Archives for posts with tag: Houston Texans

Soon it will be time to go to camp.

There’s no eating s’mores. There’s some swimming, no one’s singing “Kumba Ya.”

It’s almost time for football.

Soon, all 32 NFL teams will be on a practice field somewhere in America. One will be looking to defend their title. The other 31 teams will be looking to knock them off the top of the mountain.

The hunter is NOW the hunted.

Veterans will be looking to keep their jobs, while rookies and free agents fight for that coveted roster spot. That spot means a paycheck. It’s going to be hot. They’ll be sleeping in dorms for the first time since college, they’ll fight heat, humidity, bugs and in some cases each other.

The playbooks will be bigger than the textbooks they used in college, making “War and Peace” look like a comic book. Meetings with coaches in their positions, pre-season games that will determine their futures will take place and in the end, they’ll either be on a roster or they’ll get that knock on the door from a coach or support staff member and the dreaded words “Coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” That usually means you’re getting cut.

Some camps will have their rookies come in first to get used to being in camp, while others will have everyone come in at one time. For some, it will be like riding a bike. For others, it’s sort of like learning to walk again. It’s not easy. Most teams will play four pre-season contests (Dallas and Arizona will play five because they are playing in the Hall of Fame Game). Some say the pre-season is too long and needs to be cut back to one or two games, like our CFL neighbours to the north.

Fans will get to see their teams up close and personal and make their own evaluations of their team. Some see their teams getting better from their 2016 finish and make the postseason, while other want to see if last year was a fluke.

Heat. Humidity. Bugs, Sweat. Fights with teammates. Come the Thursday after Labor Day when it gets underway in Foxboro as New England and Kansas City meet, if they make the cut, it’s worth it.

Below is the training camp list of sites and rookie and veteran reporting dates. Check with your team for dates and if practices will be open to the public. Hydrate and mind your manners and watch out for your cousin Connie. She’s been known to wipe out a Super Bowl party.

AFC
Baltimore – Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland (Rookies report 7/19, Veterans report 7/26)
Buffalo – St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York (Rookies and Veterans report 7/26)
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (Rookies report 7/25, Veterans report 7/27)
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Training Complex, Berea, Ohio (Rookies report 7/23, Veterans report 7/26)
Denver – University of Colorado Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado, (Rookies report 7/23, Veterans report 7/26)
Houston – The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Rookies and Veterans report 7/25)
Indianapolis – Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis, Indiana (Rookies report 7/24, Veterans report 7/29)
Jacksonville – Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields in Jacksonville, Florida (Rookies report 7/19, Veterans report 7/26)
Kansas City – Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri (Rookies report 7/24, Veterans report 7/27)
Los Angeles Chargers – Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California (Rookies and Veterans report 7/29)
Miami – Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida (Rookies report 7/20, Veterans report 7/26)
New England – Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts (Rookies report 7/24, Veterans report 7/26)
New York Jets – Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey (Rookies and Veterans report 7/28)
Oakland – Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California (Rookies report 7/24, Veterans report 7/28)
Pittsburgh – Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Rookies and Veterans report 7/27)
Tennessee – Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee (Rookies and Veterans report 7/28)

NFC
Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Rookies and Veterans report 7/21)
Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Rookies and Veterans report 7/26)
Carolina – Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Rookies and Veterans report 7/25)
Chicago – Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois (Rookies report 7/19, Veterans report 7/26)
Dallas – Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, California (Rookies report 7/19, Veterans report 7/22)
Detroit – Detroit Lions Training Facility in Allen Park, Michigan (Rookies report 7/24, Veterans report 7/29)
Green Bay – St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin (Rookies and Veterans report 7/26)
Los Angeles Rams – University of California at Irvine (Rookies report 7/26, Veterans report 7/28)
Minnesota – Minnesota State University at Mankato (Rookies report 7/23, Veterans report 7/26)
New Orleans – New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana (Rookies report 7/19, Veterans report 7/26)
New York Giants – Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Rookies and Veterans report 7/27)
Philadelphia – NovaCare Training Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Rookies report 7/23, Veterans report 7/26)
San Francisco – SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, California (Rookies and Veterans report 7/27)
Seattle – Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington (Rookies and Veterans report 7/29)
Tampa Bay – One Buccaneer Place on Tampa, Florida (Rookies report 7/25, Veterans report 7/27)
Washington – Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia (Rookies and Veterans report 7/26)

Note: The first official practice of training camp for each club at the site designated above is generally held the day after the veteran reporting date.

