Archives for category: AFC

And there were two.

The Los Angeles Rams.

The New England Patriots.

The last two in the 2018 National Football League’s version of “Survivor.” While the other 30 teams are at home after having their torches put out, they are the last two standing. They’ve out-witted the other 30 teams, they’ve outlasted the other 30. Sunday will be a chance to see who can out-survive the other.

Both the Rams and Patriots started their seasons like everyone else, with OTAs, the draft, mini-camp, preseason and a 17-week schedule where they both played 16 games. At the end of the day in Atlanta, one team will be holding the Lombardi Trophy again, sort of like Raftiki holding baby Simba in “The Lion King.” The other team? They will be picked apart like a Thanksgiving Turkey, second-guessed by everyone that can draw a breath.

This Sunday is not just any Sunday. This is Super Bowl Sunday. This is the Sunday that some of these players have been dreaming about since they were kids, playing pretend football in the backyard and hoping that their time will come. Their time is here. It’s the final game on the 2018 NFL schedule and when the clock strikes :00, the confetti flies around and the on-field interviews are taking place, it will come to an end. No more regular season football until September 5th. The winner? They get to take home the Lombardi Trophy and each player will take home $118,000, which comes out to $29,500 a quarter and they get to pick last in the upcoming draft. As for the losing team? No trophy, they get to pick 31st and each player will get $59,000 (or $14,750 per quarter).

What else is at stake, you ask?

With a New England victory…
•The Patriots will have captured their sixth Super Bowl championship, tied with Pittsburgh (six) for most in NFL history.
•New England will have won its 37th postseason game, surpassing Pittsburgh (36) for the most all-time.
•Head coach Bill Belichick joins George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches ever to win six NFL championships.
•Quarterback Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowls, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley (five) for the most of any player. His Rams counterpart Jared Goff was 7 years old when Brady won his first Lombardi.

With a Los Angeles win…
•The Rams will celebrate the second Super Bowl victory in the history of their franchise (SB XXXIV) and their first in Los Angeles.
•At age 33, head coach Sean McVay becomes the youngest coach ever to win the Super Bowl. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held the previous mark at age 36.
•Quarterback Jared Goff becomes the first quarterback selected number 1 overall to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory within his first three seasons.

Belichick and Brady will be making their ninth 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 five Super Bowls together, the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who turns 33 years and 10 days old on Super Bowl Sunday, is the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. In each of the past two seasons under McVay, the Rams have ranked first or second in points per game. His counterpart on the other side of the field? Bill Belichick is 66 and turns 67 in April.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, is the first quarterback selected number 1 overall to reach the Super Bowl within his first three seasons. Four quarterbacks (Pro Football Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and John Elway, Drew Bledsoe and Eli Manning) each reached the Super Bowl in their fourth season.

Brady vs. Goff. Two QBs with a huge age difference led their teams to this point in time. Both clubs won their divisions, both were two seeds in their respective conferences and both won their last games on the road in overtime and both teams beat the top seeds. The bigger picture? Brady won his first Super Bowl the last time the two met in the post season. When Sunday’s game kicks off, Brady will be 42 years old, while Goff is 25 (Goff was seven years old when the Brady-Bilichick duo won their first Lombardi).

The Rams fought their way back against New Orleans in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome and came away with a 26-23 overtime win over Drew Brees and the Saints. Los Angeles trailed 13-10 at the half after the Saints rushed out to a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter as the Saints used a pair of Wil Lutz field goals and a Brees TD pass to TE Garrett Griffin to open the scoring in the contest. Los Angeles shut out the Saints in the second quarter, thanks to a 6-yard TD run by Todd Gurley III and a Greg Zuerlein field goal to tally their first points of the game. New Orleans would push the lead back to 10 with 8:34 left in the third when backup QB Taysom Hill and Brees connected on a 2-yard toss before the Rams would even things up when TE Tyler Higbee and Goff connected with 3:06 left in the third and Zuerlin booted a 24-yard field goal with 5:03 left in the contest.

New Orleans was not going quietly and got the ball back with 5:03 left in regulation and started the drive they thought would give them the win and there was some controversy in that drive when Saints WR Michael Thomas and Rams CB Michael Roby-Coleman collided on a pass attempt that many Saints fans and players thought was pass interference but was not called and the pass was ruled incomplete, much to the anger of Saints fans and head coach Sean Payton. (Roby-Coleman was eventually fined by the league for the helmet to helmet hit). The Saints had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Lutz with 1:41 left before the Rams stormed back with 15 seconds left in regulation to re-tie the contest and send the contest into the extra period after Brees knelt the ball down. New Orleans would win the toss in the overtime and got the ball first in the overtime and kept the ball for only four plays, getting as close as their own 36-yard line when Brees was picked off by S John Johnson II inside Saints territory. The Rams wasted very little time or distance, using a 5-play, 15-yard drive that took 2:12 for them to set up a 57-yard field goal try. After the Saints burned a timeout to ice the kicker, Zeurlein connected on that 57-yard try to send the Rams into the Super Bowl.

The Rams outrushed New Orleans 77-48 and Goff threw for 297 yards and a TD with an interception and a sack, while Rams WR Brandon Cooks burned his former team for 107 yards on seven catches. Brees threw for 249 yards with the two TD tosses, while being sacked twice and throwing the interception that ended New Orleans’ hopes of coming to Atlanta. Los Angeles went 6 of 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:36 (including the overtime), while the Saints went 6 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 30:41.

New England took a 14-0 lead with them to the intermission against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship game, only to see the Chiefs rally in the final 15 minutes of play and Brady and the Patriots would need overtime to take the 37-31 win on the road. Rookie RB Sony Michel and WR Phillip Dorsett would open the scoring for New England; Michel scoring on a 1-yard run early in the first quarter and Dorsett catching a 29-yard pass from Brady to take the 14-point lead at the break. Kansas City would respond in the third quarter as Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce connected on a 12-yard TD toss in the third to end New England’s bid for a shutout before Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski would push the lead back to 10 with a 47-yard field goal late in the quarter.

