Archives for posts with tag: Pittsburgh Steelers

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

 

 

Championship Sunday Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

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

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

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

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

Sunday Injury Report

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

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

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries

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

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

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

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

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

Four teams left standing. Two of them will be heading to Houston in two weeks, while the other two teams will be clearing out their lockers and preparing for the 2017 draft.

As was the case last week, this week’s contest are rematches. It’s made-for-television football. Hollywood could not write a better script. For the teams that won the first meeting, it’s a chance to prove that the first time was no fluke. For the teams that lost that first meeting, the revenge factor will come up on numerous occasions during the broadcasts.

We can’t stress this enough. This time of year is NOT like the regular season. In the regular season, you lose, your play next week. This time of year, you lose, your next game is in September.

The playoffs are sort of like the kids’ party game “Musical Chairs.” As long as there are chairs available and the music is playing, you have a chance. It’s when the music stops is when the chaos starts.

Win.

Trip to Houston.

Lose.

Kickoff is next September.

It’s not fair but it is what it is. That’s the beauty of playoff football.

SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP: In 2016, New England won their eighth AFC East title in a row, the most consecutive division titles in NFL history, and have advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the sixth season in a row – also the longest streak all-time. The Patriots are 8-5 (.615) in AFC Championship Games all-time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the 16th time in franchise history and are 8-7 (.533).

The winner of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game will set an NFL record for the most Super Bowl berths in NFL history.

The teams with the most Super Bowl appearances:

TEAM – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
Dallas – 8
Denver – 8
New England – 8*
Pittsburgh – 8*
San Francisco – 6
*Play in AFC Championship Game Sunday

Pittsburgh, New England and Green Bay have three of the four highest postseason win totals in NFL history and are all in action on Championship Sunday.

The Steelers, who defeated Miami in the Wild Card round and Kansas City in the Divisional Playoffs, have 36 postseason wins, the most in NFL history. The Packers (34) and Patriots (30) rank tied for second and tied for fourth, respectively, in all-time postseason victories.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM, WINS-LOSSES, PCT (SUPER BOWL WINS)
Pittsburgh 36-23, .610 (6)*
Green Bay 34-21, .618 (4)*
Dallas 34-27, .557 (5)
New England 30-19, .612 (4)*
San Francisco 30-20, .600 (5)
*Play this weekend

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This weekend’s Championship Games will feature three quarterbacks who have combined for seven Super Bowl titles: New England’s TOM BRADY (four), Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (two) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (one).

The starting quarterbacks for this weekend’s Championship Games with Super Bowl titles:

PLAYER, TEAM (SUPER BOWL TITLES)
Tom Brady, New England Patriots (4 – XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2 – XL, XLIII)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (1 – XLV)

The seven combined Super Bowl victories by Brady, Roethlisberger and Rodgers are the most by the four starting quarterbacks playing in a season’s Conference Championship Games.

The most combined Super Bowl wins by the four starting quarterbacks in a season’s Championship Games:

YEAR – PLAYERS (NUMBER OF SUPER BOWL WINS), COMBINED SUPER BOWL TITLES
2016 – Tom Brady* (4), Ben Roethlisberger* (2), Aaron Rodgers* (1) = 7
2015 – Tom Brady (4), Peyton Manning (1) = 5
2014 – Tom Brady (3), Aaron Rodgers (1), Russell Wilson (1) = 5
1993 – Joe Montana (4), Troy Aikman (1) = 5

*Play this weekend

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan led the NFL with a 117.1 passer rating in 2016, the fifth-highest single-season rating in NFL history. New England’s Tom Brady (112.2) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (104.2) ranked second and fourth respectively.

The four quarterbacks projected to start the AFC and NFC Championship Games on Sunday combined for a 107.0 passer rating this season, the highest combined regular-season passer rating by the four starting quarterbacks in a season’s Championship Games.

The four starting quarterbacks with the highest combined regular-season passer rating in a season’s Championship Games:

YEAR – PLAYERS (PASSER RATING); COMBINED PASSER RATING
2016 – Matt Ryan (117.1), Tom Brady (112.2), Aaron Rodgers (104.2), Ben Roethlisberger (95.4); 107.0
1998 – Randall Cunningham (106.0), Vinny Testaverde (101.6), Chris Chandler (100.9), John Elway (93.0); 100.7

STREAKING STARS: Several of the NFL’s best and brightest have the opportunity to make their mark in the postseason record book on Championship Sunday.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 355 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers’ 34-31 victory at Dallas in the Divisional Playoffs. Rodgers, who has passed for at least 350 yards and two touchdowns in both postseason games this season, can tie Drew Brees (three) for the most consecutive playoff games with at least 350 passing yards and two touchdown passes in NFL postseason history.