You know who your team was going to play.

You know where your team was going to play.

As far as the when, you had to be patient and wait.

Last Thursday night, your wait was over, thanks to the National Football League. The league announced its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2017, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 7 in New England and concludes on Sunday, December 31 with 16 division games.

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game. The opener on September 7 on NBC at 8:30 p.m. in Foxboro will spotlight the defending champion New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with the key doubleheader game on Sunday, September 10 at 4:25 p.m. when salmon and Starbucks travels to the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst as Seattle takes on Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Week 3 is the first CBS national weekend with the key doubleheader game showcasing the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Packers at Lambeau Field.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 10 when NFC East foes Dallas and the New York Giants square off at 8:30 p.m. in the Lone Star State at AT&T Stadium.

For those of you wondering if there are going to be two games on the first Monday of the season, the answer is yes. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 11 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. Minnesota hosts the New Orleans Saints at 7:10 p.m. in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Denver Broncos in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m.

ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

The league will have a select number of games that will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced as well, including the Seahawks at the Giants in the Meadowlands at 4:25 p.m. on CBS in Week 7 and the Vikings traveling to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. on CBS in Week 14. Other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 31. For the eighth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Other contests include…

In Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons will open their new home – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – on Sunday, September 17 in primetime  at 8:30 p.m. on NBC when they host the Packers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. Earlier that day, the Chargers will make their return to Los Angeles as they host the Miami Dolphins at the StubHub Center at 4:05 p.m. on CBS.

The Patriots will host the Falcons in Week 7 on Sunday night, October 22 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC in a rematch of Super Bowl LI, the first Super Bowl in NFL history to go into overtime.

Will there be football on Thanksgiving?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Thursday, November 23 and yes, the Lions and Cowboys are at home. The first game will be an NFC North contest in the Motor City as Detroit hosts the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. As for Dallas, they are the late afternoon contest in the Lone Star State when they host the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:30 p.m. on CBS and the Turkey Day trifecta concludes in Landover with an NFC East contest as Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants make their way to Landover in prime time to face the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

In Week 16, NBC’s Sunday Night Football game as NFC North foe Minnesota and Green Bay meet at Lambeau as that contest will move to Saturday night, December 23 at 8:30 p.m., due to Christmas Eve and is not subject to flexible scheduling. Christmas Day will feature a doubleheader on Monday, December 25 with the Houston Texans hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon Prime in the first game and Oakland traveling to the City of Brotherly Love, visiting the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN in primetime.

There are contests with an international flavor, so break out the fish and chips and tequila! The NFL’s international slate includes four games in London – the first time the league will play four games in the United Kingdom and one in Mexico City. On Sunday, September 24, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Baltimore Ravens at London’s Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. with distribution to be announced at a later date(set those VCRs NOW!).

The next weekend, on Sunday, October 1, Jacksonville’s neighbor to the South, the Miami Dolphins, will host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Wembley at 9:30 a.m. on FOX, In Week 7, it’s an NFC West matchup in Merry Ole England as the Los Angeles Rams host the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m. on FOX. The following week, the Cleveland Browns will host the Vikings at Twickenham on Sunday, October 29 at 9:30 a.m. on NFLN and the league heads back South of the Border as the Oakland Raiders take on Tom Brady and the Pats at 4:25 p.m. on CBS on Sunday, November 19 at Estadio Azteca.