The Chiefs would then go to work in the final quarter of regulation, using a pair of Damien Williams TD runs to eventually take a 21-17 lead with 7:45 left in the contest. That lead would not last long as Michel scored on a 10-yard romp with 3:32 left. Kansas City then responded and took the lead back with 2:03 left when Williams scored from two yards out. The Chiefs’ lead did not last very long as New England’s Rex Burkhead gave his team a 31-28 lead back with 39 seconds left. Kansas City roared back again with 8 seconds left in regulation as Harrison Butker connected on a 39 yard field goal to tie things up at 31-31.

The Butker field goal would be the last time the Chiefs would see the ball as New England would win the coin toss in overtime and played ball control in the extra period, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:52 of clock and sent Chiefs fans home in a less than good mood when Burkhead gave his team the win, scoring from two yards out to take the win. Michel rushed for 113 yards with the two TDs as the Patriots outrushed Kansas City 176-41. Brady threw for 348 yards with the TD toss and one interception (he was not sacked), while Mahomes threw for 295 yards with three TDs and four sacks but no interceptions. Kansas City, who saw their hopes dashed when DE Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone, erasing a potential Brady interception in the final quarter, went 4 for 9 on third down and kept the ball for 20:53, while New England ruled the clock and kept the ball for 43:59 (including the 4:52 in overtime), while going 13 of 19 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

They met in Foxoboro in the 2016 season in week 13 and the Patriots were 26-10 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England scored their first 17 points of the contest uncontested before the Rams rallied in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring New England 10-9. The Rams were held to 36 rushing yards, while New England tallied 133, with LeGarrett Blount leading the way with 88 yards and a rushing TD, while Brady threw for 269 yards without a sack or interception (Goff threw for 161 yards with a pair of interceptions and four sacks; both Goff and Brady each had a TD pass). The Rams were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 22:03, while New England ruled the clock and kept the ball for 37:57, while going 4 of 16 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in Foxboro, the Pats covered the 13 1/2-point spread, winning by 16 but both clubs missed the 44 1/2 over/under as they combined for 36 points.

The Rams and Patriots met once in post-season play and that was in Super Bowl XXXVI, which New England won in the final seconds 20-17 in New Orleans, when the Rams were in St. Louis. That contest was the start of the Brady-Bill Belichick era as the Rams, who were in St. Louis, won the Lombardi Trophy the year before in Atlanta. New England erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit and took a 14-3 lead with them to the break in the Big Easy. The Pats then added an Adam Vinatieri field goal in the third quarter to lead by 14 before the Rams scored a pair of TDs in the fourth, one with Kurt Warner using his legs to score from two yards out, then Warner used his arm, connecting with WR Ricky Proehl with 90 seconds left in regulation. New England would use all of the 90 seconds that was left and made their way down the field, using a 9-play, 53-yard drive that ended with Vinatieri connecting on a 48-yard field goal as time expired. In picking up his first Super Bowl win, Brady threw for 145 yards and a TD with a sack but no interceptions, while Warner threw for 365 yards and the game-tying TD with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. New England outrushed the Rams 133-90 and went 2 for 11 on third down and kept the ball for 26:30 (including the final 90 seconds of the contest), while the Rams were 5 for 13 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

Yes, this is the last game of the year. When next Sunday rolls around, most of America will be forced to wait for baseball and watch golf, basketball or those gosh-awful Lifetime movies on Sunday. It’s also the last Sunday of “THE DRILL” until September. With that…. (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 58 last June and dates a 43-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?”)

New England, according to the boys and girls in Vegas, are favored by 2 1/2 with a 56 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense. For the winners, they get to go to Disney World and the Lombardi Trophy. As for the loser? Let’s just say that sports talk shows will be second-guessing them over and over and over until the draft. For the championship week, we went 1-1 and for the season, we are now 150-112. The end is nigh for the 2018 season. No more NFL until pre-season. It’s time to pick a winner, Jimmy, to paraphrase Robert Redford from “The Natural.” Jimmy’s from LA and he’s going with the Rams. We are too. Rams win and cover the 2 1/2.

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely, Gene Steratore; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Mike Holmgren, Tony Boselli, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (New England), 83 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (New England), 225 (Los Angeles Rams)

Referee: John Parry

Injury Report

New England – New England reports no injuries

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

Weather: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 55 degrees.

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

Three-time Grammy Award-winning multiplatinum band Maroon 5 will take center stage at the PEPSI SUPER BOWL LIII HALFTIME SHOW on CBS at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday, February 3, 2019, the group and the National Football League confirmed. Maroon 5 will feature a slate of guest artists including Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott and Atlanta native Big Boi bringing together the broadest range of musical genres ever seen on the Super Bowl stage.

Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi join an esteemed list of recent halftime acts including Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz, Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2 and many more.

The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most-watched musical event of the year. Super Bowl LIII and the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show will be broadcast by CBS from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Super Bowl LIII marks Pepsi’s seventh year as title sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and 17th year as an NFL partner. Pepsi and the NFL have teamed up again to provide fans with a halftime experience worthy of pop-culture’s biggest stage.

The PEPSI SUPER BOWL LIII HALFTIME SHOW is an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and directed by Hamish Hamilton.

For more information about Super Bowl LIII, visit SuperBowl.com.

About Maroon 5: Maroon 5 stands out as not only one of pop music’s most enduring artists, but also one of the 21st century’s biggest acts. To date, the universally renowned Los Angeles band have achieved three GRAMMY® Awards and sold over 53 million albums, 48 million singles worldwide and earned gold and platinum certifications in more than 35 countries. The band won over fans and critics alike with the hybrid rock/R&B sound they introduced on their debut album, Songs About Jane and their double platinum album, It Won’t be Soon Before Long. Maroon 5 went on to release studio albums, Hands All Over, which featured the anthemic “Moves Like Jagger,” and Overexposed. The band’s fifth studio album, V, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and featured the #1 hit singles “Maps,” “Animals” and “Sugar,” helping the band set a record for the most #1’s by a group in the Top 40 chart’s 20-year history, with 9 in total. The music video for the album’s GRAMMY- nominated single “Sugar” has notably logged a record setting 2+ billion views to date.