The most consecutive postseason games with at least 350 passing yards and two touchdown passes:

PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON(S); STREAK
Drew Brees – New Orleans, 2010-11; 3
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay, 2016; 2*
Kurt Warner – Arizona, 2008-09; 2
Kurt Warner – St. Louis Rams, 1999-2000; 2
*Active streak

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 170 yards in the Steelers 18-16 win at Kansas City in the Divisional Playoffs and is the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 150 yards in each of his first two career postseason games. Bell, who had 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Wild Card win against Miami, has the two highest single-game rushing performances in franchise postseason history.

With 113 rushing yards at New England on Sunday, Bell would become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 450 rushing yards in a single postseason.

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

PLAYER, TEAM; SEASON – RUSH YARDS
John Riggins, Washington; 1982 – 610
Terrell Davis, Denver; 1997 – 581
Terrell Davis, Denver; 1998 – 468
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1983 – 466
Eddie George, Tennessee; 1999 – 449
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh; 2016 – 337*
*Through two games

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 338 yards with three touchdowns for a 125.7 rating in the Falcons’ 36-20 win over Seattle in the Divisional Playoffs.

With three touchdown passes against Green Bay on Sunday, Ryan, who has thrown for three touchdowns in each of his past three playoff games, would become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games.

The most consecutive postseason games with at least three touchdown passes:

PLAYER – SEASON(S); TEAM, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Matt Ryan – 2012, 2016; Atlanta – 3*
Tom Brady – 2014; New England – 3
Joe Flacco – 2012; Baltimore Ravens – 3
Aaron Rodgers – 2009-10; Green Bay – 3
Kurt Warner – 2008-09; Arizona – 3
Bernie Kosar – 1987, 1989; Cleveland – 3
*Active streak

SUPER COMBINATION: New England head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have made six Super Bowl appearances together, the most appearances by any head coach-quarterback combination in NFL history.

With a win Sunday against the Steelers, the Patriots can extend their NFL record for the most such Super Bowl appearances.

The head coach-quarterback combinations with the most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history:

QUARTERBACK/HEAD COACH, TEAM – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
Tom Brady/Bill Belichick, New England – 6*
Roger Staubach/Tom Landry, Dallas – 4
Jim Kelly/Marv Levy, Buffalo – 4
Terry Bradshaw/Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh – 4
*Active

With a win, Belichick (six) would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (six) and become the only coach to lead his team(s) to seven Super Bowls.

The head coaches to reach the most Super Bowls:

HEAD COACH – SUPER BOWL BERTHS
Bill Belichick – 6*
Don Shula – 6
Tom Landry – 5
Five tied with 4

*Active Sunday

AFC TROPHY PRESENTATION: The Lamar Hunt Trophy will be presented to the winner of the AFC Championship Game.

The late Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and American Football League, helped professional football attain its stature as America’s No. 1 sport. In the 10-year history of the AFL, his team posted the most wins (87) and earned berths in two of the first four Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl IV.

In 1972, Hunt became the first person from the AFL to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFC TROPHY PRESENTATION: The winner of the NFC Championship Game will be presented with the George Halas Trophy.

Halas, the late owner of the Chicago Bears and a founder of the NFL, is the second-winningest coach in history (324-151-31) behind Don Shula (347-173-6). He won six NFL championships with the Bears and is a charter enshrinee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1963).
RECORDS VS. COMMON OPPONENTS (INCLUDING PLAYOFFS)
Green Bay: 2-0 (Philadelphia 1-0; Seattle 1-0)
Atlanta: 1-2 (Philadelphia. 0-1; Seattle 1-1)
Pittsburgh.: 8-2 (Miami 1-1; Buffalo 1-0; Cleveland 2-0; Cincinnati 2-0; New York Jets 1-0; Baltimore 1-1)
New England: 8-1 (Miami 2-0; Buffalo 1-1; Cleveland 1-0; Cincinnati 1-0; New York Jets 2-0; Baltimore 1-0)

Playoff Records
Pittsburgh: 36-23
New England: 30-19
Green Bay: 34-21
Atlanta: 8-12

As far as the NFC goes… The Packers have won 13 NFL championships, most all-time and the team’s.618 postseason winning pct. (34-21) is best in NFL history among teams with 50+ games played. This is Green Bay’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 and is 10-7 in the postseason.

