RB, Tennessee Titans: Led the AFC with 1,287 rush yards.

In Week 10, Murray rushed for 123 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass and became the first non-quarterback since Pro Football Hall of Famer John Henry Johnson in 1960 (December 11, 1960) to have a 75+ yard touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the same game.

Murray also became the first player to record a touchdown run of at least 75 yards and a touchdown pass in the first quarter of the same game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe accomplished the feat for the Cleveland Indians in 1921 against the Columbus Panhandles.

Murray had 756 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns through Week 8, becoming the sixth player in NFL history with at least 750 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in his first eight games with a team.

LATAVIUS MURRAY –  RB, Oakland Raiders: Rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns in the Raiders’ 30-20 victory against Denver in Week 9, marking the third time a player has rushed for at least 100 yards and three touchdowns against the defending Super Bowl champions.

JORDY NELSON – WR, Green Bay Packers: Led the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions.

Has three seasons with at least 13 touchdown catches in his career, tying Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth, Cris Carter and Marvin Harrison for the fourth-most in NFL history.

CAM NEWTON – QB, Carolina Panthers: Has 21,772 passing yards and 3,566 rushing yards in his career and is the only player in NFL history to have at least 20,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in his first six seasons.

YANNICK NGAKOUE – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: Was the only rookie in the NFL with at least eight sacks (eight) and four forced fumbles (four).

GREG OLSEN – TE, Carolina Panthers: Had 1,073 receiving yards and became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON – WR-KR, Minnesota Vikings: Had a 104-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 11 and became the first player in league history with four career touchdowns of 100+ yards.

JULIUS PEPPERS – LB, Green Bay Packers: Has 143.5 career sacks and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (141.5) for the fifth-most sacks since 1982, the first year individual sacks became an official statistic.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL – DE, New York Giants: Had a career-high three sacks, a forced fumble and a 43-yard fumble-return touchdown in Week 12 and became the first player with at least three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown of at least 40 yards in the same game since 1982.

DONTARI POE – DT, Kansas City Chiefs: Had 1.5 sacks in 2016 and threw a two-yard touchdown pass in Week 16, becoming the first player with a touchdown pass and a sack in the same season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

MATT PRATER – K, Detroit Lions: Converted a 58-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter to force overtime in the Lions’ 22-16 win at Minnesota in Week 9, marking the second-longest game-tying field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL history.

DAK PRESCOTT – QB, Dallas Cowboys: Had 13 wins as a starter, tied with Ben Roethlisberger (2004) for the most wins by a rookie starting quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott passed for 23 touchdowns with four interceptions and his 0.9 interception percentage is the lowest by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (minimum 200 passing attempts), h ad 11 games with a 100+ passer rating, tied for the third-most in a single season in NFL history and finished the season with a 104.9 passer rating, the highest single-season passer rating by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott had multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games in Weeks 6-11, tied for the longest such streak by a rookie in NFL history, had 176 pass attempts without an interception to begin the season, surpassing Tom Brady (162) for the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career.

Prescott completed 32 of 36 passes (88.9 percent) for 279 yards in Week 15, the second-highest completion percentage in a single game in NFL history (with a minimum of 30 attempts).

TERRELLE PRYOR SR. – WR, Cleveland Browns: Joined Marlin Briscoe as the only players in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards (1,007 in 2016) in one season and 1,000 passing yards in another (1,798 in 2013).

Pryor had 144 receiving yards, 35 passing yards and 21 rushing yards (including a touchdown) in Week 3 and became the first player to have at least 120 receiving yards, 30 passing yards and 20 rushing yards in a single game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford on December 6, 1959.

JORDAN REED – TE, Washington Redskins: In Week 4, reached 200 career receptions in his 38th game, the fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 200 career catches, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (39 games).

JALEN RICHARD – RB, Oakland Raiders: In Week 1, had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry and became only the fourth player in NFL history with a 75+ yard rushing touchdown in his NFL debut.

MATT RYAN – QB, Atlanta Falcons: Ranked second in the NFL with 4,944 passing yards, his sixth consecutive 4,000-yard season, tying Peyton Manning(1999-2004) and Matthew Stafford (2011-2016) for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

Ryan led the NFL with a 117.1 passer rating in 2016, the fifth-highest single-season rating in NFL history, has 3,288 career completions and surpassed Peyton Manning (3,131) for the most completions in a player’s first nine seasons in NFL history.

Ryan threw a touchdown pass to 13 different players in 2016, the most in a single season in NFL history and has passed for at least 200 yards in 55 consecutive games, the longest streak in NFL history.

PHILIP RIVERS – QB, San Diego Chargers: Recorded his 11th consecutive season with 3,000 passing yards (4,386), tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.

Has 314 career touchdown passes, the eighth-most in NFL history.

BEN ROETHLISBERGER – QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Has 301 career touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (300) for the ninth-most touchdown passes in NFL history and became the 10th player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 career touchdowns.

Roethlisberger reached 45,000 career passing yards in Week 10 in his 179th career game, the fifth-fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the mark and is the eighth quarterback in NFL history to pass for 45,000 yards with one franchise.

AARON RODGERS – QB, Green Bay Packers: Led the NFL with 40 touchdown passes and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons (45 in 2011), has 36,827 career passing yards and 2,544 rushing yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway (51,475 passing, 3,407 rushing) and Fran Tarkenton (47,003 passing, 3,674 rushing) and Donovan McNabb (37,276 passing, 3,462 rushing) as the only players in NFL history with at least 35,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards in a career.

Rodgers as won 16 consecutive starts at Lambeau Field in the month of December and is the second player in NFL history to win 15 consecutive home starts in the month of December, joining Tom Brady (19 games from 2002-2012).

TREVOR SIEMIAN – QB, Denver Broncos: In Week 3, passed for 312 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 132.1 passer rating at Cincinnati and became the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in his first career road start.

STEVE SMITH SR. – WR, Baltimore Ravens: Moved into seventh place on the all-time receiving list with 14,731 career yards.

Smith ecame the 14th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches (1,031) and is the only player in league history with at least 1,000 career catches (1,031), 1,000 punt-return yards (1,684) and 2,000 kickoff-return yards (2,371).

DARREN SPROLES – RB, Philadelphia Eagles: Is the first player in NFL history to have at least 30 career receiving touchdowns (30), 20 rushing touchdowns (22), a punt-return touchdown (seven) and a kick-return touchdown (two).

MATTHEW STAFFORD – QB, Detroit Lions: Led eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, the most such drives by a quarterback in a single season since 1970.

Stafford surpassed 30,000 career passing yards (30,303) in Week 17 in his 109th career game and became the fastest player to reach the mark in NFL history and passed for four touchdowns in Week 6 and at 28 years, 252 days old, became the fourth-youngest quarterback with 10 career four-touchdown passing games.

RYAN SUCCOP – K, Tennessee Titans: Converted a game-winning 53-yard field goal as time expired in the Titans’ 19-17 victory at Kansas City in Week 15. Succop, who spent five seasons with the Chiefs from 2009-13, became the first kicker in NFL history to defeat his former team by converting a game-winning, come-from-behind 50+ yard field goal as time expired.

AQIB TALIB – CB, Denver Broncos: Had a 46-yard interception-return touchdown in Week 2 and has nine career interception-return touchdowns, tied for the fourth-most in NFL history with Pro Football Hall of Famers Ken Houston, Deion Sanders and Aeneas Williams.

DEMARYIUS THOMAS – WR, Denver Broncos: Had 90 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns and became the third player in NFL history with five consecutive seasons of 90+ receptions, 1,000+ recieving yards & 5+ TD catches.

JUSTIN TUCKER – K, Baltimore Ravens: Led the NFL with 38 made field goals and ranked second with 141 points.

Tucket cconverted all 10 of his field-goal attempts of at least 50 yards this season, tying Blair Walsh (Minnesota, 2012) for the most 50+ yard field goals made in a single season.

Tucker made all four of his field-goal attempts in the Ravens’ 19-14 win over Cincinnati in Week 12. Tucker, who connected on field goals of 57, 54 and 52 yards in the first half, became the first player in NFL history with three field goals of at least 50 yards in the first half of a game. His three 50+ yard field goals are tied for the most ever in a game and he became the ninth player in league annals to accomplish the feat.

ADAM VINATIERI – K, Indianapolis Colts: Converted 43 consecutive field goal attempts dating back to 2015, surpassing Mike Vanderjagt (42) for the longest streak in NFL history.

Vinatieri became the only player in NFL history to score 100+ points (125 in 2016) in 19 different seasons.

MIKE WALLACE – WR, Baltimore Ravens: Had a 95-yard touchdown reception in Week 9 and became the third player in NFL history (John Taylor and Gus Tinsley) to have two career 95+ yard touchdown receptions. Wallace is the only player in league annals to have a 95+ yard touchdown catch with two different teams (Baltimore and Pittsburgh).

DE MARCUS WARE – LB, Denver Broncos: Has 138.5 career sacks and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famers Richard Dent (137.5) and John Randle (137.5) and Jared Allen (136.0) for the eighth-most sacks since 1982.

CARSON WENTZ – QB, Philadelphia Eagles: Passed for 769 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions through Week 3 and became the only rookie in NFL history with a touchdown pass and no interceptions in each of his first three games to start a season.

Wentz guided the Eagles to a 3-0 start and became the first rookie since 1970 to start and win his team’s first three games to begin a season without throwing an interception.

RUSSELL WILSON – QB, Seattle Seahawks: Won his 50th career game as a starter in Week 6 in his 69th game, tied for the third-fastest starting quarterback to reach 50 career victories. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Ken Stabler (62) and Tom Brady (65) reached the feat in fewer games.

Wilson has 34 career home wins as a starter, surpassing Joe Flacco and  Matt Ryan for the most home wins by a starting quarterback in his first five NFL seasons, has 31 career games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most by a player in NFL history in his first five seasons to begin a career.

JAMEIS WINSTON – QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Passed for 4,090 yards and became the first player in NFL history to record at least 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons (4,042 yards as a rookie in 2015).

Winston has 50 career touchdown passes and became the fifth player in league history to throw at least 50 touchdown passes in his first two seasons.

Winston threw his 40th career touchdown pass in Week 10 and at 22 years, 312 days old, became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 40 career touchdown passes.

Championship Sunday Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

NFC Championship – Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Tony Boselli (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Green Bay), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Green Bay), 82 (Atlanta).

AFC Championship – Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Ross Tucker (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Pittsburgh), 82 (New England). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Pittsburgh), 82 (New England).

Sunday Officials
NFC Championship: Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. – Bill Vinovich
AFC Championship: Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. – Terry McAulay

Sunday Odds
Favorite                Spread    Underdog              O/U
ATLANTA                 –  4      Green Bay             61
NEW ENGLAND             –  6      Pittsburgh            51

Sunday Injury Report

Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m.

Green Bay
OUT: RB James Starks (Concussion), C Joseph Tretter (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Davante Adams (Ankle), WR Geronimo Allison (Hamstring), WR Jordy Nelson (Ribs), S Morgan Burnett (Quad), CB Quinten Rollins (Neck)

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries

Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m.

Pittsburgh
QUESTIONABLE: LB James Harrison (Shoulder), RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (Concussion), TE Ladarius Green (Concussion)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: WR Danny Amendola (Ankle), TE Martellus Bennett (Knee), RB Brandon Bolden (Knee), LB Qualin Hightower (Knee), WR Chris Hogan (Thigh), WR Malcom Mitchell (Knee), DE Jabaal Sheard (Knee)

Sunday Weather
NFC: Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. on FOX (Game indoors)
AFC: Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. on CBS (Cloudy and 42 degrees)

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

And then there were eight.

The tournament continues. Football’s answer to “Musical Chairs” continues. As long as the music plays, there’s still the chance that someone’s going to get to sit down. It’s when the music stops that the chaos begins and in the end, someone’s not going to get to sit down and suffice it to say, they’re out.

The NFL heads into the Divisional Playoffs and all four games are rematches from the regular season, the first time that has happened since the 2010 season. Each of the remaining eight teams won its division, the first time all eight teams in the Divisional round were division winners since 2011. Four more teams will be clearing their lockers on Monday and four more will advance a little closer to the Lombardi Trophy (more about him in a later post).

On Saturday, Atlanta (11-5), the NFC South champions, will host NFC West-champion Seattle (11-5-1) at the Georgia Dome to kick off the weekend on FOX at 4:35 p.m. That night in primetime on CBS at 8:15 p.m., New England (14-2), who won the AFC East and secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC, will host AFC South-champion Houston (10-7) at Gillette Stadium.

On Sunday, Kansas City (12-4), Dallas (13-3), who won the NFC East and secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host Green Bay (11-6) at AT&T Stadium at 4:40 p.m. on FOX. Kansas City, the AFC West champions, will welcome AFC North-champion Pittsburgh (12-5) to Arrowhead Stadium on NBC at 8:30 p.m. because of weather in Kansas City (the original time was 1:05 p.m.).

“It is a whole new season now,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott told the Dallas Morning News. “Everything you do from this point on is really how you get looked at the end of the year. So that is important to us, looking forward and playing a long time in this postseason.”

Four games last week to start the playoffs and four wins. Can’t do any better than that. For the season, we’re 178-80.

This is week 18, for those of you keeping score. As was the case last week and in week 17, we’re going to make all the games “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarten teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Four more games. Four teams (Oakland, Detroit, Miami and the New York Giants) are sitting at home and have already cleared out their lockers by the time these games get underway and four more teams will follow suit this weekend. It’s not fair but it’s football and this time of year, it’s not like regular season where if you lose, you play next week.

The rules are different this time. It’s all for the Lombardi.

Win.

Advance to the next round.

Lose.

Kickoff is next September.

It’s so simple even a five-year old gets it.

With that, here are this weekend’s Divisional Playoff games.

Seattle (10-5-1, 3rd seed) at Atlanta (11-5, 2nd seed), 4:35 p.m. Saturday on FOX. Divisional week gets underway in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Matt Ryan host Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in a Saturday afternoon contest in the Georgia Dome. Seattle advanced to the playoffs for 5th consecutive season and have won 10+ games in each of past 5 seasons. Seattle aims for 3rd Super Bowl appearance in past 4 seasons, winning 7 of past 9 postseason games and have playoff wins in each of past 5 postseasons and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is 9-4 (.692) in playoffs with Seattle.

Atlanta won the NFC South and advanced to postseason for 1st time since 2012. The Falcons are 4-3 at home in playoffs in franchise history and are ranked 1st in NFL in total points (540) and 2nd in total offense (415.8 yards per game). Head coach Dan Quinn makes postseason debut in 2nd season in the Big Peach and spent four season with Seattle in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks (2009-10, 2013-14) and was team’s defensive coordinator in 2013-14.