Maroon 5 released their 6th studio album, Red Pill Blues, in late 2017 via 222/ Interscope. The album features the global hit single “Girls Like You” ft. Cardi B, which reached #1 at Top 40, #1 at Adult Pop, #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks. The track also claimed the #1 position on iTunes and Spotify, all while accumulating over 626 million Spotify streams and over 1.7 billion YouTube/ VEVO views. The single has gone on to become the longest-running song on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 and is notably the most-watched video on VEVO in 2018. The band recently finished 2018 as the biggest act on U.S. radio (according to Nielsen Music). The group’s songs amassed 8.58 billion audience impressions across all monitored radio stations, which included 1.95 million plays of Maroon 5’s music.

About Travis Scott: Grammy-nominated global superstar Travis Scott has established himself as a leading force in the music world. His third full-length album ASTROWORLD – released August 3, 2018 via Cactus Jack Records/Epic Records – debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, scored the second-largest debut of 2018 and has since certified platinum by the RIAA. The critically acclaimed album also yielded his first Billboard Hot 100 #1 single with “SICKO MODE,” and garnered a total of three Grammy nominations: Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. ASTROWORLD followed the 2016 release of platinum-certified, Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight and earned his first #1 album. Travis’ platinum-certified debut album, Rodeo was released in 2015 and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Antidote.” Hailing from Missouri City, TX, Travis has performed on Saturday Night Live, Ellen, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and many more. He has appeared on the cover of prestigious publications such as Rolling Stone, GQ, GQ Style, Billboard, XXL and The FADER. Additionally, Travis is a household name in the fashion world where his influence spans from launch collaborations with YSL, Helmut Lang, Nike and Ksubi Denim to starring in notable campaigns for Alexander Wang, and Ricardo Tisci among other numerous top designers. Travis will embark on the second North American leg of his ASTROWORLD Tour this month. The immense SOLD OUT world arena tour began November 2018 and features a roller coaster hoisted in the air running the length crowd, a ferris wheel, fireworks, and pyrotechnics and is as Rolling Stone describes, “the greatest show on earth.”

About Big Boi: Atlanta indisputably set the pace for modern hip-hop. However, Big Boi set the pace for Atlanta, and by proxy, the culture at large. If the genre of hip-hop ever gets its own “Rap Mount Rushmore,” a legacy as the region’s foremost wordsmith, funkiest gentleman, and resident ATLien certainly guarantees a place for the diamond selling artist, rapper, songwriter, record producer, actor, philanthropist born Antwan André Patton. Big made history as the preeminent spitter of the Dungeon Family and one-half of OutKast. The legendary duo sold 25 million albums and garnered seven GRAMMY® Awards, becoming the first and only hip-hop artist in history to win the GRAMMY® for “Album of the Year” upon release of their 2003 RIAA Diamond-certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Big Boi made his proper introduction as a solo artist in 2010 with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. A modern classic, it captured #3 on theBillboard Top 200 and landed on Pitchfork’s “100 Best Albums of the Decade ‘So Far’.” Following a succession of high-profile album releases, Big Boi released his latest album  Boomiverse in 2017. The smash single “All Night” sound tracked a high-profile Apple Animoji commercial, blew up radio, and clocked 40 million streams within a year. The song also hit the Top 30 on the pop chart and Top 10 at Rhythmic.

 

The National Football League announced Monday that Tim McGraw will headline the Super Bowl LIII pregame festivities in Atlanta on Sunday, February 3. McGraw’s His performance will take place at the NFL Tailgate Party with his new single “Thought About You” televised live on CBS’s Super Bowl LIII Pregame Show, THE SUPER BOWL TODAY.

Tim McGraw has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and dominated the charts with 43 worldwide number 1 singles. He’s won 3 Grammy Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, His iconic career achievements include being named BDS Radio’s Most Played Artist of the Decade for ALL music genres and having the Most Played Song of the Decade for ALL music genres. He is the most played country artist since his debut in 1992, with two singles spending more than 10 weeks at number 1. His career-long tour successes include the record-setting “Soul2Soul The World Tour 2017” with his wife, Faith Hill. McGraw starred in and narrated the hit movie “The Shack” and his other movie credits include “Friday Night Lights” and “The Blind Side.”

Earlier in the day Aloe Blacc will perform at the NFL Tailgate Party and will be joined onstage by Atlanta’s very own David Walker and High Praise for a live televised performance on THE SUPER BOWL TODAY on CBS.

Aloe Blacc released his solo debut Shine Through in 2006 and sophomore album Good Things in 2010. Boosted by the breakout success of “I Need a Dollar” (which was selected as the theme song to HBO’s How To Make it In America), Good Things reached gold status in countries around the world and paved the way for his signing to XIX Recordings/Interscope Records in 2012. Made in collaboration with groundbreaking producers like Pharrell Williams, Lift Your Spirit dropped on New Year’s Day in 2014, debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Album.

For updates on Super Bowl LIII festivities, fans may visit SuperBowl.com or follow @SuperBowl on Twitter.

Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LIII pregame festivities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday, February 3, the NFL and CBS announced today. The performance will be televised live on CBS prior to kickoff.

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” Knight told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”

Gladys Knight has enjoyed #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. Knight has recorded two number-one Billboard Hot 100 singles (“Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For”), eleven number-one R&B singles and six number-one R&B albums. She has won seven Grammy Awards and is an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Pips. Fall of 2015 marked the release of Knight’s first mainstream dance record, “Just A Little” in nearly twenty years. The song serves as lead single from her twelfth studio album that she is currently on. The year of 2011 was a year of much recognition as Knight was both honoring and being honored, first at a Michael Jackson tribute concert and then at the 2011 Soul Train Awards.

Gladys Knight joins the ranks of many great performers who have sung the Super Bowl National Anthem including: Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Mariah Carey, Cher, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Idina Menzel, Aaron Neville, P!NK, Jordin Sparks, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Vanessa Williams and many more. (A complete list of National Anthem performers from past Super Bowls is listed below.)