The NFL has partnered with Amazon Prime this season and will once again use a “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast (CBS/NBC), cable (NFL Network) and digital (Amazon Prime Video) for 10 Thursday Night Football games and a Christmas Day contest. CBS and NBC will each broadcast five Thursday Night Football games which will be simulcast on NFL Network and streamed to Amazon Prime members worldwide. NBC will also broadcast the Christmas Day game. CBS will start in Week 4 on Thursday, September 28 when the Packers host the Chicago Bears. NBC’s Tri-Cast package begins in Week 10 on Thursday, November 9 when the  Seahawks visit the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, NFL Network will also  exclusively televise a seven-game schedule comprised of three Thursday Night Football games, three late-season Saturday contests and a Sunday morning London matchup.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 5 and end in Week 11.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 10-15 and 17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-9, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 31. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.

The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 6-7. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 13-14. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 21. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 4 in Super Bowl LII at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium  on NBC.

The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally.

Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

For ticket information, fans may visit http://www.nfl.com/tickets.

2017 NFL SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern and subject to change)

WEEK 1 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 7
Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, September 10
ATLANTA at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 11
New Orleans at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. on ESPN
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver, 10:20 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 2 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Houston at Cincinnati, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Green Bay at ATLANTA, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, September 18, 2017
Detroit at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 3 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 21
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 24
ATLANTA at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Jacksonville, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London), TBD
Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 25
Dallas at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 4 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 28
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 1
Buffalo at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Miami, 9:30 p.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London) on FOX
Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 p.m on CBS
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at New England, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, October 2
Washington at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 5 (Byes: ATLANTA, Denver, New Orleans and Washington)

Thursday, October 5
New England at Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 8

Buffalo at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Houston, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 9
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 6 (Byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle)

Thursday, October 12
Philadelphia at Carolina, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 15
Miami at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England  at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 16
Indianapolis at Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 7 (Byes: Detroit and Houston)

Thursday, October 19
Kansas City at Oakland, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 22
ATLANTA at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. in London) on FOX
New York Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, October 23
Washington at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 8 (Byes: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Tennessee)

Thursday, October 26
Miami at Baltimore, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 29
ATLANTA at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Cleveland, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London) on NFLN
Oakland at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 30
Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 9 (Byes: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh)

Thursday, November 2
Buffalo at New York Jets, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, November 5
ATLANTA at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
rizona at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 6
Detroit at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 10 (Byes: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Philadelphia)

Thursday, November 9
Seattle at Arizona, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 12
Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on cBS
New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 13
Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 11 (Byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Jets, San Francisco and Tampa Bay)

Thursday, November 16
Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 19
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Washington at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Giants on CBS
Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers, 1:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New England at Oakland in Mexico City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 20, 2017
ATLANTA at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 12 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 23
Minnesota at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, November 26
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBs
Miami at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 27
Houston at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 13 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 30
Washington at Dallas, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 3
Minnesota at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 4
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 14 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 7
New Orleans Saints at ATLANTA, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 10
Indianapolis at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Denver, 4:05 p.m. on CBs
Washington at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at New York Giants, 4:@5 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 11
New England at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 15 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 14
Denver at Indianapolis, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Saturday, December 16
Chicago at Detroit, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, December 17
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on cBS
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. on CBs
Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Oakland, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 18
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 16 (Byes: NONE)

Saturday, December 23
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, December 24
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOx
Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, December 25
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 17 (Byes: NONE)

Sunday, December 31
Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Washington at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
GAME TBD, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

 

 

Saturday and Sunday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

Seattle at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m. Saturday on FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver, Peter Schrager (Field reporters). WW1: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Derek Rackley (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Seattle), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Seattle), 82 (Atlanta).

Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Houston), 82 (New England). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Houston), 82 (New England).

Green Bay at Dallas, 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). WW1: Tom McCarthy, Tony Boselli, Scott Kaplan (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Green Bay), 82 (Dallas). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Green Bay), 82 (Green Bay).

Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8;30 p.m. Sunday on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Pittsburgh), 82 (Kansas City). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Pittsburgh), 82 (Kansas City).