Seattle enters the second round of the playoffs after they came away 26-6 winners over Detroit last Saturday night in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. The Seahawks held a slim 10-3 lead over Matthew Stafford and the Lions at the half, then scored their final 16 points of the contest in the fourth quarter unchallenged. Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards in the contest, as Seattle outrushed the Lions 177-49, while Wilson threw for 224 yards and a pair of TDs, with Stafford throwing for 205 yards with three sacks.

Atlanta comes off the bye week after their 38-32 win over New Orleans to close out the regular season and secure the number two seed in the NFC. The Falcons led from start to finish in their win over their NFC South rivals, taking a 35-13 lead into the halftime, then holding on for dear life in the final regular season game at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta outrushed New Orleans 142-132 (the Saints’ Mark Ingram led all rushers with 103 yards and a TD), while Ryan threw for 331 yards and four TDs, connecting with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on two of those tosses. Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 29:45, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:15 and went 7 of 16 and 3 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

The Seahawks came away 26-24 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in week 6. Atlanta, who trailed 17-3 at the half, let a 24-17 lead after three quarters of play get away from them as the Seahawks took the lead back for good with 1:57 left when Stephen Hauschka kicked a 44-yard field goal. Atlanta then got the ball back and threw four incomplete passes to seal their fate. Seattle outrushed Atlanta 72-52, while Ryan threw for 335 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR  Jones and Sanu on two of those strikes, while Wilson threw for 270 yards in the contest in the Pacific Northwest. Atlanta was 3 of 11 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:51, while the Seahawks, who held the pigskin for 30:09, went 5 of 14 on third down tries.

RECORD VS. COMMON OPPONENTS

Atlanta: 9-2 (Arizona 1-0; Carolina 2-0; Green Bay 1-0; Los Angeles 1-0; New Orleans 2-0; Philadelphia 0-1; San Francisco 1-0; Tampa Bay 1-1)

Sea: 5-5-1 (Arizona 0-1-1; Carolina 1-0; Green Bay 0-1; Los Angeles 1-1, New Orleans 0-1; Philadelphia 1-0; San Francisco 2-0; Tampa Bay 0-1)

Seattle was favored by 6 1/2 and although they won, they didn’t cover the spread, winning by only 2. Both teams did manage to cover the 46 over/under by combining for 50 points. Atlanta and Seattle have met only once in the post-season and that meeting took place in the Big Peach in 2012, with the Falcons taking a 30-28 win. Atlanta’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 51. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Seattle’s looking to prove to the Falcons that the first meeting was not a fluke. The Falcons are looking for revenge from their loss in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. It’ll be closer than the 4 1/2 but revenge prevails. Falcons win at home in the Big Peach.

Houston (9-7, 4th seed) at New England (14-2, 1st seed), 8:15 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Divisional Saturday concludes in Foxboro as New England hosts the Houston Texans in a week three rematch at Gillette Stadium.

Houston took care of Oakland last Saturday at NRG Stadium by a 27-14 final. The Texans led 20-7 at the half and never looked back, holding the Silver and Black to 64 yards, while rushing for 123 yards of their own. Brock Osweiler threw for 168 yards and a TD to DeAndre Hopkins, while the Raiders’ Connor Cook threw for 161 yards and a TD with three sacks and three interceptions. As far as third downs tries… the contest in the Lone Star State was not much to write home about, as the Texans were 4 of 15, while Oakland was 2 of 16, 1 of 2 on fourth down conversions. Houston in the win ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:29, while the Raiders held the pigskin for 26:31.

New England enjoyed their time off after they were 35-14 winners against Miami two weeks ago in the Sunshine State. Brady burned Miami for three TD passes as the Pats took a 20-7 lead at the break and never looked back. New England outrushed Miami 120-75 and Brady threw for 276 yards and the three TDs, while Miami’s Matt Moore threw for 205. Both clubs were 7 of 12 on third down conversions in the Sunshine State, while the Pats kept the ball for 31:22 to Miami’s 28:38.

New England and a Brady-less Patriots shut out Texans 27-0 in week three on a Thursday night. New England jumped out to a 10-0 lead at the break  in the contest that saw Watt get injured (back) and the Pats then added 17 second half points unchallenged. Jacoby Brissett, in for the suspended Brady, threw for 103 yards, while LeGarrett Blount ran for 105 yards and a pair of TDs (New England outrushed Houston 185-109). Osweiler threw for 196 yards and a TD but was sacked twice. Neither club was spectacular on third down (New England was 4 of 14, while the Texans were 6 of 15, 0 of 3 on fourth down). Houston did rule the clock, keeping the ball for 31:22, while the Brady-less Pats kept it for 28:38.

Houston won consecutive AFC South titles for 2nd time in franchise history (2011-12). Meanwhile, New England has won 8 consecutive division titles, longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, have won 4 Super Bowl titles, the most in NFL. New England is 29-19 (.604) all-time postseason record, 3rd highest winning pct. in playoff history, while head coach BILL Belichick has 23 career postseason wins, most all-time. The Pats have won 4 Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), tied with Chuck Noll for most in NFL history.

Houston was favored by 2 1/2 in the week three contest (New England easily covered the spread with their 27-point win) and the 41 over/under was safe, as the Pats scored all 27 points. New England and Houston have played once in the post-season and the Pats were 41-28 winners in Foxboro in 2012. This time? The Pats are a huge favorite, thanks to the boys and girls in Vegas. How huge? 16 points, the largest in this year’s playoffs. The over/under’s 44 1/2. The 44 1/2 makes sense. The 16? What the hell, fellas? That’s a little on the high side. It’s going to be closer than that. Still, this one might be entertaining to watch. Pats win but expect Houston to make things closer than 16.

Green Bay (10-6, 3rd seed) at Dallas (13-3, 1st seed), 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX. Divisional Weekend continues in the Lone Star State as a pair of franchises with a playoff history meet in Arlington when Dallas hosts the Green Bay Packers in a late afternoon contest at AT&T Stadium.

The Packers have won 13 NFL championships, most all-time. Green Bay’s .611 postseason winning pct. (33-21) is best in NFL history among teams with 50+ games played. This is the team’s 32nd playoff appearance, tied for most in NFL history. Mike McCarthy has led the team to playoffs in 9 of his 11 seasons as head coach and is 9-7. Green Bay rallied in the first half against Eli and the Giants, coming out on top 38-13 at chilly Lambeau Field (game-time temperature? A chilly – by Wisconsin standards – 14 degrees with a 4 degree wind chill). Green Bay trailed 6-0 after the first 15 minutes of action before the Packers scored twice in the second quarter and took the lead for keeps as the clock struck :00 in the first half when Aaron Rodgers and WR Randall Cobb connected on a 42-yard “Hail Mary” strike. The Giants would pull to within one with 5:16 left in the third when Manning and WR Tavarress King connected on a 41-yard TD pass to make it 14-13 Packers. Green Bay then restored order at home and scored their last 24 points of the contest unchallenged. Rodgers threw for 362 yards and four TDs, despite being sacked five times, while Manning threw for 299 yards and the one TD with a pair of sacks. Green Bay, who outrushed the Giants 75-70, went 5 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:31, while the Giants kept it for 25:29, going 5 of 16 on third down (New York was 1 of 1 on fourth down, while the Packers were 1 of 2).

Dallas won the NFC East for 2nd time in past 3 seasons. This is team’s 32nd playoff appearance, tied for most in NFL history. The Cowboys have 34 postseason victories, 2nd most in NFL history, ranking them 1st in NFL in rush defense (83.5 yards per game). Head coach Jason Garrett is 1-1 (.500) as head coach in postseason. Dallas closed out their 2016 campaign on a less-than pleasant note against Philadelphia, falling to the Eagles 27-13 in the City of Brotherly Love.  Tied 10-10 at halftime time at Lincoln Financial Field, Dallas took a 13-10 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 9:18 left in the third before the Eagles took control of things in the last two quarters of the game, scoring their last 17 points unchallenged. Dallas did get a look at Tony Romo under center for the first time since he was injured against Carolina in the 2015 season, backing up Prescott with a TD pass to Terrance Williams in the contest. Romo threw for 29 yards and the lone TD, while Prescott threw for 37. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott was given the day off, as Dallas ran for 69 yards on the afternoon, while Philly tallied 114. Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz threw for 245 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Zach Ertz. Dallas was 5 of 12 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 24:18 to Philly’s 35:42 (the Eagles were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs).

Dallas and Green Bay met at Lambeau in week six and took a 30-16 win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. The Cowboys led 17-6 at the half and never looked back, holding Green Bay to 78 yards on the ground, while Elliott ran for 157 of his team’s 191 yards. Prescott threw for 247 yards and three TDs, connecting with Chad Beasley on two of those tosses, while Rodgers threw for 294 yards and a TD pass to Cobb. Dallas was 3 of 11 on third down tries at Lambeau (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:50, while the Packers, who went 7 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down, ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:10.

This is the eighth meeting in the post-season between the teams and Dallas has a 4-3 lead in the series. Dallas’ last win in the playoffs over the Packers came in 1985 when they were 38-27 winners at old Texas Stadium, while Green Bay’s last win in the post-season came at Lambeau in 2014 by a final of 26-21. That contest was the Dez Bryant catch-no catch contest, which Dallas led 14-10 at the half. Green Bay then rallied to take the 26-21 lead with 9:10 when Aaron Rodgers and Richard Rodgers connected on a 13-yd TD pass. Dallas then had one last chance to reclaim the lead and would have set up the game-winning score when Bryant and Romo connected on what they thought was a 31-yard pass to the Packers’ 1 yard line with 4:42 left in the contest. Green Bay then challenged the ruling on the field and the Packers won the challenge and Dallas gave up the ball on downs. Green Bay went on to run the clock out and take the win in the contest that took place in 24-degree weather in upstate Wisconsin.

In the week six contest at Lambeau, Green Bay was favored by 4 1/2 and Dallas covered the spread, winning by 14. Both clubs barely missed the 47 1/2 over/under, combining for 46 points. This time, the Cowboys are a 4 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 52. Revenge is on the docket for the Packers, while the Cowboys want to make sure Green Bay got the message the first time. Going with the upset here in the Lone Star State. Packers cover the 4 1/2 and win in Arlington.

Pittsburgh (11-5, 3rd seed) at Kansas City (12-4, 2nd seed), 8:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Divisional weekend concludes in the Midwest and travels to the Show-Me State as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead in a week four rematch. Pittsburgh is 35-23 all-time postseason record, most playoff wins all-time, ranking them 5th all-time in postseason win pct. (.600). and have won 7 division titles since 2002. The Chiefs have won 10 of past 12 and since 2015, they have 23 wins, 2nd most in NFL. The contest was slated for a 1:05 p.m. Eastern kickoff but the league decided that because of the weather situation in Kansas City, they pushed the kickoff time back.

Pittsburgh manhandled Miami 30-12 at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh led 20-6 at the half and never were really threatened by the Dolphins, who were held to 52 yards rushing, while the Steelers’ LeVeon Bell ran for 167 yards and a pair of TDs (Pittsburgh tallied 179). Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw for 197 yards and a pair of TDs to Antonio Brown, while the Steelers’ defense sacked Matt Moore (289 yards, TD, interception) five times. Pittsburgh was 4 of 9 on third down conversions at Heinz Field and held on to the ball for 27:58, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 32:02, going 6 of 14 and 2 of 4 on third and fourth downs.

The Steelers beat Kansas City 43-14 in week four at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 29-0 at the half and never looked back. Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards and five TDs, while Bell ran for 144 yards (Pittsburgh outrushed Kansas City 149-87). Alex Smith threw for 287 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off once. The victorious Steelers were 6 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunday night contest in the Steel City and kept the ball for 29:24, while Kansas City was 8 of 17 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:36. This time, the Chiefs are a 2-point favorite in the Show-Me State and the over/under is 45. The home teams last week went 4-0 and we expect that trend to continue through the post-season party. Steelers make this one close but Chiefs keep things up to date in Kansas City and moves on to the championship round.

Saturday and Sunday Playoff Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

Oakland at Houston, 4:35 p.m. Saturday on ESPN/ABC: TBD. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Oakland), 82 (Houston). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Oakland), 82 (Houston).

Detroit at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. Saturday on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Detroit), 82 (Seattle). XM: 88 (WetsWood1), 225 (Detroit), 82 (Seattle).

Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 p.m. Sunday on CBS: TBD. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Miami), 82 (Pittsburgh). XM: 88 (WestWood1),
225 (Miami), 82 (Pittsburgh).

New York Giants at Green Bay, 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX: TBD. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New York Giants), 82 (Green Bay). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (XM), 82 (Green Bay).

Saturday and Sunday Officials
Oakland at Houston, 4:35 p.m. Saturday – Ronald Torbert
Detroit at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. Saturday – Brad Allen
Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 p.m. Sunday – Craig Wrolstad
New York Giants at Green Bay, 4:40 p.m. Sunday – Ed Hochuli

Saturday and Sunday Odds (Home Teams in CAPS)

Saturday’s Games
Favorite         Spread       Underdog         O/U
HOUSTON          –  3 1/2     Oakland          36 1/2
SEATTLE          –  8         Detroit          42 1/2

Sunday’s Games
Favorite         Spread       Underdog         O/U
PITTSBURGH       – 10         Miami            47
GREEN BAY        –  4 1/2     New York Giants  44

Saturday and Sunday Injury Report  Oakland at Houston, 4:35 p.m. Saturday

Oakland
OUT: QB Derek Carr (Ankle), T Donald Penn (Knee)

Houston
OUT: QB Thomas Savage (Concussion), LB John Simon (Chest)

Detroit at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Detroit
QUESTIONABLE: LB DeAndre Levy (Knee), T Riley Reiff (Hip), WR Andre Roberts (Shoulder), C Travis Swanson (Concussion)

Seattle
OUT: DT Anthony McDaniel (Concussion), RB C.J. Prosise (Shoulder)

Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 p.m. Sunday

Miami
DOUBTFUL: CB Byron Maxwell (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Tony Lippett (Thigh), LB Jelani Jenkins (Knee), S Bacarri Rambo (Chest)

Pittsburgh
QUESTIONABLE: LB Vince Williams (Shoulder), TE Ladarius Green (Concussion), S Robert Golden (Ankle)

New York Giants at Green Bay, 4:40 p.m. Sunday

New York Giants
DOUBTFUL: DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Core Muscle)

Green Bay
OUT – CB Quinten Rollins (Neck), RB James Starks (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Damarious Randall (Knee), C Joseph Tretter (Knee), T Bryan Bulaga (Abdomen), WR Randall Cobb (Ankle), LB Jayrone Elliott (Hand), LB Nicholas Perry (Hand), LB Joe Thomas (Back)

Saturday and Sunday Weather
Oakland at Houston, 4:35 p.m. Saturday (Game indoors)
Detroit at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. Saturday (Cloudy and 35 degrees)
Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 p.m. Sunday (Cloudy and 18 degrees)
New York Giants at Green Bay, 4:35 p.m. Sunday (Mostl cloudy and 14 degrees)

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

For 20 NFL teams, their seasons came to an end Sunday afternoon. While those teams are preparing for the upcoming draft and hiring new coaches, 12 other teams have made it to their goal of getting to the playoffs. It’s this time of year that becomees a little different. In a 16-game schedule, you lose a game, your next game is next week. Here, you lose and your next game is next year. Win and advance. That’s the goal for the 12 that are left standing. Eight of those teams get underway this weekend, while the other four (Dallas, Atlanta, New England and Kansas City) get to prepare for the next round because they have byes and will host next Saturday and Sunday.