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), performer and deaf activist Aarron Loggins will sign in American Sign Language both the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful”.

The pregame and halftime shows are an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner.

SUPER BOWL NATIONAL ANTHEM PERFORMERS

Super Bowl – Performer
Super Bowl I – Universities of Arizona and Michigan Bands
Super Bowl II – Grambling University Band
Super Bowl III – Anita Bryant (Pledge of Allegiance by Apollo Astronauts)
Super Bowl IV – Al Hirt (Pledge of Allegiance by Astronauts)
Super Bowl V – Tommy Loy (trumpeter)
Super Bowl VI – U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale
Super Bowl VII – Andy Williams and Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) Pledge of Allegiance by Apollo 17 crew
Super Bowl VIII – Charlie Pride
Super Bowl IX – Grambling University Band with Mardi Gras Chorus
Super Bowl X – Tom Sullivan
Super Bowl XI  Vicki Carr (America the Beautiful)
Super Bowl XII – Phyllis Kelly of Northeast Louisiana State University
Super Bowl XIII – Colgate University Thirteen
Super Bowl XIV – Cheryl Ladd
Super Bowl XV – Helen O’Connell
Super Bowl XVI – Diana Ross
Super Bowl XVII – Leslie Easterbrook
Super Bowl XVIII – Barry Manilow
Super Bowl XIX – Children’s Choir of San Francisco
Super Bowl XXIV – Aaron Neville
Super Bowl XXV – Whitney HoustonSuper Bowl XX Wynton Marsalis
Super Bowl XXI – Neil Diamond
Super Bowl XXII – Herb Alpert
Super Bowl XXIII – Billy Joel
Super Bowl XXVI – Harry Connick, Jr. (Signed by Lori Hilary)
Super Bowl XXVII – Garth Brooks (Signed by Marlee Matlin)
Super Bowl XXVIII – Natalie Cole with Atlanta University Center Chorus (Signed by Courtney Keel Foley)
Super Bowl XXIX – Kathie Lee Gifford (Signed by Heather Whitestone)
Super Bowl XXX – Vanessa Williams (Signed by Mary Kim Titla)
Super Bowl XXXI – Luther Vandross (Signed by Erika Schwarz)
Super Bowl XXXII – Jewel (Signed by Phyllis Frelich)
Super Bowl XXXIII – Cher (Signed by Speaking Hands)
Super Bowl XXXIV – Faith Hill (Signed by Briarlake Elementary School Signing Choir)
Super Bowl XXXV – Backstreet Boys (Signed by Tom Cooney); “America The Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles
Super Bowl XXXVI – Mariah Carey (Signed by Joe Narcisse); “America The Beautiful” performed by Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony
Super Bowl XXXVII – Dixie Chicks (Signed by Janet Maxwell); “God Bless America” performed by Celine Dion
Super Bowl XXXVIII – Beyoncé Knowles (Signed by Suzanna Christy)
Super Bowl XXXIX – More than 100 representatives from the four branches of the military (Signed by Wesley Tallent)
Super Bowl XL – Aaron Neville and Dr. John with Aretha Franklin and Detroit based 150-member choir (Signed by Angela LaGuardia of Michigan School for Deaf).
Super Bowl XLI – Billy Joel (Signed by Marlee Matlin and Jason Hay-Southwell)
Super Bowl XLII – Jordin Sparks (Signed by A Dreamer)
Super Bowl XLIII – Jennifer Hudson (Signed by Kristen Santos)
Super Bowl XLIV – Carrie Underwood (Signed by Kinesha Battles)
Super Bowl XLV – Christina Aguilera (Signed by Candice Villesca)
Super Bowl XLVI – Kelly Clarkson (Signed by Rachel Mazique)
Super Bowl XLVII – Alicia Keys (Signed by John Maucere)
Super Bowl XLVIII – Renée Fleming (Signed by Amber Zion)
Super Bowl XLIX – Idina Menzel (Signed by Treshelle Edmond)
Super Bowl 50 – Lady Gaga (Signed by Marlee Matlin)
Super Bowl LI – Luke Bryan (Signed by Kriston Pumphrey)
Super Bowl LII – P!NK (Signed by Alexandria Wailes)
Super Bowl LIII – Gladys Knight (Signed by Aarron Loggins)

ABOUT GLADYS KNIGHT: Gladys Knight’s career started when at 7 years old she came to prominence on Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour TV show in 1952. Still performing over six decades in an ever-changing industry, she provides inspiration to those in and out of the arts both on and off the stage. Few have matched her unassailable artistry. The seven-time Grammy winner has had #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R & B and Adult Contemporary while excelling in film, television and live performances. She has won the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Gospel Album” and recorded over 38 albums over her career including four solo albums over the past decade. In addition to her musical endeavors and performing accomplishments, Gladys was honored in 2015 when a portion of Atlanta’s State Route 9 from Peachtree Street to 14th Street was named Gladys Knight Highway. In 2017, she and her husband, William McDowell, founded the Reynolds High School Community Foundation to benefit the renovation of the former high school into a community center for the Canton, North Carolina community.

ABOUT AARRON LOGGINS: Aarron Loggins is an accomplished dancer, performer, advocate and actor. He is currently performing on series including The C-Word and Shock Nation, and can be seen in a short film, Warriors of the Red Ribbon. He was the Mister Deaf International of 2014 and was profiled on Fashion News Live. He has danced with performance groups as the Wild Zappers and Da Jump Back, and has performed with the National Theater of the Deaf. In addition, he has acted in several theater productions including Who’s Tommy, and Sense-Able. His talent includes creating visually compelling American Sign Language (ASL) performances of music.

Sunday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Chris Myers (Field reporter); WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Los Angeles Rams), 82 (New Orleans); XM: 88 (WW1), 83 (Los Angeles Rams), 82 (New Orleans)

AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely, Gene Steratore; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Kugler, Tony Boselli, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (New England ), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (New England ), 225 (Kansas City)

Sunday Officials
NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.: Clete Blakeman

Sunday’s Odds (Home teams listed in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite         Spread   Underdog                 O/U
NEW ORLEANS      – 3 1/2  Los Angeles Rams         57 1/2
KANSAS CITY      – 3      New England              56
Sunday’s Injury Report

NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

New Orleans
OUT: WR Keith Kirkwood (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Ben Watson (Illness)

AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.