Saturday and Sunday Officials
Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday – Gene Steratore
Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday – Pete Morelli
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:40 p.m. Sunday – Tony Corrente
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday – Carl Cheffers

Saturday and Sunday Odds (Home team in CAPS)

Saturday’s Games
Favorite             Spread      Underdog             O/U
ATLANTA              –  4 1/2    Seattle              51
NEW ENGLAND          – 16        Houston              44 1/2

Sunday’s Games
Favorite             Spread      Underdog             O/U
DALLAS               –  4 1/2    Green Bay            52
KANSAS CITY          –  2        Pittsburgh           45

Saturday and Sunday Injury Report

Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday

Seattle
QUESTIONABLE: RB C.J. Prosise (Shoulder)

Atlanta – Atlanta reported no injuries

Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Houston
QUESTIONABLE: S Quintin Demps (Hamstring), LB John Simon (Chest)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: WR Malcolm Mitchell (Knee)

Green Bay at Dallas, 4:35 p.m. Sunday

Green Bay
OUT: WR Jordy Nelson (Ribs), RB James Starks (Concussion), C Joseph Tretter (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Jayrone Elliott (Hand), WR Jeff Janis (Quadricep), CB Quinten Rollins (Neck)

Dallas
QUESTIONABLE: CB Morris Claiborne (Groin), DT Tyrone Crawford (Shoulder), LB Justin Durant (Elbow), DE Demarcus Lawrence (Back), DT Terrell McClain (Ankle), T Tyron Smith (Knee), DT Cedric Thornton (Ankle)

Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Pittsburgh
OUT: LB Anthony Chickillo (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: TE Ladarius Green (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Ricardo Mathews (Ankle), RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (Concussion)

Kansas City – Kansas City reported no injuries
Saturday and Sunday Weather
Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday (Game indoors)
Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday (Mostly cloudy and 26 degrees)
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:35 p.m. Sunday (Game indoors)
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday (Cloudy and 34 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.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the schedule of sites, dates and times for the National Football League Wild Card Playoffs on January 7-8 and Divisional Playoffs on January 14-15. (All times Eastern)

NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday, January 7
AFC: Oakland at Houston, 4:35 p.m. on ESPN with simulcast on ABC
NFC: Detroit at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, January 8
AFC: Miami at Pittsburgh, 1:05 p.m. on CBS
NFC: New York Giants at Green Bay, 4:40 on FOX

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 14
NFC: Seattle/Green Bay/New York Giants at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m. on FOX
AFC: Houston/Oakland/Miami at New England, 8:15 p.m. on CBS

Sunday, January 15
AFC: Pittsburgh/Houston/Oakland at Kansas City, 1:05 p.m. on NBC
NFC: Green Bay/New York Giants/Detroit at Dallas, 4:40 p.m. on FOX

In the Divisional Playoffs, the division champion with the best record in each conference will host the lowest seeded Wild

Card survivor. Once teams are seeded for the playoffs, positions do not change:

The NFC Championship Game will be on FOX at 3:05 p.m. and the AFC Championship Game will be on CBS at 6:40 p.m. Both games

will be played on Sunday, January 22.

The 2017 Pro Bowl (ESPN, 8:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and

Super Bowl LI will take place on Sunday, February 5 (FOX, 6:30 PM ET), at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Final Playoff Seeding
AFC
1. New England (14-2, AFC East Champion)
2. Kansas City (12-4, AFC West Champion)
3. Pittsburgh (11-4, AFC North Champion)
4. Houston (9-7, AFC South Champion)
5. Oakland (12-4, 1st Wild Card)
6. Miami (10-6, 2nd Wild Card)

National Football Conference
1. Dallas (13-3, NFC East champion)
2. Atlanta (11-5, NFC South champion)
3. Seattle (10-5-1, NFC West champion)
4. Green Bay (10-6, NFC North champion)
5. New York Giants (11-5, 1st Wild Card)
6. Detroit (9-7, 2nd Wild Card)