ICYMI: The road to the AFC Championship goes through Foxoboro! New England, with their 35-14 win at Miami, clinched the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated San Diego 37-27, allowing them to win the AFC West and earned a first-round bye due to today’s victory combined with Oakland’s 24-6 loss at Denver.

Oakland enters the postseason as the number 5 seed and travels to Houston, who won the AFC South title.

Pittsburgh needed overtime to beat the Cleveland Browns and will host the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round at Heinz Field on Sunday.

In the NFC, Dallas secured the top seed in the NFC and has home-field advantage throughout the the NFC playoffs.

Atlanta, already with the NFC South title in hand, secured the number two seed with their 38-32 win over their NFC South rivals from New Orleans. The contest was the 199th and final regualr-season contest for the Georgia Dome and the Falcons will be moving to the Mercedes-Benz Dome next door.

The NFC North champion was determined Sunday as Green Bay defeated Detoit 31-24 at Ford Field in the Motor City. Both teams clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day with the NEW YORK GIANTS’ 19-10 win at Washington. Green Bay secured the number 4 seed and host the Giants in the Wild Card round.

The Seattle Seahawks have clinched the NFC West, taking the 3rd seed and will host Detroit Saturday afternoon.

New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 25 of 33 passes (75.8 percent) for 276 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 130.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ 35-14 win at Miami. Brady finished the regular season with 28 touchdown passes and two interceptions, recording the highest touchdown/interception ratio in NFL history.

Brady has 51 career games with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions, tying Peyton Manning for the most such games in league history.

Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott finished the regular season with a 104.9 passer rating and surpassed Robert Griffin III (102.4 in 2012) for the highest single-season passer rating by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott completed 311 of 459 passes (67.8 percent) for 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. His 0.9 interception percentage is the lowest by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (minimum 200 passing attempts).

Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the league with 1,631 rushing yards. Elliott, who has the third-highest rushing total by a rookie in NFL history, would be the fifth rookie since 1970 to lead the league in rushing yards and the first since Edgerrin James (1,553 yards) in 1999.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 27 of 36 passes (75.0 percent) for 331 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 139.9 passer rating in the Falcons’ 38-32 win over New Orleans.

Ryan completed 373 of 534 passes (69.9 percent) for 4,944 yards with 38  touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 117.1 passer rating, the fifth-highest single-season passer rating in NFL history.

Ryan’s opponent, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 350 yards and two touchdowns against Atlanta. Brees has 5,208 passing yards this season, the fourth-highest single-season passing total in NFL history.

Brees, who also recorded 5,000 passing yards in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, owns five of the NFL’s nine all-time 5,000-yard passing seasons and is the only quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 5,000 yards in multiple seasons.

Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford completed 25 of 33 passes (75.8 percent) for 250 yards with three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 38-10 victory over NFC North rival Chicago. Bradford completed 395 of 552 passes for a 71.6 completion percentage this season, the highest single-season completion percentage in NFL history, surpassing Drew Brees’ mark of 71.2 percent (468 of 657) in 2011.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 202 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ 17-16 win over Carolina. Winston, who passed for 4,042 yards as a rookie last year, finished this season with a career-high 4,090 passing yards. He is the first player in NFL history to record at least 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons. Winston has 50 career touchdown passes and is the fifth player in league history to throw at least 50 touchdown passes in his first two seasons.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five receptions, including a touchdown, in the Cardinals’ 44-6 win at Los Angeles. Fitzgerald leads the NFL with 107 catches and at 33 years, 123 days old, would be the oldest player to lead the league in receptions since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (34 years, 71 days) in 1996.

After an exciting finish to the regular season, the NFL’s second season has arrived.

“The only thing that matters is what we do now,” says Dallas head coach Jason Garrett, who led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the number 1 seed in the NFC. “We’ve put ourselves in a great position. It’s time to get back to work.”

“We’ve got four games left to win it all,” Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell told KDKA-TV. “We’re on a nice winning streak now, so I know we can do it. We’ve got a lot of work to do but the road is getting very narrow. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to finish and execute. That’s what these games are about.”

Week 17 came right down to the wire. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010. Two divisions (AFC West and NFC North) wound up being “winner-take-all” situations and were decided on the last day of the regular season, including the NFC North in game No. 256 of 256 as Green Bay defeated Detroit to claim the division title.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to win the NFC North,” Packers linebacker Clay Matthews told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Now we get a home game and can keep this playoff atmosphere and vibe that we’ve had for the past six weeks going. We didn’t want to limp into the playoffs. We finished strong. Now that we’re in the playoffs, it’s all about taking it to the next level.”

The final 12 teams are now set. It doesn’t matter how you got here. All that matters is that you’re here.

“Playing in the postseason is a great tribute to the way we’ve played all season and found ways to win games,” says New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Manning told the New York Times, WCBS Sports and USA Today, “We’re excited about the opportunity to be in the playoffs and having a chance to win a championship.”

The Giants are one of six new teams in this year’s playoff field, joining Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami and Oakland. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Let’s not forget the regular season, kids…

Close games and great comeback victories… new teams making the playoffs and winning divisions… consistent teams excelling once again… records falling… young players making their mark… and so much more.

The 2016 season had it all, including a fantastic finish.

Week 17 came right down to the wire as two division titles – the AFC West and NFC North – were decided on the season’s final day. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Six of the NFL’s eight divisions featured new champions in 2016, the most in a season since 2011.

The 2016 season featured many exciting games with close finishes, as 57 percent were decided by one score – 146 of 256 games were decided by eight or fewer points, the most of any season in NFL history.

Each of the 12 teams still in Super Bowl LI contention can look back at the wild ride that was the 2016 regular season and appreciate how challenging the road to the playoffs was.

Dallas (13-3), led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookierunning back Ezekiel Elliott, wrapped up the Number 1 seed in the NFC for the first time since 2007.

“It is a whole new season now,” says Prescott of advancing to the postseason after finishing with the top record in the NFC. “Everything you do from this point on is really how you get looked at at the end of the year. So that is important to us, looking forward and playing a long time in this postseason,” he told the Dallas Morning News.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. Six teams that missed the postseason in 2015 – Atlanta (11-5), Dallas (13-3), Detroit (9-7), Miami (10-6), the New York Giants (11-5) and Oakland (12-4) – accomplished the feat this year.

“It’s so much fun when you get a playoff game at home in front of your own crowd and the energy that kind of comes along with that,” says Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn, who helped guide the Falcons to the NFC South title. Quinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV, WXIA-TV and WAGA-TV, “It’s a byproduct of winning your division, where you’re guaranteed a home game. And then if you have a chance to go past that where better things can happen, then you go from there. It’s a significant thing and a really cool experience.”

The 2016 season also proved that consistency is difficult but not impossible, to maintain in the NFL. New England won their eighth consecutive AFC East division title (2009-present), surpassing the 1973-79 Rams for the most consecutive division championships in NFL history. The Patriots, who finished with a 14-2 record, tied the 2003-09 Colts as the only teams in NFL history with at least 12 wins in seven consecutive seasons.

Pittsburgh at 11-5 earned the 600th regular-season victory in franchise history this season, becoming the fourth franchise is NFL history to reach 600 wins. The Steelers (601) joined the Chicago Bears (744), Green Bay Packers (730) and New York Giants (684) as the only franchises with at least 600 regular-season victories.

The NFL is never short on surprises and that leads to the excitement we witnessed in 2016:

COMPELLING COMPETITION: Games continued to be close, as more than half of all games were decided by one score.

GAMES DECIDED BY ONE SCORE

POINTS – GAMES (PCT.)
8 or Fewer – 146 of 256 (57)
7 or Fewer – 135 of 256 (52.7)

This season, 146 of 256 games (57.0 percent) were decided by eight or fewer points, the most of any season in NFL history.

SEASON – MOST GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT OR FEWER POINTS
2016 – 146
2015 – 140
2002 – 137
2011 – 132
2003 – 132

In 2016, 135 of 256 games (52.7 percent) were decided by seven or fewer points, also the most of any season in NFL history.

SEASON – MOST GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN OR FEWER POINTS
2016 – 135
2015 – 131
2002 – 126
2011 – 125
2003 – 124

Seventy-two percent of games (184 of 256) were within eight points in the fourth quarter, the highest percentage since the institution of the two-point conversion in 1994.

The 184 games are the most of any season in NFL history.

SEASON – MOST GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN FOURTH QUARTER
2016 – 184
2002 – 177
2004 – 175
2015 – 174
2013 – 174

170 of the season’s 256 games (66.4 percent) were within seven points in the fourth quarter, the most of any season in NFL history.

SEASON – MOST GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN FOURTH QUARTER
2016 -170
2013 – 168
2010 – 167
2004 – 167
2002 – 167

Games continued to have a flare for the dramatic, as tight contests frequentlycame down to the wire.

In 2016, the average margin of victory was 10.23 points per game, the third-smallest margin in NFL history and the lowest figure since 1935 (10.08 points per game).

The lowest single-season margins of victory in NFL history:

SEASON – MARGIN OF VICTORY

1932 – 9.13
1935 – 10.08
2016 – 10.23
1994 – 10.42
1938 – 10.58

There were 72 games won by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter in 2016, the most such games in a season in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of 70 in 1989.

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER
2016 – 72
1989 – 70
2013 – 69
2015 – 67
2008 – 67
2001 – 67

THESE CATS HAVE MORE THAN NINE LIVES: The Detroit Lions won eight games when trailing in the fourth quarter in 2016, the most in a single season in NFL history.

The teams with the most wins after trailing in the fourth quarter in a single season in NFL history:

SEASON – TEAM (GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER)
2016 – Detroit (8)
2009 – Indianapolis (7)
Many Tied with 6

Dallas clinched the NFC East division title, which marked the 13th time in the past 14 seasons that one or more teams went from last or tied for last place to a division championship the following year.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division since 2003:

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD / PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003 – Carolina (11-5 / 7-9)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3 / 8-8)*
2004 – Atlanta (11-5 / 5-11)
2004 – San Diego (12-4 / 4-12)*
2005 – Chicago (11-5 / 5-11)
2005 – New York Giants (11-5 / 6-10)*
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5 / 5-11)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3 / 6-10)*
2006 – New Orleans (10-6 / 3-13)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6 / 6-10)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7 / 4-12)
2008 – Miami (11-5 / 1-15)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3 / 8-8)**
2010 – Kansas City (10-6 / 4-12)
2011 – Denver (8-8 / 4-12)
2011 – Houston (10-6 / 6-10)*
2012 – Washington (10-6 / 5-11)
2013 – Carolina (12-4 / 7-9)*
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6 / 4-12)
2015 – Washington (9-7 / 4-12)
2016 – Dallas (13-3 / 4-12)

* Tied for last place
** Won Super Bowl

New England captured their eighth consecutive division title, the longest streak in NFL history, breaking a tie with the 1973-79 Los Angeles Rams (seven). The Patriots are the only team in NFL history to win 13 division titles in a 14-year span.

SCORING: A total of 11,661 points were scored during the 2016 season, the third-highest total all-time (11,985 points in 2013 and 11,680 points in 2015). Games averaged 45.55 points per game, the third-highest average since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and trailing only the 46.82 points per game average in 2013 and the 45.63 average in 2015. In all, 1,306 total touchdowns were scored, also the third-most all-time.

Nine teams scored at least 400 points this season – Atlanta (540), New Orleans (469), New England (441), Green Bay (432), Dallas (421), Arizona (418), Oakland (416), Indianapolis (411) and San Diego (410) – tying the 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2015 seasons for the second-most all-time. Those nine teams combined for a .601 winning percentage and five qualified for the playoffs.

PASSING: NFL QBs put together a historically proficient and prolific year in 2016.

The league-wide completion percentage (63.0) tied the previous record set in 2015, while the league-wide passer rating (89.3) ranked second behind only the 2015 season (90.2). There were 786 touchdown passes thrown in 2016, the fourth-highest total in NFL history.

The league-wide interception percentage of 2.3 percent was the lowest of any season in NFL history, surpassing the previous mark of 2.4 in 2015.

Games averaged 700.8 total net yards per game, the second-best mark in NFL annals (705.3 in 2015). Explosive passing offenses fueled that trend, with an average of 483.0 net passing yards per game, the second-highest total all-time (487.6 in 2015).

There were 57 individual performances with three touchdown passes without an interception in 2016, the third-highest of any season in NFL history (59 in 2015, 58 in 2014).

New England quarterback Tom Brady (205) surpassed Peyton Manning (200) as the all-time wins leader (including playoffs) in NFL history.

Brady finished the regular season with 28 touchdown passes and two interceptions, recording the highest touchdown/interception ratio in NFL history.

Quarterbacks Drew Brees of New Orleans and Tom Brady of New England both climbed higher on the all-time list for career passing yards. Brees ranks third all-time in passing yards (66,111), while Brady ranks fourth (61,582), as both players surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (61,361) during the 2016 season. Only Peyton Manning (71,940) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) have more career passing yards.

The New York Giants’ Eli Manning (320), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (314) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (301) each reached 300 career passing touchdowns during the season, becoming the eighth, ninth and tenth quarterbacks in NFL history, respectively, to reach the mark.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan recorded a 117.1 passer rating in 2016, the fifth-highest single-season passer rating in NFL history.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees led the NFL with 5,208 passing yards in 2016, the fourth-highest passing yardage total in league history. Brees is the first player to lead the league in passing yards seven times, extending his NFL record.