New England – New England reports no injuries
OUT: LB Dorian O’Daniel (Ankle)

Sunday Weather
NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.: Game indoors
AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.: Cloudy and 26 degrees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

Saturday and Sunday Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

AFC – Indianapolis at Kansas City, 4:35 p.m. Saturday on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); WESTWOOD ONE: Ryan Radtke, Trent Green, Laura Okmin; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Indianapolis), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Indianapolis), 225 (Kansas City)

NFC – Dallas at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Saturday on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Kugler, Kurt Warner, Scott Kaplan; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Dallas), 83 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Dallas), 225 (Los Angeles Rams)

AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1:05 p.m. Sunday on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely, Gene Steratore; WESTWOOD ONE: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli, Hub Arkush; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Los Angeles Chargers), 83 (New England) | XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Los Angeles Chargers), 225 (New England)

NFC – Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver, Peter Schrager; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Philadelphia), 83 (New Orleans); XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Philadelphia), 225 (New Orleans)

Saturday and Sunday Officials
AFC – Indianapolis at Kansas City, 4:35 p.m. Saturday: John Hussey
NFC – Dallas at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Saturday: John Parry
AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1:05 p.m. Sunday: Ron Torbert
NFC – Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. Sunday: Carl Cheffers

Saturday and Sunday Odds (Home Teams in CAPS)

Saturday’s Games
Favorite          Spread    Underdog           O/U
KANSAS CITY       –  6      Indianapolis       57
LA RAMS           –  7      Dallas             49 1/2

Sunday’s Games
Favorite          Spread    Underdog           O/U
NEW ENGLAND       –  4 1/2  LA Chaargers       48
NEW ORLEANS       –  9      Philadelphia       51 1/2

Saturday and Sunday Injury Report

AFC – Indianapolis at Kansas City, 4:35 p.m. Saturday

Indianapolis
DOUBTFUL: DE Tyquan Lewis (Knee)
OUT: WR Ryan Grant (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: S Malik Hooker (Foot), DT Denico Autry (Shoulder)

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: LB Dorian O’Daniel (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: S James Berry (Heel), RB Spencer Ware (Hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (Foot)

NFC – Dallas at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Dallas
OUT: DE David Irving (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Cole Beasley (Ankle), TE Blake Jarwin (Anke), DT Maliek Collins (Illness), G Xavier Su’a-Filo (Ankle), S Darian Thompson (Groin)

Los Angeles Rams
QUESTIONABLE: DT Ethan Westbrooks (Thigh)

AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1:05 p.m. Sunday

Los Angeles Chargers
QUESTIONABLE: CB Brandon Facyson (Concussion), TE Hunter Henry (Knee), RB Derek Watt (Shoulder), LB Kyle Wilson (Concussion)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: DE Deatrich Wise (Ankle)

NFC – Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. Sunday
Sunday, January 13th

Philadelphia
OUT: QB Carson Wentz (Back)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Donell Alexander (Hamstring), CB Sidney Jones (Hamstring), DE Michael Bennett (Foot), WR Shelton Gibson (Hamstring), T Jason Peters (Quadricep), WR Mike Wallace (Ankle)

New Orleans
OUT: WR Simmie Cobbs (Knee)

Saturday and Sunday Weather
AFC – Indianapolis at Kansas City, 4:35 p.m. Saturday: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of snow and 31 degrees
NFC – Dallas at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Saturday: Partly cloudy and 58 degrees
AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1:05 p.m. Sunday: Partly cloudy and 27 degrees
NFC – Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. Sunday: Game indoors

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

 

Round one is in the books.

Time for round 2.

It’s the divisional round of the 2018 NFL playoffs. It’s pro football’s answer to the NCAA basketball Elite 8. It’s still the same formula.

Win.

Advance.

Lose.

Your next game is next year.

It’s such a simple formula that even a 5-year old gets it. It’s not rocket science.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

LOWER SEED SUCCESS: Beware of the lower seeds! Indianapolis (11-6) and Philadelphia (10-7) both earned victories on Wild Card Weekend as the No. 6 seed in their respective conferences.

The Colts, who travel to Kansas City on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. on NBC and the Eagles, who play at New Orleans on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on FOX, look to become the first No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since 2010, when both the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets accomplished the feat.

The Number 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990:

SEASON – TEAM (CONFERENCE, ADVANCED TO)
2010 – Green Bay (NFC, Won Super Bowl XLV)
2010 – New York Jets (AFC, AFC Championship)
2008 – Baltimore (AFC, AFC Championship)
2008 – Philadelphia (NFC, NFC Championship)
2005 – Pittsburgh (AFC, Won Super Bowl XL)
2018 – Indianapolis (AFC, ???)
2018 – Philadelphia (NFC, ???)

In the AFC, the Los Angeles Chargers (13-4, number five 5 seed), who face New England on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS and the sixth-seeded Colts are both still alive. With victories by both teams in the Divisional Playoffs, it would mark the first Conference Championship game featuring a number five and number six seed since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990.

WINNING WAYS: Dallas, who defeated Seattle 24-22 on Wild Card Weekend and New England, who had a bye last week, will each be playing in the Divisional Playoffs.

The Cowboys, who play at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. on FOX, has 35 playoff wins and can tie  Pittsburgh (36) for the most postseason victories all-time. New England, who hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS, has 34 postseason victories and can surpass Green Bay (34) for the third-most playoff wins all-time.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM (W-L, PCT.; SUPER BOWL WINS)
Pittsburgh (36-25, .590; 6)
Dallas (35-27, .565; 5)
Green Bay (34-22, .607; 4)
New England (34-20, .630; 5)
San Francisco (30-20, .600; 5)

TOUCHDOWN LEADERS: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are s​et to face off against Indianapolis quarterback Andew Luck and the Colts in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. on NBC.