Atlanta won the NFC South and advanced to postseason for 1st time since 2012 and are 5-3 at home in playoffs in franchise history. Ranked 1st in NFL in total points (540) & 2nd in total offense (415.8 yards per game). Falcons head coach Dan Quinn won 1st career playoff game last week.

On the AFC side of the docket… The Steelers have 36-23 all-time postseason record, most playoff wins all-time and rank 4th all-time in postseason win pct. (.610), while winning 7 division titles since 2002.

New England has appeared in 6 consecutive Conference Championship Games, most all-time and the Pats have won 8 consecutive division titles, longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, New England has won 4 Super Bowl titles, most in NFL and the Pats are 30-19 (.612) all-time postseason record, 3rd highest winning pct. in playoff history. Head coach Bill Belichick has 24 career postseason wins, most all-time. Belichick won 4 Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), tied with Chuck Noll for most in NFL history.

The two championship games have late kickoffs in the afternoon and early evening, which means after church on Sunday, you can go grocery shopping. Also, we’re making both 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?”

For the week, 3-1. For the season, 181-81. When things come to an end on Sunday night in Foxboro, one team will have the Halas Trophy for winning the NFC Title, while the other will possess the Hunt Trophy for being the winner in the AFC. They’ll have two weeks to prepare for the Super Bowl in Houston. The two losers? Their fan base will be second-guessing themselves all the way to the draft, OTA’s and training camp. Two will survive and have a chance to take the Lombardi Trophy home from NRG Stadium in Houston.

“The most important fight you have is the one you’re in,” Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia State University Signal, WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, WAGA-TV and WGCL-TV. This time of year, it is a fight. A fight to the finish, if you will.

The final four teams are set and this Sunday will determine the two teams heading to Houston for Super Bowl LI.

Championship Sunday begins with the NFC title game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons in the final NFL game at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated Seattle 36-20 in the Divisional round and the Packers knocked off the top-seeded Cowboys 34-31. The teams met in Week 8 (October 30, 2016) with the Falcons notching a 33-32 victory.

The AFC Championship Game will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, the fifth postseason meeting between the clubs and the third in a row that will occur in the AFC Championship Game. In the Divisional Playoffs, the Steelers knocked off the Chiefs 18-16 and the Patriots defeated the Texans 34-16.

Green Bay (10-6, NFC North champion, 4th seed) at ATLANTA (11-5, NFC South champion, 2nd seed), 3:05 p.m. on FOX. Aaron Rodgers. Matt Ryan. They meet again in the Big Peach. This time, it for the NFC Championship and the right to go on to Houston for Super Bowl LI. While the Falcons advanced with some ease last Saturday, the Packers needed luck and the strong leg of Mason Crosby to advance to the final round.

The Packers used two Mason Crosby field goals in the final minute of play to come away 34-31 winners over number one seed Dallas last Sunday in Arlington at JerryWorld. Green Bay led 21-13 at the half at AT&T Stadium and took its largest lead of the contest when Rodgers and TE Jared Cook connected on a 3-yard TD pass with 11:25 left in the third quarter. Dallas would eventually chip away at the Packer lead and then tie things up with 4:08 left in regulation when Dak Prescott (302 yards, 2 TDs, interception) and WR Dez Bryant connected on their second TD pass of the afternoon, a 7-yard pass to make it a 2-point contest. Prescott then tied the contest up when he scored on the two-point conversion. Then the kickers took over, as Crosby connected on his first field goal of the fourth quarter, making a 56-yarder with 1:33 left. Dallas would not be outdone as Dan Bailey would tie things back up for the Cowboys, connecting on a 52-yarder with 35 seconds left. Green Bay would not be outdone as the Packers marched their way down the field as Crosby had first kicked a 51-yard try with five seconds left but Dallas called a time out in an attempt to ice Crosby. Crosby was having none of it, as he connected on his second field goal in the fourth quarter, a 51-yarder as the clock struck :00. Dallas outrushed Green Bay 138-87, with Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott doing most of the damage with 125 yards, while Rodgers threw for 356 yards and a pair of TDs. Both teams went 6 of 11 on third down conversions, while Dallas held the pigskin for 30:14 to Green Bay’s 29:46.