Brees (2008, 2011-13, 2016) has five of the nine individual 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history and is the only quarterback in league history to pass for at least 5,000 yards in multiple seasons. Brees also has 53,763 passing yards in his 11 seasons with the Saints, is the sixth quarterback to pass for 50,000 yards with one team.

Brees had two 400-yard passing games in 2016. In 16 seasons, Brees has 15 career 400-yard passing games, surpassing Peyton Mannig (14) for the most such games in NFL history.

Brees had a league-leading 10 300-yard passing games in 2016 and his 106 career 300-yard passing games are the most in NFL history.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the NFL with 40 passing touchdowns in 2016. Rodgers, who passed for 45 touchdowns in 2011, became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan MArino (two), Peyton Manning (two) and Drew Brees (two).

Brees ranked third in the NFL with 37 touchdown passes, joining Tom Brady (four), Manning (four) and Rodgers (four) as the only players in NFL history with at least 35 touchdown passes in four different seasons.

Brees has passed for at least 30 touchdowns in nine consecutive seasons, extending his NFL-record streak.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Lions on eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in 2016, the most such drives by a quarterback in a single season since 1970.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston had 4,090 passing yards and became the irst player in NFL history with at least 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons.

Winston (50) is one of only five quarterbacks to pass for at least 50 touchdowns over his first two seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (68), Derek Carr (53), Peyton Mannign (52) and Russell Wilson (52).

Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford completed 395 of 552 attempts for an NFL-record 71.6 completion percentage, surpassing Drew Brees’ record of 71.2 percent in 2011.

Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 3,667 yards with 23  touchdowns and four interceptions for a 104.9 rating in 2016. Prescott joined Tom Brady (2010, 2016) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 3,500 passing yards and fewer than five interceptions in a season and is the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

RUSHING & RECEIVING: Several running backs enjoyed historic seasons in 2016:

Seven players registered at least 10 rushing touchdowns in 2016 – New England’s Le Garrette Blount (18), Arizona’s David Johnson (16), Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (15), Buffalo’s Le Sean McCoy (13), Oakland’s Latavius Murray (12), Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman (11) and San Diego’s Melvin Gordon (10).

Twelve players registered at least 1,000 rushing yards this season – Elliott (1,631), Chicago’s Jordan Howard (1,313), Tennessee’s De Marco Murray (1,287), Miami’s Jay Ajayi (1,272), Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell (1,268), McCoy (1,267), Johnson (1,239), Blount (1,161), Freeman (1,079), Houston’s Lamar Miller (1,073), New Orleans’ Mark Ingram (1,043) and Indianapolis’ Frank Gore (1,025).

Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards this season, becoming the fifth rookie since 1970 to lead the league in rushing yards and the first since Edgerrin James (1,553 yards) in 1999.

Elliott had 1,994 scrimmage yards (1,631 rushing, 363 receiving) this season, the third-highest total by a rookie in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 in 1983) and James (2,139 in 1999). Indianapolis running back Frank Gore (13,065) became the eighth player in NFL history to reach 13,000 career rushing yards.

Gore, who had 1,025 rushing yards this season, became the fifth player in NFL history with at least nine seasons of 1,000 rushing yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (11), Curtis Martin (10), Walter Payton (10) and Barry Sanders (10).

Three players registered at least 100 receptions in 2016 – Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (107), Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (106) and the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham, Jr. (101).

Six players recorded at least 1,200 receiving yards in 2016 – Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton (1,448), Atlanta’ Julio Jones (1,409), Beckham (1,367), Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (1,321), Brown (1,284) and Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson (1,257).

Five players had at least 10 touchdown catches in 2016 – Nelson (14), GreenBay’s Davante Adams (12), Brown (12), Evans (12) and Beckham (10).

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald led the NFL with 107 catches and at 33 years, 123 days old, became the oldest player to lead the league in receptions since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (34 years, 71 days) in 1996.

Fitzgerald has four career seasons with at least 100 catches, trailing only Brandon Marshall (six), Andre Johnson (five) and Wes Welker (five) all-time.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio BrownN ranked second in the NFL with 106 catches this season and has 481 receptions over the past four seasons, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (469 from 1999-2002) for the most catches in any four-year span in NFL history.

Brown has four consecutive seasons with at least 100 catches, tying Harrison (four from 1999-2002) for the most consecutive 100-catch seasons in NFL history.

Wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona and ANQUAN BOLDIN of Detroit each played in their 200th career games in Week 16. Fitzgerald (1,116) has the most career receptions in a player’s first 200 games in NFL history, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,115).

Boldin had 1,067 career receptions through 200 career games, the fourth-highest total in NFL history. The only players with more are Fitzgerald (1,116), Rice (1,115) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (1,102).

Boldin had 67 catches this season, the 14th consecutive season he has caught 50+ passes since entering the league in 2003. That is the longest streak to begin a career in NFL history.

Fitzgerald, who recorded his 13th consecutive season with 50+ catches, has the second-longest such streak to begin a career.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. finished third in the NFL with a career-high 101 catches. Beckham has 288 receptions through his first three seasons, tied with Miami’s JARVIS LANDRY for the most through a player’s first three seasons in NFL history.

Beckham has 4,122 receiving yards through his first three seasons and is one of only two players in NFL history to record at least 4,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons (Randy Moss, 4,163 from 1998-2000).

Beckham and Landry are the only two players in NFL history with at least 80 catches in each of their first three seasons in the NFL.

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr., who has 1,031 career catches, became the 14th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.

Smith (14,731) climbed to seventh place in NFL history in receiving yards, while Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (14,389) moved into ninth place all-time.

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates had seven receiving touchdowns in 2016 and has 111 career touchdown catches, tying Tony Gonzalez for the most by a tight end in NFL history.

Gates brought his career receiving yards total to 11,192, becoming the third tight end in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards, joining Gonzalez (15,127) and Jason Witten (11,888).

Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, who had 1,073 receiving yards this season, became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

VERSATILE PERFORMANCES: Arizona running back DAVID JOHNSON led the league with 2,118 scrimmage yards (1,239 rushing, 879 receiving) and became the fourth different player with at least 1,200 rushing yards and 800 receiving yards in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall (1998-2000), Steven Jackson (2006) and Le’Veon Bell (2014).

Johnson recorded at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first 15 games this season, becoming the first player in NFL history to start a season with 15 consecutive games with 100+ scrimmage yards.

Johnson tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15) as the only players in NFL history to record 15 consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in a single season.

Indianapolis running back Frank Gore, who has 13,065 rushing yards and 414 receptions in his career, became the fifth player in NFL history with at least 13,000 rushing yards and 400 receptions. Gore joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith and La Dainian Tomlinson as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Gore had 1,302 scrimmage yards (1,025 rushing, 277 receiving) this season, becoming the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,200 scrimmage yards in 11 consecutive seasons.

Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles had two receiving touchdowns in 2016, bringing his career total to 30 touchdown catches. Sproles is the only player in NFL history with at least 30 receiving touchdowns (30), 20 rushing touchdowns (22) and five punt-return touchdowns (seven).

Kansas City rookie wide receiver-return specialist Tyreek Hill became the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965 to have a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown in the same game in the Chiefs’ Week 12 overtime victory at Denver.

Hill is the only player in NFL history to record at least three receiving touchdowns (six), three rushing touchdowns (three) and three total kick-return touchdowns (three) in a single season.

GETTING THEIR KICKS: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted 43 consecutive field-goal attempts dating back to 2015, the longest streak in NFL history, surpassing Mike Vanderjagt’s previous record of 42.

With 125 points this season, Vinatieri became the only player in NFL history to score 100+ points in 19 different seasons.

Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who has converted 55 career 50+ yard field goals, surpassed Jason Hanson (52) for the most 50-yard field goals in NFL history.

Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker converted 10 50+ yard field goals in 2016, tying Blair Walsh (10) for the most 50-yard field goals in a single season in NFL history.

Tucker converted 38 of 39 field goal attempts (97.4 percent) in 2016, the third-highest single-season field-goal percentage in NFL history (minimum 20 attempts). Only Gary Anderson (35 of 35 in 1998) and Mike Vanderjagt (37 of 37 in 2003) have higher single-season field-goal percentages.

DEFENSE: With all that offense, defenses were heard from as well. Four of the top fiveNFL teams in scoring defense qualified for the playoffs – New England (15.6), the New York Giants (17.8), Seattle (18.3) and Dallas (19.1). Those four clubs had a combined winning percentage of .758.

Four of the top five teams in turnover margin advanced to the postseason and won at least 10 games each – Kansas City (+16), Oakland (+16), New England (+12) and Atlanta (+11). Those four clubs had a combined .766 winning percentage.

Green Bay linebacker Julius Peppers had 7.5 sacks and climbed to fifth place on the NFL’s all-time sack leaderboard with 143.5 career sacks. Denver linebacker De Marcus Ware had four sacks and has 138.5 sacks in his career, the eighth-most in the NFL since the statistic became official in 1982.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry became the first player to return an interception for both a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the same game in the Chiefs’ Week 13 win at Atlanta.

Berry intercepted a two-point conversion attempt and returned it for the go-ahead score with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Chiefs’ 29-28 victory over the Falcons, marking the first game-winning defensive two-point conversion scored when his team was trailing since the rule was adopted in 2015. He also added a 37-yard interception-return touchdown in the contest.

The Arizona Cardinals (Markus Golden, 12.5; Chandler Jones, 11) and Seattle Seahawks (Cliff Avril, 11.5; Frank Clark, 10) were the only teams with two players who each had double-digit sacks.

New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (six) and safety Landon Collins (five) were the only pair of NFL teammates with at least five interceptions in 2016.

Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley, Jr. led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and tied for the league lead with six forced fumbles in 2016, becoming the first player in franchise history to record at least 15 sacks and five forced fumbles in a single season.

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul became the first player with at least three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown of at least 40 yards in the same game since 1982, the first year individual sacks became an official statistic, when he registered a career-high three sacks and a 43-yard fumble-return touchdown in the Giants’ Week 12 victory at Cleveland.

Oakland defensive end Khalil Mack recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games in 2016, tying for the sixth-longest streak in the NFL since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Mack was the only player in the NFL this season with at least 10 sacks (11) and an interception-return touchdown.

REMARKABLE ROOKIES: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 311 of 459 passes (67.8 percent) for 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions for a 104.9 passer rating, the highest single-season passer rating by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott’s 0.9 interception percentage is the lowest by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (minimum 200 passing attempts). The rookie began his career with 176 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, surpassing Tom Brady (162) for the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career.

Prescott helped guide the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, tying Ben Roethlisberger (13 in 2004) for the most wins by a rookie starting quarterback in NFL history.

Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards this season, the third-highest single-season total by a rookie running in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,808 in 1983) and George Rogers (1,674 in 1981).

Elliott had five games with at least 125 rushing yards, trailing only Dickerson (seven in 1983) for the most ever by a rookie. Dallas became the only team in NFL history to have a rookie pass for 20 touchdowns (Prescott, 23) and a rookie rush for 15 touchdowns (Elliott, 15) in the same season.

Chicago rookie running back Jordan Howard finished second in the NFL with 1,313 rushing yards in 2016. Elliott and Howard became the first pair of rookies to finish first and second in the league in rushing yards since Paul Robinson (1,023) and Robert Holmes (866) of the AFL in 1968. Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz became the first rookie since 1970 to start and win his team’s first three games to begin a season without throwing an interception.

Wentz, who had 379 completions this season, set the NFL record for the most completions by a rookie, surpassing SAM BRADFORD (354 in 2010).

Kansas City rookie wide receiver-return specialist Tyreek Hill had six receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, two punt-return touchdowns and one kick-return touchdown in 2016, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only players in NFL history to have at least five receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, a kick-return touchdown and a punt-return touchdown in the same season.

Houston wide receiver Will Fuller had a five-yard touchdown catch and a 67-yard punt-return touchdown in the Texans’ Week 4 win over Tennessee, becoming the fourth rookie in the past 15 years to record both a touchdown catch and a punt-return touchdown in the same game.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WILD CARD WEEKEND

FROM WILD CARD ROUND TO SUPER BOWL: Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl nine times. At least one Super Bowl participant in six of the past 11 years played a Wild Card Game.

The Wild Card round participants to win the Super Bowl:

SEASON – TEAM (SUPER BOWL RESULT)
1980 – Oakland (Defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV, 27-10)
1997 – Denver (Defeated Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24)
2000 – Baltimore (Defeated New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7)
2005 – Pittsburgh (Defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL, 21-10)
2006 – Indianapolis (Defeated Chicago in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17)
2007 – New York Giants (Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14)
2010 – Green Bay (Defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25)
2011 – New York Giants (Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17)
2012 – Baltimore (Defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31)

WINNING PARTICIPANTS: Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Oakland will each be playing on Wild Card Weekend. Oakland travels to Houston
at 4:35 p.m. on ESPN/ABC on Saturday in the opening game of Wild Card Weekend. On Sunday, Pittsburgh will host Miami at 1:05 p.m. on CBS, while Green Bay will face the New York Giants at Lambeau Field at 4:40 p.m. on FOX.

The Steelers (34) are tied with Dallas (34) for the most postseason wins in NFL history, while the Packers (32) and Raiders (25) rank third and sixth, respectively, in all-time playoff victories. New England, who is the Number 1 overall seed in the AFC, have 29 postseason victories, the fifth-most all-time.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM (WINS-LOSSES, WIN PCT.; SUPER BOWL WINS)
Pittsburgh (34-23, .596; 6)*
Dallas (34-26, .567; 5)**
Green Bay (32-21, .604; 4)*
San Francisco (30-20, .600; 5)
New England (29-19, .604; 4)**
Oakland (25-18, .581; 3)*
*Play this weekend
**First-round bye

Green Bay (.604) owns the third-best winning percentage in postseason history, while Pittsburgh (.596) and Oakland (.581) rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

The teams with the highest postseason winning percentage in NFL history:

TEAM (WIN PCT. WINS-LOSSES; SUPER BOWL WINS)
Baltimore Ravens (.652, 15-8; 2)
New England (.604, 29-19; 4)**
Green Bay (.604, 32-21; 4)*
San Francisco (.600, 30-20; 5)
Pittsburgh (.596, 34-23; 6)*
Oakland (.581, 25-18; 3)*
*Play this weekend
**First-round bye

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown for at least 300 yards in four postseason games in his career.

With 300 passing yards against the Giants on Sunday, Rodgers would put himself in some pretty good company and would join Tom
Brady (10), Peyton Manning (nine), Drew Brees (six), Kurt Warner (six) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana (six) and Dan Fouts (five) as the only quarterbacks to have at least five 300-yard passing games in NFL postseason history.