Mahomes, who led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes, and Luck, who ranked second with 39 touchdown passes in 2018, have the most combined regular-season passing touchdowns (89) among any opposing quarterbacks in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

With Mahomes and Luck ranking first and second in regular-season touchdown passes, Saturday will mark the fifth time since 2002 that the top two passing touchdown leaders from the regular season will face off in the postseason.

The postseason games between the top two regular-season passing touchdown leaders since 2002:

SEASON – PLAYER (TEAM, TD PASSES)
2016 – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay, 40)
2014 – Andrew Luck (Indianapolis, 40)
2009 – Drew Brees (New Orleans, 34)
2009 – Drew Brees (New Orleans, 34)
2018 – Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City, 50)

SEASON – PLAYER, TEAM (TD PASSES, PLAYOFF ROUND)
2016 – Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (38, NFC Championship)
2014 – Peyton Manning, Denver (39, AFC Divisional)
2009 – Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (33, Super Bowl XLIV)*
2009 – Brett Favre, Minnesota (33, NFC Championship)^
* Tie for 2nd
^ Pro Football Hall of Famer

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: New England quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots welcome quarterback Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS.

Brady, who will be 41 years and 163 days old on Sunday and Rivers, at 37 years and 36 days old, combine for a total of 28,688 days old, the oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history.

The oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history:

DATE – QUARTERBACK (TEAM), QUARTERBACK (TEAM) (COMBINED DAYS OLD)
1/13/19 – Tom Brady (New England), Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers) (28,688)*
1/24/16 – Peyton Manning (Denver), Tom Brady (New England) (28,603)
1/9/99 – John Elway (Denver), Dan Marino (Miami) (27,704)^
1/16/94 – Warren Moon (Houston Oilers), Joe Montana (Kansas City) (27,306)^
1/22/17 – Tom Brady (New England), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) (27,162)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Total days as of Sunday, January 13

RATED WELL: Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on FOX to face New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints.

Foles, who has the highest postseason passer rating (105.2) in NFL history, and Brees, who ranks fifth with a 100.7 passer rating, are two of five quarterbacks to have a passer rating of 100 or higher in the postseason (minimum 150 attempts).

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason passer rating (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK (COMPLETIONS/ATTEMPTS – YARDS; TD/INTERCEPTIONS, RATING)
Nick Foles (125/179 – 1,432; 10/3, 105.2)
Bart Starr (130/213 – 1,753; 15/3, 104.8)^
Kurt Warner (307/462 – 3,952; 31/14, 102.8)^
Matt Ryan (237/351 – 2,672; 20/7, 100.8)
Drew Brees (354/537 – 4,209; 29/9, 100.7)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Foles (69.8 percent) has the highest postseason completion percentage in league annals (minimum 150 attempts) and Brees (65.9 percent) ranks fifth.

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason completion percentage (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK (COMPLETONS/ATTEMPTS, PCT.)
Nick Foles (125/179, 69.8)
Matt Ryan (237/351, 67.5)
Kurt Warner (307/462, 66.5)^
Ken Anderson (110/166, 66.3)
Drew Brees (354/537, 65.9)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SHOWDOWN IN SO CAL: Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys head to Southern California to take on defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. on FOX.

Elliott, who led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards in 2018, rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ Wild Card Weekend victory over Seattle. Elliott has recorded at least 125 rushing yards in each of his first two playoff appearances and can become the fourth player in NFL history to record three consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards.

The players with the most consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (DATES; CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 125+ RUSH YARDS)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1/11/98-1/17/99; 4)^
Arian Foster, Houston (1/7/12-1/5/13; 3)
John Riggins, Washington (1/15/83-1/30/83; 3)^
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (1/15/17-1/5/19; 2)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

Donald, who led the league with 20.5 sacks and earned the 2018 Deacon Jones Award as the NFL’s sack leader, became the 11th different player since 1982 to record at least 20 sacks in a single season.

With a Rams win on Saturday, Donald would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1986) as the only players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982.

The players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – SACKS, ADVANCED TO)
Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants (1986 – 20.5, Won Super Bowl XXI)^
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 20.5, ???)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

We went 1-3 for Wild Card weekend, which in actuality is a lot better than going 0-4. For the season, we’re 146-110. When Divisional Weekend is over, two teams will advance for the right to go to Atlanta, while the others will be cleaning out lockers.

Again, the formula is this.

Win.

Advance.

Lose.

Your next game is next year.

ICYMI: All the playoff games, including Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, are going to be designated “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 58 last June and dates a 43-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?”).

Divisional play gets underway in Kansas City Saturday afternoon and concludes in New Orleans late Sunday afternoon.

And then there were eight.

On Saturday, January 12, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4), who won the AFC West and secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC, will host the Indianapolis Colts (11-6) at Arrowhead Stadium to kick off the Divisional Playoffs on NBC at 4:35 p.m.. Saturday night in primetime on FOX at 8:15 p.m., the Los Angeles Rams (13-3), who won the NFC West and own the No. 2 seed in the NFC, will host the Dallas Cowboys (11-6) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

On Sunday, January 13, the New England Patriots (11-5), the AFC East champions and the AFC’s No. 2 seed, will welcome the Los Angeles Chargers (13-4) to Gillette Stadium on CBS at 1:05 p.m. The NFC South-champion New Orleans Saints (13-3), who own the NFC’s No. 1 seed, will host the defending Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles (10-7) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on FOX at 4:40 p.m. to conclude Divisional weekend. Here are the Saturday and Sunday picks for Divisional Weekend.

AFC – Indianapolis (10-6) at Kansas City (12-4), 4:35 p.m. Saturday on NBC. Andrew Luck vs. Patrick Mahomes. They meet in the weekend opener of Divisional Weekend. The Indinapolis Colts, all but given up for dead, travel to Arrowhead to face off against the top-seed Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Playoff matchup. While the Chiefs were enjoying their bye weekend, the Colts made the first step toward Atlanta, taking number three seed Houston to task last Saturday afternoon in the Lone Star State, coming away 21-7 winners at NRG Stadium.