Atlanta led the NFL with 540 points scored during the regular season, the first time in franchise history the Falcons have ranked No. 1 in that category. Including last week’s Divisional Playoff game, Atlanta has scored a touchdown on its first possession in each of the past seven games. Atlanta advanced to the championship game last Saturday, taking Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks to task in the Georgia Dome, coming away 36-20. Atlanta erased a 10-9 second quarter deficit, taking the lead for keeps as Matt Bryant nailed a 35-yard field goal with 6:06 left before the intermission. Atlanta then floored the gas and took a 19-10 lead with them to the locker room when RB Tevin Coleman and Ryan connected on a 14-yard TD pass with 53 seconds left. After RB DeVonta Freeman scored from a yard out halfway through the third quarter, Seattle managed to pull to within two scores when Steven Hauschka kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it a 26-13 game. Bryant’s second field goal, a 31-yarder with 14:57 left to play and a Mohamed Sanu 3-yard TD pass Ryan ended the scoring for Atlanta and allowed them to put the contest away. While Seattle outrushed Atlanta 101-99, Ryan outpaced Russell Wilson (two TDs, two interceptions, three sacks) 338-225 in passing yardage. Atlanta was 50 percent on third down conversions, going 6 of 12 and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Seahawks were 5 of 11 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 26:41.

In post-season play, the Packers lead the series 2-1 and have outscored Atlanta 92-68. Atlanta’s only post-season win over Green Bay came in 2002 when they came into Lambeau and came away 27-7 winners in the NFC Wild Card round, while Green Bay’s last win over Atlanta in post-season action came in the Big Peach in 2010 by a final of 48-21 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.

They met in the Big Peach in week eight and the Falcons managed to come away 33-32 winners over Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay led 24-19 at the half and the Packers were leading by 4 with 31 seconds left when Ryan and WR Mohamed Sanu connected on an 11-yard TD pass to take the lead for keeps. Atlanta then held off the Packers and Ryan as they had one last chance to take the lead back. Green Bay outrushed Atlanta 108-90, while Ryan threw for 288 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner. Rodgers threw for 246 yards and four TDs in the late-afternoon contest at the Georgia Dome. Green Bay went 6 of 10 on third down tries, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 31:17, while the Falcons, who went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, kept the pigskin for 28:43.

In the week eight contest in the Big Peach, Atlanta was favored by 3 and won by a single point, missing the spread. Both teams achieved the 52 1/2 over/under by scoring 65 points. The Falcons are favored again, this time by 4 and the over/under’s 61. Both offenses are capable of making that number happen and both teams have QBs that will all but be in Canton when they hang up their cleats. Green Bay’s looking for revenge, while Atlanta looks to close out the final game in the Georgia Dome with a win under their wings. The Halas trophy’s going to love their Southern home as Atlanta will take this one but expect Green Bay to make it a lot closer than the 4.

Pittsburgh (11-5, AFC North Champion, 3rd seed) at New England (14-2, AFC East Champion, 1st seed), 6:40 p.m. on CBS. Roethlisberger. Brady. They meet again and the setting’s not in western Pennsylvania. It’s in Foxboro and it’s for the AFC Championship. Ben Roethilsberger and Tom Brady meet for the right to be the AFC representative in Houston in two weeks.

The Steelers survived a late Kansas City rally at Arrowhead last Sunday night (the game was scheduled to be an afternoon contest but the NFL moved the kick time to evening because of weather), coming away 18-16 winners over the Chiefs. Pittsburgh erased a 7-6 first quarter deficit at Arrowhead last Sunday, took a 12-7 lead into the break and then held off what the Chiefs hoped would be the tying TD when Kansas City’s Spencer Ware scored from a yard out with 2:43 left in the contest.
Kansas City then went for two, in hopes of tying the contest up and perhaps sending it into overtime when Alex Smith (172 yards, TD, interception) and TE Demetrius Harris connected on what they thought was a successful try. There was one small problem… there was a yellow piece of fabric on the ground, as OT Eric Fisher was called for holding. The ball got moved back 10 yards, the Chiefs tried again, only to fail and the Steelers, who got all of their scoring from six Chris Boswell field goals, ran out the clock and took the win. Pittsburgh outrushed Kansas City 171-61, with RB LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 170 of those yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards. Neither club did anything for their fan bases to celebrate about on third down, as the Steelers were 7 of 15, while the Chiefs were 2 of 9 (Kansas City did strike pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and Pittsburgh ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 34:13 to Kansas City’s 25:47.