The quarterbacks with the most 300-yard passing performances in NFL postseason history:

PLAYER – MOST 300-YARD PASSING GAMES IN POSTSEASON
Tom Brady – 10*
Peyton Manning – 9
Drew Brees – 6
Joe Montana – 6 ^
Kurt Warner – 6
Dan Fouts – 5^
Aaron Rodgers – 4*
*Active in 2016 playoffs
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for at least 300 passing yards in each of his first two career postseason starts.

With 300 passing yards on Saturday night at Seattle, Stafford will join Fouts as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of his first three postseason games. Fouts recorded four consecutive games with 300 passing yards to begin his postseason career.

The most consecutive 300-yard passing contests to start a career in postseason history:

PLAYER – TEAM (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS)
Dan Fouts – San Diego (4)
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (2)*
Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle (2)
Marc Bulger – St. Louis Rams (2)
*Active streak

WINNING WILSON: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to five consecutive postseason appearances in his first five seasons in the NFL.

With a start against the Lions on Saturday night at Century Link Field, Wilson would join Joe Flacco (2008-12) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to start a playoff game in each of his first five seasons beginning with his rookie year.

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2008-12)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-15)*
*Entering fifth postseason

With a win over Detroit on Saturday, Wilson, who has seven career playoff wins through his first four seasons, will tie Ben Roethlisberger (eight) for the third-most postseason victories by a starting quarterback in his first five seasons.

The quarterbacks with the most postseason victories in their first five seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, POSTSEASON WINS)
Tom Brady, New England (2000-04, 9)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2008-12, 9)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004-08, 8)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-15, 7)*
*Entering fifth postseason

BIG-PLAY BOLDIN: Detroit wide receiver Anquan Boldin has eight touchdown receptions in his postseason career.

With two touchdown catches at Seattle on Saturday, Boldin would move into a tie for third place in touchdown receptions in NFL postseason history.

The players with the most touchdown catches in postseason history:
PLAYER – TOUCHDOWN CATCHES
Jerry Rice – 22^
John Stallworth – 12^
Fred Biletnikoff – 10^
Antonio Freeman – 10
Randy Moss – 10
Hines Ward – 10
Rob Gronkowski – 9
Andre Reed – 9^
Steve Smith Sr. – 9
Lynn Swann – 9^
Reggie Wayne – 9
Anquan Boldin – 8*
*Active in 2016 postseason
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

NEW FACES: Several teams may feature a quarterback making his first career playoff start. Among those are Dallas rookie DAK PRESCOTT, Houston’s Brock Osweiler, Miami’s Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill and Oakland rookie Connor Cook.

With a start against Houston on Saturday, Oakland’s Cook would become the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in the postseason.

The players with the most passing yards in their first career postseason start:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, ROUND – PASSING YARDS)
Kelly Holcomb, Cleveland (2002, AFC Wild Card – 429)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2009, NFC Wlid Card – 423)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (1988, NFC Divisonal – 407)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, NFC Divisonal – 391)
Neil Lomax, St. Louis Cardinals (1982, NFC Wild Card – 385)

BOUNCING BACK: Miami overcame a 1-4 start to the 2016 season to make the playoffs with a 10-6 record. The Dolphins are the ninth team since 1990 to qualify for the postseason after starting a season with a 1-4 record.

With a win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Dolphins would become the sixth team since 1990 to win a postseason game after beginning a season with a 1-4 record. The Kansas City Chiefs accomplished the feat last season, defeating the Houston Texans 30-0 in the Wild Card round.

The teams to qualify for the postseason after beginning the season with a 1-4 record since 1990:

TEAM – SEASON (POSTSEASON WINS, ADVANCED TO)
Kansas City – 2015 (1, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
Denver – 2011 (1, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
New York Jets – 2002 (1, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
Tennessee – 2002 (1, AFC Championship)
San Diego – 1982 (1, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
Houston Texans – 2015 (0, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
Green Bay – 2004 (0, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
Houston Oilers – 1993 (0, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
Miami – 2016 (???, ???)*
*Play in Wild Card round on Sunday

FRESH FACES & CONSISTENT WINNERS HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF FIELD: There are six new playoff teams in 2016: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, the New York Giants and Oakland. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
Six of the NFL’s eight divisions featured new division champions from last season, the most in a season since 2011 (seven). Only New England (AFC East) and Houston (AFC South) were repeat division champions.

Division – 2016 winner (2015 winner)
AFC NORTH – Pittsburgh (Cincinnati)
AFC WEST – Kansas City (Denver
NFC EAST – Dallas (Washington)
NFC NORTH – Green Bay (Minnesota)
NFC SOUTH – Atlanta (Carolina)
NFC WEST – Seattle (Arizona)
In the 15 seasons since realignment in 2002, 28 of the 32 NFL teams have won a division title at least once.

How the 2016 playoff teams have fared in the 15 seasons since realignment in 2002 (2016 division winners in bold/italics):

TEAM (DIVISION TITLES, PLAYOFF BERTHS)
New England (13, 13)
Green Bay (9, 12)
Seattle (8, 11)
Pittsburgh (7, 10)
Atlanta (4, 7)
Dallas (4, 6)
Houston (4, 4)
New York Giants (3, 7)
Kansas City Chiefs
Miami (1, 2)
Oakland (1, 2)
Detroit (0, 3)

The Dallas Cowboys rebounded to win the NFC East after finishing in last place in 2015. This marked the 13th time in the past 14 seasons in which at least one team went from “worst-to-first” in its division.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions since 2003:

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD, PRIOR SEASON RECORD, ADVANCED TO)
2003 – Carolina (11-5, 7-9, Super Bowl XXXVIII)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3, 8-8, AFC Divisional Playoffs)*
2004 – Atlanta (11-5, 5-11, NFC Championship)
2004 – San Diego (12-4, 4-12, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2005 – Chicago (11-5, 5-11, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5, 5-11, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3, 6-10, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2006 – New Orleans (10-6, 3-13, NFC Championship)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6, 6-10, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7, 4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2008 – Miami (11-5, 1-15, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3, 8-8, Won Super Bowl XLIV)
2010 – Kansas City (10-6, 4-12, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2011 – Denver (8-8, 4-12, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2011 – Houston (10-6, 6-10, AFC Divisional Playoffs)*
2012 – Washington (10-6, 5-11, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2013 – Carolina (12-4, 7-9, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6, 4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Washington (9-7, 4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2016 – Dallas (13-3, 4-12, ???)
* Tied for last place

The 2016 field also showcases teams that have enjoyed recent postseason success. Since realignment in 2002, the New England Patriots have been to the playoffs 13 times, which is the most in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers are tied for second with 12 postseason berths and the Seattle Seahawks rank third with 11 playoff appearances.

The teams with the most playoff appearances since 2002 (includes 2016):

TEAM – POSTSEASON APPEARANCES
New England – 13 *
Green Bay – 12*
Indianapolis – 12
Seattle – 11*
Pittsburgh – 10*
Baltimore – 8
Denver – 8
Philadelphia – 8
*In 2016 postseason

Five of this season’s 12 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 2001, capturing eight of the past 15 Vince Lombardi Trophies. Those teams are Green Bay (XLV), New England (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLIX), the New York Giants (XLII, XLVI), Pittsburgh (XL, XLIII) and Seattle (XLVIII).

SUPER BOWL – SEASON (WINNER)
XXXVI – 2001 (New England)*
XXXVII – 2002 (Tampa Bay)
XXXVIII – 2003 (New England)*
XXXIX – 2004 (New England)*
XL – 2005 (Pittsburgh)*
XLI – 2006 (Indianapolis)
XLII – 2007 (New York Giants)*
XLIII – 2008 (Pittsburgh)*
XLIV – 2009 (New Orleans)
XLV – 2010 (Green Bay)*
XLVI – 2011 (New York Giants)*
XLVII – 2012 (Baltimore)
XLVIII – 2013 (Seattle)*
XLIX – 2014 (New England)*
50 (L) – 2015 (Denver)
*In 2016 postseason

ALL-TIME PLAYOFFS

The four franchises with the most postseason berths in NFL history – the Dallas Cowboys (32), Green Bay Packers (32), New York Giants (32) and Pittsburgh Steelers (30) – are all participants in the 2016 NFL playoffs.

The teams with the most seasons participating in the playoffs (includes 2016):

TEAM (PLAYOFF BERTHS)
Dallas (32)*
Green Bay (32)*
New York Giants (32)*
Pittsburgh (30)*
*In 2016 playoffs

The 12 playoff teams and their postseason records:

TEAM, W-L (PCT)
New England 29-19 (.604)
Green Bay 32-21 (604)
Pittsburgh 34-23 (.596)
Oakland 25-18 (.581)
Dallas, 34-26 (.567)
Seattle 15-14 (.517)
New York Giants 24-24 (.500)
Miami 20-20 (.500)
Houston Texans 2-3 (.400)
Atlanta 7-12 (.368)
Detroit 7-12 (.368)
Kansas City 9-16 (.360)

WILD CARD RECORDS

TEAM W-L (PCT)
Oakland 4-2 (.667)
Houston Texans 2-1 (.667)
Green Bay 9-5 (.643)
Seattle 7-4 (.636)
New York Giants 6-4 (.600)
Miami 6-5 (.545)
Pittsburgh 5-5 (.500)
Detroit 0-8 (.000)

DIVISIONAL RECORDS

TEAM W-L (PCT)
New England 13-6 (.684)
Dallas 15-10 (.600)
Atlanta 3-5 (.375)
Kansas City 2-7 (.222)

THE TEAMS

WINNING FEELING: The Green Bay Packers have won 13 NFL championships, the most in league history. Of the 12 playoff teams this season, 10 have won at least one championship.

NFL championships won by the 2016 playoff teams:

TEAM – NFL CHAMPIONSHIPS (SEASONS)
Green Bay – 13 (1929-31, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961-62, 1965-67, 1996, 2010)
New York Giants – 8 (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956, 1986, 1990, 2007, 2011)
Pittsburgh – 6 (1974-75, 1978-79, 2005, 2008)
Dallas – 5 (1971, 1977, 1992-93, 1995)
Detroit – 4 (1935, 1952-53, 1957)
New England – 4 (2001, 2003-04, 2014)
Oakland – 3 (1976, 1980, 1983)
Miami – 2 (1972-73)
Kansas City – 1 (1969)
Seattle – 1 (2013)
Atlanta – 0
Houston Texans – 0

PLAYOFF SUCCESS: The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers each have 34 postseason victories, tied for the most in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers (32) and New England Patriots (29) rank third and fifth, respectively, on the all-time postseason wins list.

The teams with the most playoff victories in NFL history:

TEAM – PLAYOFF WINS
Dallas – 34*
Pittsburgh – 34*
Green Bay – 32*
San Francisco – 30
New England – 29*
*In 2016 playoffs

Postseason victories for the 2016 playoff teams:

TEAM – PLAYOFF WINS
Dallas – 34
Pittsburgh – 34
Green Bay – 32
New England – 29
Oakland – 25
New York Giants – 24
Miami – 20
Seattle – 15
Kansas City – 9
Atlanta – 7
Detroit – 7
Houston Texans – 2

HOME SWEET HOME…MAYBE: For the first time since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, the Number 1 seed from both the AFC and NFC have advanced to the Super Bowl in three consecutive seasons. However, only 27 of the 52 (52 percent) Number 1 seeds have advanced to the Super Bowl, with 12 Number 1 seeds being crowned champions (23 percent).

Dallas is the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the fourth time since 1990 and the first since 2007, while the Patriots are the top seed in the AFC for the fourth time since 2010.

How the No. 1 seeds have fared since 1990:

SEASON

AFC NO. 1 SEED (SEASON RESULT)
1990 – Buffalo (Lost Super Bowl XXV)
1991 – Buffalo (Lost Super Bowl XXVI)
1992 – Pittsburgh (Lost Divisional)
1993 – Buffalo (Lost Super Bowl XXVIII)
1994 – Pittsburgh (Lost AFC Championship)
1995 – Kansas City (Lost Divisional)
1996 – Denver (Lost Divisional)
1997 – Kansas City (Lost Divisional)
1998 – Denver (Won Super Bowl XXXIII)
1999 – Jacksonville (Lost AFC Championship)
2000 – Tennessee (Lost Divisional)
2001 – Pittsburgh (Lost AFC Championship)
2002 – Oakland (Lost Super Bowl XXXVII)
2003 – New England (Won Super Bowl XXXVIII)
2004 – Pittsburgh (Lost AFC Championship)
2005 – Indianapolis (Lost Divisional)
2006 – San Diego (Lost Divisional)
2007 – New England (Lost Super Bowl XLII)
2007 – New England (Lost Super Bowl XLII)
2008 – Tennessee (Lost Divisional)
2009 – Indianapolis (Lost Super Bowl XLIV)
2010 – New England (Lost Divisional)
2011 – New England (Lost Super Bowl XLVI)
2012 – Denver (Lost Divisional)
2013 – Denver (Lost Super Bowl XLVIII)
2014 – New England (Won Super Bowl XLIX)
2015 – Denver (Won Super Bowl 50)
2016 – New England (???)

NFC NO. 1 SEED (SEASON RESULT)
1990 – San Francisco (Lost NFC Championship)
1991 – Washington (Won Super Bowl XXVI)
1992 – San Francisco (Lost NFC Championship)
1993 – Dallas (Won Super Bowl XXVIII)
1994 – San Francisco (Won Super Bowl XXIX)
1995 – Dallas (Won Super Bowl XXX)
1996 – Green Bay (Won Super Bowl XXXI)
1997 – San Francisco (Lost NFC Championship)
1998 – Minnesota (Lost NFC Championship)
1999 – St. Louis (Won Super Bowl XXXIV)
2000 – New York Giants (Lost Super Bowl XXXV)
2001 – St. Louis (Lost Super Bowl XXXVI)
2002 – Philadelphia (Lost NFC Championship)
2003 – Philadelphia (Lost NFC Championship)
2004 – Philadelphia (Lost Super Bowl XXXIX)
2005 – Seattle (Lost Super Bowl XL)
2006 – Chicago (Lost Super Bowl XLI)
2007 – Dallas (Lost Divisional)
2008 – New York Giants (Lost Divisional)
2009 – New Orleans (Won Super Bowl XLIV)
2010 – Atlanta (Lost Divisional)
2011 – Green Bay (Lost Divisional)
2012 – Atlanta (Lost NFC Championship)
2013 – Seattle (Won Super Bowl XLVIII)
2014 – Seattle (Lost Super Bowl XLIX)
2015 – Carolina (Lost Super Bowl 50)
2016 – Dallas (???)