The Colts, the six seed in the AFC side of the bracket, took a 21-0 lead with them to the intermission against their AFC South rivals, then held Houston in check the rest of the contest, as the Texans would end Indy’s bid for a shutout when Houston WR Keke Coutee would catch a 6-yard TD pass from QB Deshaun Watson with 10:57 left in the contest. Indianapolis outrushed 200-105 with Colts RB Marlon Mack leading the way with 148 yards and a rushing TD (Watson led Houston with 76 yards) and Luck threw for 222 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Eric Ebron), without a sack, while Watson threw for 235 yards with the lone TD, with three sacks (both men threw an interception). The Colts were 9 of 14 on third down in the Saturday afternoon AFC Wild Card contest and kept the ball for 31:14, while the Texans were 3 for 13 on third down, 2 of 6 on fourth down and they would hold on to the ball for 28:46.

Kansas City, the AFC’s top seed, earned their first-round bye and the AFC West crown, taking AFC West rival Oakland to task at Arrowhead 35-3 to close out the regular season. The Chiefs led 21-3 at the intermission, holding Oakland to a 50 yard field goald by Dan Carlson with 64 seconds left before the intermission. Kansas City would then go on to score 14 more second half points unchallenged for the win. Even though the Raiders did outrush the Chiefs 127-99 (Raiders RB Doug Martin led all rushers with 100 yards), Mahomes threw for 281 yards with a pair of TDs, while Derek Carr threw for 185 yards with three sackes and a pair of interceptions (Mahomes threw an interception but was not sacked). Kansas City went 5 of 9 on third down (the Chiefs were 1 for 3 on fourth down) at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 26:04, while the Raiders actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:56, going 4 for 10 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

The two teams have met four times in the post-season and the Colts have come away winners in all four contests, including a 45-41 AFC Wild Card win in the Hoosier State in 2013. The Colts have outscored Kansas City 116-90 in those four contests. Kansas City’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 57. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The winner? If it’s Kansas City, they get to host the AFC Championship Game the next weekend; if the Colts win, they will be on the road to either Los Angeles or Foxboro. Colts make this one close but Chiefs prevail at Arrowhead and advances to the AFC Championship.

NFC – Dallas (10-6) at Los Angeles Rams (13-3), 8:15 p.m. Saturday on FOX. A pair of division winners meet in Saturday’s second game as the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, travel to the West Coast for a Saturday night meeting with Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams.

The fourth-seeded Cowboys, winners of the NFC East, erased a 14-10 third quarter deficit against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks last Saturday evening in Arlington, holding off a late Seattle rally and came away 24-22 winners at AT&T Stadium. Dallas led 10-6 at the intermission before Wilson gave Seattle their only lead of the contest with 1:59 on a 4-yard TD run. Seattle then went for two because K Sebastian Janikowski (who had kicked a pair of field goals) left the contest with a pulled hamstring and found success on the try when Mark Davis scored on the 2-point run. with 1:59 left in the third. Dallas would reclaim the lead early in the fourth quarter when Elliott and Prescott each used 1-yard TD runs to make it a 10-point contest. Seattle would make a 2-point contest with 78 seconds left in the contest when Wilson connected with RB J.D. McKissic on a 7-yard TD pass. Seattle then went for two again and once again, they found success as Chris Carson would make the contest a two-point affair. The Seahawks then tried an onside kick, which Dallas recovered. The Cowboys then ran out the clock and gave their fans a chance to catch their collective breaths.

Dallas outrushed Seattle 164-73 (Elliott led all rushers with 137 yards), with Prescott throwing for 226 yards (Dallas WR Amari Cooper was Prescott’s main target, catching seven passes for 106), while Wilson threw for 233 yards with a sack and no interceptions (Prescott threw an interception and a sack, both men threw a TD pass). Dallas went 2 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:50, while Seattle held on to the pigskin for 25:10, going 2 for 13 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Rams, winners of the NFC West for the second staight season, secured the second seed as they come off their bye week 48-32 winners over NFC West and instate rival San Francisco to close out the 2018 season for both clubs. Los Angeles led 31-10 at the break at the Coliseum, then watched the 49ers outscore them in the second half by a 22-17 margin. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 155-127 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (San Francisco was led by Alfred Morris with 111 yards, while the Rams’ Chris Anderson led all rushers with 132 yards; each man had a rushing TD), while Goff threw for 199 yards with 199 yards and four TDs with no sacks or interceptions, while San Francisco’s Nate Mullins threw for 282 yards with three TDs (connecting with TE George Kittle on one toss; Kittle had nine catches for 149 yards) with three sacks and three interceptions. The Rams were 10 of 16 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:50, while the 49ers went 3 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:10.

The Cowboys and the Rams have met eight times in the post-season and each has taken four wins in the series. The Cowboys have outscored the Rams 174-115. Los Angeles’ last playoff win over Dallas came in 1985 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs in Los Angeles, while the Cowboys’ last win in post-season action came 1980 in Dallas at old Texas Stadium by a final of 34-13 in the NFC Wild Card round. The Rams are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 49 1/2. For the winner, they will either have a chance to host or travel to New Orleans next week. As for the loser? It was fun while it lasted. The Rams may not cover the 7 but they do take the win on the West Coast.

AFC – Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at New England (11-5), 1:05 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Sunday divisional action gets underway southwest of downtown Boston as the New England Patriots and Tom Brady host Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

Rivers and the Chargers, the number five seed, survived a scare from Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens as the Bolts held off a late Ravens rally to come away 23-17 winners at M&T Bank Stadium last Sunday afternoon. The Chargers got four first-half field goals from Michael Badgley to take a 12-0 lead with them to the intermission. The Ravens would then break the shutout in the third quarter as Baltimore K Jeff Tucker connected on a 33-yard field goal late in the quarter before the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard run after there was confusion about a fumble that Baltimore recovered and scored what they thought was a TD inside their 1-yard line. The play was reviewed and the officals ruled that Chargers RB Derek Watt was down by contact at the one. This would give Los Angeles a second chance and they would capitalize on it.