New England led Houston from start to finish, beating the Texans 34-16 in the AFC Divisional contest in Foxboro. Although the Texans made the contest close at halftime, Brady and the Pats led 17-13 at the intermission, then pulled away from Houston to advance to the championship round, outscoring Houston 17-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Houston did manage to outrush New England 104-98 but Brady threw for 287 yards and a pair of TDs along with two interceptions, while Houston’s Brock Osweiler threw for 198 yards, a TD and three interceptions (Osweiler was sacked three times, while Brady was sacked twice). New England was 5 of 14 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 27:30, while Houston, who was 3 of 16 on third down tries, ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:30.

They met this year at Heinz Field and New England were 27-16 winners in week seven. New England led 14-17 at the half over a Roethlisberger-less Steelers club and outscored Pittsburgh 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. LeGarrett Blount ran for 127 yards and a pair of TDs (New England outrushed Pittsburgh 140-94), while Brady (222  yards) threw a pair of TDs, including a 36-yard strike to Gronkowski. Pittsburgh’s Landry Jones, taking over for Roethilsberger, threw for 281 yards and one TD to WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, while throwing an interception. New England, who turned the ball over twice, kept the ball for 27:31, going 7 of 12 on third down, while Pittsburgh ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:29 and went 5 of 16 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

In post-season play, the Patriots hold a 3-1 lead in the series and have outscored the Steelers 99-54. New England’s last post-season win came in 2004 in the Steel City by a final of 41-27 in the AFC Championship, while Pittsburgh’s lone win over the Pats in post-season action came in 1997 at old Three Rivers Stadium by a final of 7-6.

New England covered the 7-point spread in week seven, winning by 11 at Heinz Field. The 45 1/2 over/under was safe, as both teams could only muster 43 points. The Pats are the favored ones again, this time by 6 and the over/under’s 51. The winner gets to hold the Lamar Hunt trophy and be the AFC’s representative in Houston, while the loser gets lovely parting gifts, including clearing out their lockers. New England can pack their bags and head to Houston. Pats win but this could get closer than the 6.

The National Football League this afternoon issued a statement regarding tonight’s AFC Divisional game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. The game is still on the docket for this evening with an 7:20 Central Time kickoff.

The statement, coming from the league office in New York City, reads as follows:

Tonight’s Steelers-Chiefs Divisional Playoff game on NBC will move forward as announced at 8:20 p.m. ET. We feel comfortable, after consulting with local and state authorities and both teams, that we can proceed tonight without resulting in any negative impact on public safety resources. We will continue to monitor the weather and urge anyone traveling to the game to use appropriate caution and heed any warnings from local authorities.

The Chiefs on their website issued this statement regarding the game and the weather.

Fans are encouraged to stay informed of weather conditions for Sunday’s game by closely monitoring the local weather forecast. Fans are also advised to stay up-to-date on road conditions in the metro area by following both the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Kansas Department of Transportation on their social media accounts – including @MoDOT_KC and @KansasCityKDOT on Twitter and MoDOT Kansas City and KDOT on Facebook.

Fans should still use extreme caution and care when traveling to the Truman Sports Complex on Sunday. Local officials, as well as the Chiefs, are recommending that fans stay on major highways as much as possible, leave early to allow plenty of time for travel and remain patient as weather will be a factor for everyone’s commute.

The release further added:

Due to the unique nature of the postseason and the weather forecast, the team has slightly adjusted all gate times for the parking lots and the stadium for Sunday’s AFC Divisional Game. Parking lots will open at 2 p.m. Open park will last from 2-3 p.m. and direct parking will begin at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Stadium gates will open to all ticket holders at 5 p.m. For guests with tickets on the Scout Investments Club Level, stadium gates will open at 4 p.m. The Draft Room will also open at 4 p.m.

The weather outlook, according to The Weather Channel, calls for a low of 34 degrees with light rain.

 

 

 

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.