DIVISION DOMINANCE: Since realignment in 2002, the New England Patriots have won 13 division titles, the most in the NFL during that span. The Green Bay Packers lead the NFC with nine division titles since 2002.

The teams with the most division titles since 2002:
TEAM – DIVISION TITLES
New England – 13*
Indianapolis – 9
Green Bay – 9*
Seattle – 8*
Pittsburgh – 7*
Denver – 6
Philadelphia – 6
*2016 division champion

PATRIOT PLACE: The New England Patriots won the AFC East for the eighth consecutive season in 2016, passing the Los Angeles Rams (1973-79) for the most consecutive division titles in NFL history.

The teams to finish first in their division in the most consecutive seasons:

TEAM, YEARS (CONSECUTIVE FIRST-PLACE FINISHES)
New England, 2009-16 (8)*
Los Angeles Rams, 1973-79 (7)
Cleveland, 1950-55 (6)
Dallas, 1966-71 (6)
Minnesota, 1973-78 (6)
Pittsburgh, 1974-79 (6)
Seven teams tied with 5
*Active streak

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The New England Patriots finished the 2016 regular season undefeated on the road.

The Patriots are only the seventh team since 1978 – when the 16-game schedule was instituted – to post an 8-0 record on the road. Of the previous six teams to accomplish the feat, four have gone to the Super Bowl (66.7 percent).

The teams (since 1978) to post an 8-0 road record and their final season result:

SEASON – TEAM (OVERALL, RESULT)
1984 – San Francisco (15-1, Won Super Bowl XIX)
1989 – San Francisco (14-2, Won Super Bowl XXIV)
1990 – San Francisco (14-2, Advanced to NFC Championship)
2001 – St. Louis Rams (14-2, Advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI)
2007 – New England (16-0, Advanced to Super Bowl XLII)
2014 – Dallas (12-4, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
2016 – New England (14-2, ???)

EXTRA TIME IN THE POSTSEASON: The playoffs have featured at least one overtime game in 13 of the past 16 postseasons.

In 2010, the NFL adopted a modified sudden-death system for the playoffs, which was expanded to cover all NFL games in 2012. The system guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession. Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined and the game automatically ends upon any score.

A look at NFL overtime playoff games since 2000:

SEASON – ROUND (TEAMS; GAME-WINNING SCORE)
2000 – AFC Wild Card (Miami 23, Indianapolis 17; RB Lamar Smith scores on 17-yard TD run.)
2001 – AFC Divisional (New England 16, Oakland 13; K Adam Vinatieri connects on 23-yard FG.)
2002 – AFC Divisional (Tennessee 34, Pittsburgh 31; K Joe Nedney wins it with 26-yard FG.)
2003 – NFC Wild Card (Green Bay 33, Seattle 27; CB Al Harris returns INT 52 yards for TD.)
2003 – NFC Divisional (Carolina 29, St. Louis 23 in 2 overtimes; QB Jake Delhomme connects with WR Steve Smith on 69-yard TD.)
2003 – NFC Divisional (Philadelphia 20, Green Bay 17; K David Akers wins game with 31-yard FG.)
2004 – AFC Wild Card (New York Jets 20, San Diego 17; K Doug Brien converts 28-yard FG.)
2004 – AFC Divisional (Pittsburgh 20, New York Jets 17; K Jeff Reed connects on 33-yard game-winner.)
2006 – NFC Divisional (Chicago 27, Seattle 24; K Robbie Gould converts game-winning 49-yard FG.)
2007 – NFC Championship (New York Giants 23, Green Bay 20; K Lawrence Tynes wins it with 47-yard FG.)
2008 – AFC Wild Card (San Diego 23, Indianapolis 17; RB Darren Sproles scores on 22-yard TD run.)
2009 – NFC Wild Card (Arizona 51, Green Bay 45; LB Karlos Dansby scores on 17-yard FR-TD.)
2009 – NFC Championship (New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28; K Garrett Hartley converts 40-yard game-winning FG.)
2011 – AFC Wild Card (Denver 29, Pittsburgh 23; WR Demaryius Thomas catches 80-yard TD from QB Tim Tebow.)
2011 – NFC Championship (New York Giants 20, San Francisco 17; K Lawrence Tynes connects on 31-yard FG.)
2012 – AFC Divisional (Baltimore 38, Denver 35 in 2 overtimes; K Justin Tucker converts 47-yard game-winning FG.)
2014 – NFC Championship (Seattle 28, Green Bay 22; QB Russell Wilson throws 35-yard TD to WR Jermaine Kearse.)
2015 – NFC Divisional (Arizona 26, Green Bay 20; QB Carson Palmer connects with WR Larry Fitzgerald on 5-yard TD.)

PASSING BY: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback in the 2016 playoffs with a 400-yard passing game in the postseason.

The 19 400-yard passing performances in NFL postseason history:

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (OPPONENT, DATE; PASSING YARDS)
Bernie Kosar, Cleveland (New York Jets, 1/3/87; 489)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (Detroit, Detroit, 1/7/12; 466)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (San Francisco, 1/14/12; 462)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (Denver, 1/9/05; 458)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (Kansas City, 1/4/14; 443)
Dan Fouts, San Diego (Miami, 1/2/82; 433)
Kelly Holcomb, Cleveland (Pittsburgh, 1/5/03; 429)
Jeff George, Minnesota (St. Louis, 1/16/00, 423)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (Arizona, 1/10/10; 423)*
Dan Marino, Miami (Buffalo, 12/30/95; 422)
Dan Marino, Miami (Pittsburgh, 1/6/85; 421)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (Tennessee, 1/30/00; 414)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (Chicago, 12/31/88; 407)
Jim Kelly, Buffalo (Cleveland, 1/6/90; 405)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (Seattle, 1/8/11; 404)
Don Strock, Miami (San Diego, 1/2/82; 403)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (San Diego, 1/13/08, 402;)
Daryle Lamonica, Oakland (New York Jets, 12/29/68; 401)
Peyton Manning, Denver (New England, 1/19/14; 400)
*Active in 2016 postseason

SUPER BOWL MVPs: There are four players in the 2016 postseason who have been named Super Bowl MVP: Quarterback Tom Brady of New England (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX), quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants (XLII, XLVI), quarterback Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay (XLV) and linebacker Malcom Smith of Oakland (XLVIII with Seattle).

PLAYER, CURRENT TEAM (SUPER BOWL MVPs)
Tom Brady, New England (3; XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX)
Eli Manning, New York Giants (2; XLII, XLVI)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (1; XLV)
Malcolm Smith, Oakland (1; XLVIII*)
*With Seattle

Five players in NFL history have been named Super Bowl MVP multiple times, including Brady (three) and Manning (two). Brady and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana are the only players to win the award three times.

The five players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP multiple times:

PLAYER, TEAM (SUPER BOWL MVPs)
Tom Brady, New England (3; XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX)*
Joe Montana, San Francisco (3; XVI, XIX, XXIV)
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh (2; XIII, XIV)
Eli Manning, New York Giants (2; XLII, XLVI)*
Bart Starr, Green Bay (2; I, II)
*Active in 2016 playoffs

WHEN IT COUNTS: New England quarterback TOM BRADY has a 22-9 (.710) career postseason record, the most playoff wins all-time by a starting quarterback.

The starting quarterbacks with the most playoff wins in NFL history:

QUARTERBACK, TEAMS (PLAYOFF WINS)
Tom Brady, New England (22)*
Joe Montana, San Francisco and Kansas City (16)
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh (14)
John Elway, Denver (14)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis and Denver (14)
Brett Favre, Green Bay and Minnesota (13)
*Active in 2016 playoffs

Brady’s 22-9 (.710) postseason record trails only Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshawk and Troy Aikman for the best winning percentage as a starting quarterback in NFL playoff history (minimum 15 starts).

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (11-6, .647) is tied for seventh all-time.

The quarterbacks with the best winning percentage in postseason starts (minimum
15 starts):

QUARTERBACK (WIN PCT., RECORD)
Terry Bradshaw (.737, 14-5)
Troy Aikman (.733, 11-4)
Tom Brady (.710, 22-9)*
Joe Montana (.696, 16-7)
John Elway (.667, 14-7)
Joe Flacco (.667, 10-5)
Ben Roethlisberger (.647, 11-6)*
Roger Staubach (.647, 11-6)
*Active in 2016 playoffs

A PROVEN WINNER: New England’s Tom Brady is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history to win four Super Bowls.

Only 12 QBs in NFL history have won multiple Super Bowls. Of the 12, three are active, including Brady, the New York Giants’ ELI MANNING (two) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (two), and seven have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The starting quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls:

QUARTERBACK (SUPER BOWL WINS)
Tom Brady (4)**
Terry Bradshaw (4)*
Joe Montana (4) *
Troy Aikman (3)*
John Elway (2)*
Bob Griese (2)*
Eli Manning (2)**
Peyton Manning (2)
Jim Plunkett (2)
Ben Roethlisberger (2)**
Bart Starr (2)*
Roger Staubach (2)*
*Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame
**Active in 2016 playoffs

PLAYOFF STARTERS: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson helped lead the Seahawks to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season and can join Joe Flacco as the only Super Bowl-era quarterbacks to start a playoff game in each of their first five seasons beginning with their rookie year.

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2008-12)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-15)*

Wilson has seven playoff wins in his first four seasons and trails only Tom Brady (nine), Joe Flacco (nine) and Ben Roethlisberger (eight) in postseason victories among quarterbacks in their first five seasons in the league.

The quarterbacks with the most postseason victories in their first five seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, POSTSEASON WINS
Tom Brady, New England (2000-04, 9)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2008-12, 9)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004-08, 8)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-15, 7)*
*Through four seasons

SMITH KEEPS IT SAFE: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith has made five career postseason starts, completing 112 of 186 passes (60.2 percent) for 1,309 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception for a 99.1 passer rating.

Smith’s 0.5 interception percentage is the lowest by a quarterback in postseason history (minimum 150 attempts). Dallas’ Tony Romo and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers rank second and fifth, respectively, in career interception percentage in NFL postseason history.

The lowest interception percentages in postseason history (minimum 150 attempts):

PLAYER, TEAMS (INTERCEPTION PERCENTAGE)
Alex Smith, San Francisco and Kansas City (0.5)*
Tony Romo, Dallas (1.1)*
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (1.3)
Bart Starr, Green Bay (1.4)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (1.7)*
*Active in 2016 postseason

FIRST-TIMERS: Several teams may feature a quarterback making his first career playoff start. Among those are Dallas rookie Dak Prescott, Houston’s Brock Osweiler, Miami’s MATT MOORE and Oakland rookie Connor Cook.

The players with the most passing yards in their first career postseason start:

PLAYER, TEAM (PASSING YARDS)
Kelly Holcomb, Cleveland (429)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (423)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (407)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (391)
Neil Lomax, St. Louis Cardinals (385)

TAKING A PASS: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryanled the NFL with a 117.1 passer rating, the fifth-highest single-season passer rating in league history. New England’s Tom Brady (112.2), Dallas’ Dak Prescott (104.9) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (104.2) each recorded a passer rating of at least 100 and led their respective teams into the playoffs.

The quarterbacks with the highest passer rating in a single postseason (minimum of 50 attempts):

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (SEASON; ATTEMPTS/COMPLETIONS, YARDS; TD/INTERCEPTIONS, RATING)
Joe Montana, San Francisco (1989; 83/65, 800; 11/0, 146.4)
Bart Starr, Green Bay (1966; 51/35, 554; 6/1, 135.6)
Phil Simmsm New York Giants (1986; 58/38, 494; 8/0, 131.8)
Kurt Warner, Arizona (2009; 59/46, 584; 5/1, 129.1)
Troy Aikman, Dallas (1982; 89/61, 795; 8/0, 126.4)

THREE FOR 300: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 4,327 yards, including four games with at least 300 passing yards, this season. Stafford has at least 300 passing yards in each of his first two postseason starts and is one of only four quarterbacks in postseason history with at least two consecutive games with 300+ passing yards.

The most consecutive postseason games with at least 300 passing yards to begin a career:

PLAYER, TEAM (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS)
Dan Fouts, San Diego (4)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2)*
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle (2)
Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams (2)
*Active streak

RUSHING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards, the third-highest rushing total by a rookie in NFL history.

The players with the most rushing yards in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RUSH YARDS-RUSH TDS)
John Riggins, Washington (1982; 610-4)
Terrell Davis Denver (1997; 581-8)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998; 468-3)
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983; 466-4)
Eddie George, Tennessee (1999; 449-3)

The rookies with the most rushing yards in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RUSH YARDS)
Timmy Smith, Washington (1987; 34)
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (2000; 338)
James Starks, Green Bay (2010; 315)
Duane Thomas, Dallas (1970; 313)
Ickey Woods, Cincinnati (1988; 307)

The rookies with the most rushing touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RUSH TDs)
Norm Standlee, Chicago Bears (1941; 4)
Tony Dorsett, Dallas (1977; 4)
William Floyd, San Francisco (1994; 4)
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (2000; 4)

FINDING PAYDIRT: New England running back Le Garrette Blount led the NFL with a franchise-record 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016.

The players with the most rushing touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; TOTAL TDs)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997; 8)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995; 6)
Ricky Watters, San Francisco (1993; 6)
Gerald Riggs, Washington (1991; 6)
John Riggins, Washington (1983; 6)
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh (1974; 6)
Larry Csonka, Miami (1973; 6)

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN ranked second in the NFL with 106 receptions. Brown, who has at least 100 catches in four consecutive seasons, is tied with Pro Football MARVIN HARRISON for the most consecutive seasons with at least 100 catches in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; CATCHES)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008; 30)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011; 28)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2013; 28)
Steve Smith Sr., Carolina (2005; 27)
Wes Welker, New England (2007; 27)

CATCHING ON: Detroit wide receiver Anquan Boldin has eight touchdown receptions in his postseason career. With two touchdown catches, Boldin will become the eighth player in NFL history with at least 10 postseason touchdown receptions and move into a tie for the third-most all-time.

The players with the most touchdown catches in postseason history:

PLAYER – TOUCHDOWN CATCHES
Jerry Rice – 22
John Stallworth – 12
Fred Biletnikoff – 10
Antonio Freeman – 10
Larry Fitzgerald – 10
Randy Moss – 10
Hines Ward – 10
Rob Gronkowski – 9
Andre Reed – 9
Steve Smith Sr. – 9
Lynn Swann – 9
Reggie Wayne – 9
Anquan Boldin – 8*
*Active in 2016 postseason

WELCOME RECEPTION: There are 11 players in the 2016 playoff field who recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in the regular season: Atlanta’s Julio Jones (1,409), the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham, Jr. (1,367), Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (1,284), Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson (1,257), Oakland’s Amari Cooper (1,153), Miami’s Jarvis Landry (1,136), Seattle’s Doug Baldwin (1,128), Kansas City’s Travis Kelce (1,125), New England’s Julian Edleman (1,106), Detroit’s Golden Tate (1,077) and Oakland’s Michael Crabtree (1,003).