After Badgley kicked his fifth field goal of the day, the Chargers thought that Baltimore was going to go away quietly. Such was not the case as Jackson and WR Michael Crabtree connected on a 31-yard TD pass with 6:33 left in the contest. Baltimore would then use an 80-yard, 12-play drive with 1:59 left when the Jackson-Crabtree combo went back to work, scoring from seven yards away to make it a 6-point contest. Baltimore would get the ball back one more time and this time, Jackson was his own worst enemy, as he fumbled the ball and DE Melvin Ingram recoved the fumble, giving the Chargers the ball and the win. Baltimore barely outrushed the Chargers 90-89 and Rivers threw for 160 yards with one sack and no interceptions, while Jackson threw for 194 yards with seven sacks and an interception to go with the two TD tosses. Los Angeles went 6 of 17 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:40, while the Ravens kept the ball for 26:20, going 5 for 15 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Pats, the number two seed, took a week off after holding the New York Jets 38-3 in Foxboro in the season finale. New England, who held the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a first quarter field goal by Jeff White, scored all of their points in the contest without much challenge, taking a 21-3 lead with them to the break, then tacking on 17 more points to seal New York’s fate. New England outrushed GangGreen 131-104, with Brady throwing for 250 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked once), while Sam Darnold threw for 167 yards with four sacks (Darnold did not have a TD pass but did not throw an interception). New England in the season finale at home went 5 of 11 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and the Patriots held on to the ball for 32:13, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the pigskin for 27:47, going 4 of 13 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The two old AFC/AFL rivals have played three post-season contests against each other and the Patriots lead the series 2-1 (which includes games that were played in San Diego and in Foxboro). New England’s last win came in 2007 in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium, coming away 21-12 winners, while the Chargers’ last post-season win over New England came in San Diego in 1963, coming away 51-10 winners to take the AFL title, when the Pats played in Boston. New England’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 48. The winner? They’ll either be at home or have to travel to Kansas City. The loser? They’re done for the year. New England covers the 4 1/2 in Foxboro and wins at home.

NFC – Philadelphia (9-7) at New Orleans (13-3), 4:40 p.m. on FOX. Divisional play concludes in the Big Easy as Cheesesteak and Gumbo met in New Orleans as the defending Super Bowl champs travel to New Orleans to face off against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in a week 11 rematch.

The defending Super Bowl champs survived a scare from Chicago, the NFC’s third-seed, in the Windy City, escaping with a 16-15 win at Soldier Field last Sunday afternoon. Philadelphia trailed the Monsters of the Midway 6-3 at the half, then took a 10-6 lead with 5:20 in the third when rookied TE Dallas Goedert and QB Nick Foles connected on a 10-yard TD strike. Da Bears would take the lead back when WR Allan Robinson and Mitch Trubisky connected on a 22-yard TD pass with 9:04 left in the contest. Philadelphia then had one last chance and used a 12-play, 60-yard drive that took 3:52 of time and ended when Golden Tate III and Foles connected on a 2-yard TD toss with 56 seconds left. Philadelphia then went for the two-point conversion to make it 18-15 but failed, which gave Chicago the ball back.

Da Bears then made their way downfield and got as close as Philadelphia’s 25-yard line, when Bears K Chris Parkey kicked what he thought was a 43-yard game-winner but Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson used his team’s final time out to ice Parkey. The move paid off huge as Parkey’s second attempt hit the crossbar and fell back into the field of play. Philadelphia then ran the clock out and took the win out of the Windy City. Chicago outrushed Philadelphia 65-42 and Foles threw for 266 yards with the two TDs (he was sacked once and picked off twice), while Trubisky threw for 303 yards with the TD and a pair of sacks but no interceptions. Philadelphia went 6 of 13 on third down (the Eagles were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:48, while Chicago kept the ball for 29:12, while going 5 of 16 on third down tries.

Although they wound up being the one seed in the NFC, New Orleans limps its way into the post-season after falling 33-14 to Carolina in the Big Easy two Sundays ago in the season finale. Carolina led their NFC South rivals 23-0 at the half and took a 30-0 lead with them to the start of the final 15 minutes of action before the Saints scored a pair of TDs in the fourth, with rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith catching a 9-yard TD toss from backup QB Teddy Bridgewater (the Saints had rested most of their starters, including Brees) with 13:28 left in the contest and a 9-yard run by Taysom Hill to close out the scoring in the contest. New Orleans did outrush Carolina 184-111 and Bridgewater threw for 118 yards with the lone TD, adding a sack and an interception to his tally. New Orleans went 4 for 10 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:34, while the Panthers ruled the clock and held the ball for 33:26, while going 6 for 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The earlier meeting took place in week 11 and the and the Saints won 48-7. New Orleans took a 24-4 lead at the half, with the Eagles’ lone TD coming in the second quarter when rookie RB Josh Adams scored on a 28-yard run. The Saints, who scored the first 17 points of the game unchallenged, went on to score 24 more second half points uninhibited. While holding the Eagles to 58 yards rushing, the Saints ran for 173 yards, with Mark Ingram leading all rushers with 103 yards and a pair of TDs. Brees threw for 363 yards with four TDs passes without a sack or interception, while Carson Wentz threw for 156 yards with three sacks and three interceptions. Philadelphia was 3 of 10 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 22:26, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:34, going 6 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Eagles and Saints have met three times in post-season play and the Saints lead the series 2-1 but Philadelphia has outscored New Orleans 84-73. Philadelphia’s last win over New Orleans came in 1992 in the Big Easy, when they took a 36-20 NFC Wild Card win, while the Saints’ last win also came in the City of Brothery Love, as the Saints would wind up taking a 26-24 Wild Card win in 2013. In the week 11 contest in the Big Easy, the Saints covered the 8-point spread, winning at home by 41 and and both teams matched the 55 over/under. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Saints as 9-point favorites in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Philly’s trying to go back to the Super Bowl, New Orleans is trying to stop them and stay home for the remainder of the playoffs. The Eagles may be playing with house money but expect an upset in the Big Easy. Philadelphia may not cover the 9 but they get a trip to either Los Angeles or Dallas next week, as they take the win on the road.