The players with the most receiving yards in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RECEPTIONS/RECEIVING YARDS/TD)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008; 3/546/7)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011; 28/444/4)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988; 21/409/6)
Steve Smith Sr., Carolina (2003; 18/404/3)
Charlie Brown, Washington (1983; 14/401/1)

200 CLUB: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones (300 yards, Week 4), New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (222 yards, Week 6) and Detroit wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr. (205 yards, Week 3) each had at least 200 receiving yards in a single game in 2016. There have been eight 200-yard receiving games in NFL postseason history.

The players with at least 200 receiving yards in a postseason game:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; DATE-OPPONENT; RECEPTIONS/RECEIVING YARDS/TD)
Eric Moulds, Buffalo (1998; 1/2/99-Miami; 9/240/1)
Anthony Carter, Minnesota (1987; 1/9/88-San Francisco; 10/227/0)
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (2013; 1/4/14-Kansas City; 13/224/2)
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis (2004; 1/9/05-Denver; 10/221/2)
Steve Smith Sr., Carolina (2005; 1/15/06-Chicago; 12/218/2)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988; 1/22/89-Cincinnati; 11/215/1)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2011; 1/7/12-New Orleans; 12/211/2)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2011; 1/8/12-Pittsburgh;4/204/1)

TD PARTY: Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns in 2016. Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN led the AFC with 12 touchdown catches this season.

The players with the most receiving touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TD CATCHES)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008 – 7)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988 – 6)
Dave Casper, Oakland (1977 – 5)
Alvin Garrett, Washington (1982 – 5)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1989 – 5)

ROOKIE RECEIVERS: New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard ranked second among rookies with 65 catches and 683 receiving yards and tied for second with eight touchdown catches in 2016.

The rookies with the most receiving yards in a playoff game:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, DATE – OPPONENT, RECEIVING YARDS)
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia (2009, 1/9/10 – Dallas, 146)
Keith Jackson, Philadelphia (1988, 12/31/88 – Chicago, 142)
Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (2013, 1/12/14 – Denver, 142)
Reggie Bush, New Orleans (2006, 1/21/07 – Chicago, 132)
Billy Cannon, Houston Oilers (1960, 1/1/61 – Los Angeles Chargers, 128)

The rookies with the most receptions and receiving yards in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis (2006 – 22)
Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 20)
Austin Collie, Indianapolis (2009 – 17)
Chad Morton, New Orleans (2000-15)
David Johnson, Arizona (2015 – 15)

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEIVING YARDS)
Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 242)
Austin Collie, Indianapolis (2009 – 241)
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia (2008 – 207)
Steve Junker, Detroit (1957 – 201)
Ricky Nattiel, Denver (1987 – 171)

TIGHT ENDS MAKING MARK: Kansas City’s Travis Kelce led all NFL tight ends with 1,125 receiving yards and ranked second with 86 receptions in 2016. New England’s Martellus Bennett tied for third among tight ends with seven  touchdowns catches.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single postseason:

TIGHT END, TEAM (SEASON, RECEIVING YARDS)
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (2006 – 317)
Vernon Davis, San Francisco (2011 – 292)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (2011 – 258)
Vernon Davis, San Francisco (2012 – 254)
Dan Ross, Cincinnati (1981 – 244)

The tight ends with the most touchdown receptions in a single postseason:

TIGHT END, TEAM (SEASON – RECEIVING TDs)
Dave Casper, Oakland (1977 – 5)
Vernon Davis, San Francisco (2011 – 4)
Many Tied with 3

SPECIAL DELIVERY: There have been 26 kickoff-return touchdowns in NFL postseason history. The last postseason kickoff-return touchdown was scored by Kansas City’s Knile Davis, who returned the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Wild Card win at Houston last season.

Ten kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns in Super Bowl history, with the last coming on Percy Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff-return touchdown to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVIII. Ron Dixon of the New York Giants (2000-02) is
the only player with two career kickoff-return touchdowns in the playoffs.

Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill and Miami rookie Kenyan Drake are the only players in the 2016 postseason who returned a kickoff for a touchdown this season.

There have been only 21 punt-return touchdowns in playoff history. The last player with a punt-return touchdown in the postseason was Denver’s Trindon Holliday in the 2012 Divisional round (90 yards, the longest in NFL playoff
history). No player has ever recorded more than one in a career.

Among the players in the 2016 postseason who returned a punt for a touchdown this season are Hill (two), Detroit’s Andre Roberts (two), Houston’s Will Fuller (one) and Miami’s Jakeem Grant (one).

Hill, who was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist, is the only player in the NFL this season to return both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown.

SACK ATTACK I: Atlanta defensive end Dwight Freeney and Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews tie for the lead among players in the 2016 playoff field with 10 career postseason sacks. Both players are on the verge of entering the top five in the category.

The top five players with the most postseason sacks (since 1982):

PLAYER – SACKS
Willie McGinest – 16.0
Bruce Smith – 14.5
Terrell Suggs – 12.5
Reggie White – 12.0
Charles Haley – 11.0
LaMarr Woodley – 11.0

SACK ATTACK II: Seven players in the 2016 playoff field recorded at least 10 sacks this season: Atlanta’s Vic Beasley, Jr. (15.5), Seattle’s Cliff Avril 11.5), Miami’s Cameron Wake (11.5), Oakland’s Khalil Mack (11), Green Bay’s Nick Perry (11), Seattle’s Frank Clark (10) and Kansas City’s Dee Ford (10).

The players with the most sacks in a postseason game:

PLAYER, TEAM (SACKS – OPPONENT; DATE)
Willie McGinest, New England (4.5 – Jacksonville, January 7, 2006)
Richard Dent, Chicago (3.5 – New York Giants, January 5, 1986)
Rich Milot, Washington (3.5 – Chicago, December 30, 1984)

The players with the most sacks in a single postseason:

MOST SACKS IN A POSTSEASON

PLAYER, TEAM (SACKS, SEASON)
LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh (6, 2008)
Michael McCrary, Baltimore (6, 2000)
Richard Dent, Chicago (6, 1985)
Von Miller, Denver (5, 2015)
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore (5, 2010)
Willie McGinest, New England (5, 2003)
Tony Tolbert, Dallas (5, 1995)

BALL HAWKS: Houston’s QUINTIN DEMPS, Kansas City’s Marcus Peters and the New York Giants’ Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions each this season. The Giants’ duo of Rodgers-Cromartie (six) and Landon Collins (five) were the only pair of teammates in the league with at least five interceptions apiece.

The players with the most interceptions in a playoff game and an entire
postseason:

MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN PLAYOFF GAME

SEASON – PLAYER, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS, OPPONENT-DATE)
1979 – Vernon Perry, Houston Oilers (4, San Diego – December 29, 1979)
Many tied with 3

MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN A POSTSEASON

SEASON – PLAYER, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS)
1980 – Lester Hayes, Oakland (5)
1979 – Vernon Perry, Houston Oilers (5)
Many tied with 4

ROOKIE DEFENDER: Pittsburgh cornerback Artie Burns and Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones tied for the NFL rookie lead with three interceptions each this season.

The rookies with the most interceptions in a playoff game and an entire
postseason:

MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN A PLAYOFF GAME, ROOKIE

PLAYER, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS, OPPONENT-DATE)
Vernon Perry, Houston Oilers (4, San Diego – December 29, 1979)
Ricky Manning, Jr., Carolina (3, Philadelphia – January 18, 2004)
Many tied with 2

MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN A POSTSEASON, ROOKIE

SEASON – PLAYER (TEAM – INTERCEPTIONS)
1979 – Vernon Perry (Houston Oilers – 5)
2003 – Ricky Manning Jr. (Carolina – 4)
1980 – Roynell Young (Philadelphia – 3)
1969 – Jim Marsalis (Kansas City Chiefs – 3)
Many tied with 2

MR. RELIABLE: New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski has made 15 consecutive field goals in the postseason dating back to the 2011 season. Gostkowski ties for fourth all-time in career postseason points, trailing only Adam Vinatieri (234), David Akers (175) and Gary Anderson (153).

The players with the most career points scored in the postseason:

PLAYER, TEAMS (POINTS)
Adam Vinatieri, New England and Indianapolis (234)
David Akers, Philadelphia and San Francisco (175)
Gary Anderson, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minnesota and Tennessee (153)
Stephen Gostkowski, New England (132)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco and Oakland (132)

The kickers with the most points scored in a single postseason:

SEASON – PLAYER, TEAM (POINTS)
2006 – Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis (49)
1992 – Steve Christie, Buffalo (39)
1987 – Chuck Nelson, Minnesota (36)
2003 – John Kasay, Carolina (35)
2011 – Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants (34)
1985 – Tony Franklin, New England (34)

BEST NFL PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES

(Single postseason)

PASSING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – COMPLETIONS/ATTEMPTS; TD/INTERCEPTIONS)
Eli Manning, New York Giants (2011 – 106/163 for 1,219; 9/1)
Kurt Warner, Arizona (2008 – 92/135 for 1,147; 11/3)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2012 – 73/126 for 1,140; 11/0)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2010 – 90/132 for 1,094; 9/2)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (1999 – 77/121 for 1,063; 8/4)

RUSHING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – ATTEMPTS/YARDS, TD)
John Riggins, Washington (1982 – 136/610, 4)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997 – 112/581, 8)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 78/468, 3)
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983 – 58/466, 4)
Eddie George, Tennessee (1999 – 108/449, 3)

RECEIVING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS/YARDS, TD)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008 – 30/546, 7)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011 – 28/444, 4)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988 – 21/409, 6)
Steve Smith, Carolina (2003 – 18/404, 3)
Charlie Brown, Washington (1983 – 14/401, 1)

RECEPTIONS

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS/YARDS, TD)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008 – 30/546, 7)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011 – 28/444, 4)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2013 – 28/306, 3)
Steve Smith, Carolina (2005 – 27/335, 3)
Wes Welker, New England (2007 – 27/213, 2)

SCRIMMAGE TOUCHDOWNS

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – TOTAL TDs/RUSH TD/REC. TD)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997 – 8/8/0)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008 – 7/0/7)
Larry Csonka, Miami (1973 – 6/6/0)
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh (1974 – 6/6/0)
John Riggins, Washington (1983 – 6/6/0)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988 – 6/0/6)
Gerald Riggs, Washington (1991 – 6/6/0)
Ricky Watters, San Francisco (1993 – 6/6/0)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995 – 6/6/0)

THE COACHES

HEAD OF THE CLASS: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has 23 career postseason victories, the most all-time.

The head coaches with the most playoff wins:

HEAD COACH, TEAMS (PLAYOFF WINS)
Bill Belichick, Cleveland and New England (23)*
Tom Landry, Dallas (20)
Don Shula, Baltimore Colts and Miami (19)
Joe Gibbs, Washington (17)
Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh (16)
*Active in 2016 postseason

Since joining New England in 2000, Belichick has led the Patriots to four Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), which is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Noll (IX, X, XIII, XIV) of Pittsburgh for the most in history.

— NFL —

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Four head coaches in the 2016 postseason field have won at least one Super Bowl title – New England’s Bill Belichick (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), Seattle’s Pete Carroll (XLVIII), Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (XLIII) and Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy (XLV). Additionally, Kansas City’s Andy Reid (XXXIX with Philadelphia) and Detroit’s Jim Caldwell (XLIV with Indianapolis) have each led a team that advanced to the Super Bowl.

The head coaches in the 2016 playoff field with Super Bowl experience:

HEAD COACH, CURRENT TEAM (SUPER BOWL TEAM SUPER BOWL WINS-LOSSES)
Bill Belichick, New England (New England XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX-XLII, XLVI)
Pete Carroll, Seattle (Seattle XLVIII-XLIX)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh XLIII-XLV)
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay (Green Bay XLV)
Andy Reid, Kansas City (Philadelphia XXXIX)
Jim Caldwell, Detroit (Indianapolis XLIV)

POSTSEASON RECORDS OF 2016 PLAYOFF HEAD COACHES

COACH, TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Bill Belichick, New England (23-10 .697)
Pete Carroll, Seattle (9-6 .600)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (6-5 .545)
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay (8-7 .533)
Andy Reid, Kansas City (11-11 .500)
Jason Garrett, Dallas (1-1 .500)
Jim Caldwell, Detroit (2-3 .400)
Jack Del Rio, Oakland (1-2 .333)
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans 0-1 (.000)
Adam Gase, Miami 0-0 (.000)
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants 0-0 (.000)
Dan Quinn, Atlanta 0-0 (.000)

Regular season? Done.

This is the playoffs and there are four really good games. Three of the four contests (Oakland-Houston, Miami-Pittsburgh, New York Giants-Green Bay) are rematches from the 2016 campaign, while the fourth match (Detroit-Seattle) is a first time meeting in the post season. This means that the game plans will be tweakted. It also means that all four games this weekend are “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

The mission’s easy.

Win. Advance.

Lose. Kickoff is next year.

The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday and Sunday, January 7-8, with Wild Card Weekend. On Saturday, the Oakland Raiders play at the Houston Texans (ESPN/ABC, 4:35 PM ET) and the Detroit Lions visit the Seattle Seahawks on NBC at 8:15 p.m. Wild Card Weekend continues Sunday with the Miami Dolphins at the Pittsburgh Steelers on CBS at 1:05 p.m. and the New York Giants traveling to face the Green Bay Packers on FOX at 4:40 p.m..

The following week (January 14-15), the New England Patriots (Saturday on CBS at 8:15 p.m.) and Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday on NBC at 1:05 p.m.) in the AFC and the Dallas Cowboys (Sunday on FOX at 4:40 p.m.) and Atlanta Falcons (Saturday on FOX, 4:35 p.m.) in the NFC host the Divisional Playoffs. The Patriots and Cowboys own home-field advantage for the Conference Championship Games (January 22) if they win their Divisional contests.

The 2017 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on ESPN at 8 p.m. and Super Bowl LI will take place on Sunday, February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on FOX at 6:30 p.m.

New England, Kansas City, Dallas and Atlanta have byes in the first round and will play at home next weekend. They’ll know who they’re playing when the dust settles Sunday evening. As for last week’s picks, it wasn’t a bad week when you go 11-5. For the season, that’s 174-80. A pretty good week indeed.

Having said that, here are Saturday and Sunday’s playoff picks.

Oakland (12-4) at Houston (9-7), 4:35 p.m. Saturday on ESPN/ABC. Wild Card weekend gets underway in the Lone Star State as the Houston Texans, looking to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium, hosts the Oakland Raiders at NRG Stadium in playoff Saturday afternoon action. Both clubs limp into the first round of the post-season with losses under their respective belts as well as QB issues.

Oakland fell to Denver 24-3 in the Mile High City to close the 2016 regular season out. The Silver and Black trailed 10-0 at the break and could only muster a third quarter TD pass from Connor Cook to WR Amari Cooper for their only points. Cook took over for Matt McGloin, who suffered a shoulder injury in the contest. In the process of rushing for 143 yards, the Broncos held Oakland to 57 rushing yards and Cook threw for 150 yards with a pair of sacks (Trevor Siemian threw for 206 yards and a pair of TDs). Oakland was 2 of 11 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:35, while the Broncos were 5 of 15, 1 of 3 on fourth and kept the ball for 35:25.

Houston fell to Tennessee 24-17 in the Volunteer State last Sunday afternoon. The Texans trailed 14-0 at the half but managed to outscored the Titans 17-10 in the last 30 minutes of action. Houston was held to 46 yards of rushing, while the Titans tallied 103 and knocked Tom Savage (concussion) out of the contest. Brock Osweiler took over for the Texans, throwing for 253 yards and a TD pass to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, while Matt Cassel threw for 150. Houston was 3 of 15 on third down tries but ruled fourth down, going 4 of 6 and kept the ball for 29:08, while the Titans were 9 of 15 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 30:52.

Oakland is making 1st playoff appearance since 2002 season. The Silver and Black aim for 1st playoff win since 1/19/03 (vs. Tennessee in AFC Championship) and won 12 games for 1st time since 2000. The Texans are winners of consecutive AFC South titles for 2nd time in franchise history (2011-12) and are 2-1 at home in postseason…

The two teams have never met in the post and they did not meet in the regular season. The Texans lead the series 6-3 and have outscored Oakland 226-172. Houston won the last meeting with the Silver and Black, taking a 30-14 win in Oakland in 2014, while the Raiders’ last win in the series came in Houston in 2013 by a final of 28-23.

They did meet in the 2016 campaign but it wasn’t in the United States. They met on the Monday night before Thanksgiving and the Raiders broke a 10-10 tie in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, coming away 27-20 winners. Oakland got a pair of fourth quarter TD passes from David Carr to take the win South of the border, then held off a late Houston rally that would have given the Texans a chance to tie the contest or take the lead outright. Houston did manage to outrush Oakland 124-30 (the Texans’ Lamar Miller led all rushers with 104 yards and a TD), while Carr threw for 295 (Brock Osweiler for Houston threw for 243 yards with a TD and was sacked twice). Houston was at 50 percent on third down conversions, going 8 of 16 and kept the ball for 36:27 to Oakland’s 23:33 (the Raiders were 4 of 11 on third down tries and both teams were 1 of 2 on fourth down).

Houston’s a 3 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 38 1/2. The winner of this one gets to go to either Kansas City or Foxboro. The loser gets to go home and clean out their lockers. Houston has been known to self-destruct in the playoffs but not this time. Texans cover the 3 1/2 and win in the Lone Star State.

Detroit (9-7) at Seattle (10-5-1), 8:15 p.m. Saturday on NFL. The second Saturday Wild Card game takes place in the Pacific Northwest as the Seattle Seahawks, winners of the NFC West, face the Detroit Lions at Century Link Field.

Detroit backed their way into the post-season after the New York Giants beat Washington 19-10 at Landover, which made their contest with Green Bay a “winner-take-all” contest, the winner getting the NFC North title and the loser getting the Wild Card spot. Detroit led 14-10 at the half at Ford Field, only to see that lead get away from them in the final 30 minutes of play as Aaron Rodgers burned the Lions for four TDs enroute to a 31-24 win in the Motor City. Rodgers’ first TD strike to WR Davante Adams with 9:23 left in the third gave them the lead for keeps and the Packers would never relinquish it from that point onward. Rookie WR Geronimo Allison and Adams caught the other two TD passes, as Rodgers threw for 300 and the four TDs. Green Bay outrushed Detroit 153-76 in the win, while Matthew Stafford threw for 347 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Golden Tate on a 3-yarder with 23 seconds left before the intermission. Green Bay was 7 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 34:09, while the Lions, who held the pigskin for 25:51, went 5 of 12 on third down coversions.

Seattle led San Francisco 19-14 at halftime at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, then held off the 49ers 25-23 to take the number three seed in the post-season tournament. the contest in wine country was not much to write home about as far as the running game was concerned and neither club breached the 100-yard barrier (Seattle outrushed San Francisco 87-62) and Russell Wilson threw for 258 yards and a TD, while the Seahawk defense sacked Colin Kaepernick (215 yards, TD) five times in what would be the final game for Chip Kelly as 49ers head coach.

RECORDS VS. COMMON OPPONENTS
Detroit: 3-2 (Green Bay 0-2; Los Angeles 1-0, New Orleans 1-0, Philadelphia 1-0)
Seatle: 2-3 (Green Bay 0-1; Los Angeles 1-1; New Orleans 0-1; Philadephia 1-0)

The Lions earned a playoff berth for 2nd time in past 3 seasons. Had NFL-record 8 wins after trailing in 4th quarter or OT. Head coach Jim Caldwell has made playoffs in 3 of 6 seasons as an NFL head coach

Seattle advanced to playoffs for 5th consecutive season and the Seahawks have won 10+ games in each of past 5 seasons. Seattle will aim for 3rd Super Bowl appearance in past 4 seasons and have won 6 of past 8 postseason games and have playoff win in each of past 4 postseasons. Head coach Pete Carroll is 8-4 (.667) in playoffs

This is the first meeting between the two clubs in the post-season. They have met 13 times before and the Seahawks lead series 8-5, outscoring the Lions 306-251. Seattle won the last meeting between the clubs, taking a 13-10 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2015, while the Lions’ last win in the series came in 2012 in the Motor City by a final of 28-24.

The 2015 meeting took place at Century Link Field in week four and Seattle led the contest 10-3 at the intermission before holding off a late Detroit rally in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle outrushed Detroit 110-53 and Wilson threw for 287 yards and a TD to Doug Baldwin but was sacked six time, while Stafford threw for 203 yards. Seattle ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:04 (the Seahawks were 6 of 13 on third down, Detroit was 3 of 13), while the Lions held the pigskin for 27:56.

Seattle’s favored by 8 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. It could be closer than the 8, given that both offenses are capable of moving the ball. For Detroit, they’ve been streaky of late, while Seattle has been kings of the NFC West mountain for the better part of the year. Seattle wins in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks but expect things to be closer than 8 points.

Miami (10-6) at Pittsburgh (11-5), 1:05 p.m. Sunday on CBS. It’s a week six rematch for the second leg of the AFC Wild Card race as the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers meet at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon.

Miami got manhandled by New England and Tom Brady 35-14 at Hard Rock Stadium. The Pats led 20-7 at the intermission in the Sunshine State and never looked back in the win that allowed them to clinch home field advantage. New England outrushed Miami 120-75 and Brady threw for 276 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. Both teams went 7 of 12 on third down tries and New England held the ball for 31:22 to Miami’s 28:38.

Pittsburgh needed overtime to beat Cleveland 27-24 last Sunday at Heinz Field. The Steelers trailed the Browns 14-7 at the break and then proceeded to rally without the services of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and took the lead with 5:14 left in regulation when backup QB Landry Jones and rookie WR Demarcus Ayers connected on an 11-yard TD pass. Cleveland retied the contest with 3:28 left when Glen Atkinson III scored from five yards out. The Browns then won the toss to start the overtime and moved the ball downfield, only to be stopped by the Steelers defense, forcing them to connect on a 34-yard field goal by Chris Parkey. Pittsburgh then got the ball back to either tie or win the game outright and they chose to take the win, using a 9-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:20 of clock and allowed Steelers fans to go home happy when Jones (277 yards, three TDs, four sacks, interception) and Chris Hamilton hooked up on a 26-yard TD pass with 2:57 left in the overtime. Pittsburgh, who forced four Cleveland turnovers, found themselves being outrushed 231-69 by Cleveland with the Browns’ Isaiah Crowell running for 152 of those yards with Robert Griffin III throwing for 232 yards and a pair of TDs. The Steelers were 3 of 14 on third down (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:09, while the Browns ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 38:54, going 8 of 15 on third down tries.

They met in week six in the Sunshine State and the Dolphins came away 30-15 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami, leading 16-8 at the half, knocked Roethlisberger (189 yards, TD, two interceptions) out of the contest with a knee injury and outrushed the Steelers 222-128 (Joseph Ajayi led all rushers with 204 yards and a pair of TDs) and Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw for 252 yards without an interception in the contest. The ‘Fins were 50 percent on third down tries, going 7 of 14 and held the ball for 36:30, while the Steelers kept the ball for 23:30, going 3 of 11 on third down.

RECORDS VS. COMMON OPPONENTS

Miami: 5-4 (Cincinnati 0-1; New York Jets 2-0; New England 0-2; Baltimore 0-1; Cleveland 1-0; Buffalo 2-0)
Pittsburgh: 7-2 (Cincinnati 2-0; New York Jets 1-0; New England 0-1; Baltimore 1-1; Cleveland 2-0; Buffalo 1-0)

Miami is 20-20 (.500) all-time postseason record. 1st postseason appearance since 2008 season.

The Steelers 34-23 all-time postseason record, tied with Dallas (34) for most total playoff wins all-time. Rank 5th all-time in postseason win pct. (.596). Pittsburgh has won 7 division titles since 2002, 5th most in NFL.

The Dolphins and Steelers have played each other three times in the post-season. Miami leads the series 2-1 and have barely outscored the Steelers 80-79. Miami’s last post-season win over the Steelers came in the old Orange Bowl in 1984 in the AFC Championship, with the Dolphins taking a 45-28 win, while Pittsburgh’s lone post-season victory came in 1979 at old Three Rivers Stadium in the AFC Divisonal Playoff by a final of 34-14.

Miami covered the 7-point spread in the process of winning by 15 but Miami and Pittsburgh missed the over/under of 48 by a field goal. This time, the Steelers are a 10-point favorite and the over/under’s 47. It’s been a fun run for the Dolphins this year but it comes to an end, even though it’ll be closer than 10 points. Pittsburgh does prevail at home at Heinz and takes the win to move on to the next round.

New York Giants (11-5) at Green Bay (10-6), 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX. Eli Manning. Aaron Rodgers. They meet again. It’s a week five rematch at Lambeau as the Giants and Packers close out Wild Card Weekend in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

New York helped both Green Bay and Detroit get into the post-season with the 19-10 win over the Washington Redskins at Landover last Sunday. In the process of knocking the Redskins out of the playoffs, Big Blue led 10-0 before Washington came back to tie the contest up at 10-10 with 8:13 left in the contest. New York took the lead back for keeps on a 40-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 2:12 left to play and then put the nail in the ‘Skins coffin when CB Tevin Wade returned a Washington fumble 11 yards for a TD as time expired. The Giants outrushed Wasington 161-38 with rookie RB Paul Perkins leading all rushers with 102 yards, while Manning threw for 180 yards without a pick. The Giants defense forced three Washington turnovers, picking off Kirk Cousins (287 yards, TD, four sacks) twice in the 9-point win at FedEx Field. The Giants were 6 of 17 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 35:52, while the Redskins held the pigskin for 24:08, going 4 of 12 on third down.

Green Bay and Detroit backed their way into the post-season after the New York Giants beat Washington 19-10 at Landover, which made their contest with Green Bay a “winner-take-all” contest, the winner getting the NFC North title and the loser getting the Wild Card spot. The Packers trailed 14-10 at the half at Ford Field, then rallied to win the NFC North title as Rodgers made Packers fans R E L A X and burned the Lions for four TDs enroute to a 31-24 win in the Motor City. Rodgers’ first TD strike to WR Davante Adams with 9:23 left in the third gave them the lead for keeps and the Packers would never relinquish it from that point onward. Rookie WR Geronimo Allison and Adams caught the other two TD passes, as Rodgers threw for 300 and the four TDs. Green Bay outrushed Detroit 153-76 in the win, while Matthew Stafford threw for 347 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Golden Tate on a 3-yarder with 23 seconds left before the intermission. Green Bay was 7 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 34:09, while the Lions, who held the pigskin for 25:51, went 5 of 12 on third down coversions.

The Giants and Packers met at Lambeau in week five and the Packers took Eli (199 yards, TD, three sacks) and Big Blue to task, coming away 23-16 winners. Green Bay and Rodgers (259 yards, two TDs) led 17-6 at the half in the Sunday night affair before the Giants rallied in the final 30 minutes of action to keep things close. Green Bay outrushed New York 147-43 (Eddie Lacy led all rushers with 81 yards) and held the ball for 36:38, going 9 of 19 on third down, while the Giants were 4 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 23:22.

New York earned the playoff berth for 1st time since 2011 & 1st under head coach Ben Mc Adoo. McAdoo spent 8 seasons with GB (2006-13) and was team’s QB coach in 2012 and 2013. Big Blue will make its 32nd playoff appearance, tied for most in NFL history

Green Bay: They yave won 13 NFL championships, most all-time. Team’s .604 postseason winning pct. (32-21) is best in NFL history among teams with 50+ games played. This is team’s 32nd playoff appearance, tied for most in NFL history. Mike McCarthy has led team to playoffs in 9 of his 11 seasons as head coach.

In the post-season, the Packers lead the series 4-3 and have outscored Big Blue 151-97. Packer fans would like to forget the 2011 NFC Championship meeting at frosty Lambeau as the Giants took a 30-27 win in 2011.  For Green Bay’s last win in the post-season over the Giants, you will have to go all the way back to 1961, when the Packers shut out New York Packers 37-0 at Lambeau.

In the week five contest, Green Bay barely missed the 7 1/2-point spread, winning by 7 and both teams missed the 48 over/undder, scoring only 39 points. This time around, the Packers are again the darlings of the boys and girls in Vegas, favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. The entire nation will be watching and not suprisingly the Dallas Cowboys will be as well, pulling for Green Bay to beat the Giants at Lambeau, so they don’t have to face them again. Cowboys and Packer fans will get their wish. Green Bay covers the 4 1/2 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst to close out Wild Card Weekend.