October 22, 2014

NFL Divisional Playoff game matchups (VIDEO)

The divisional playoff games are on tap this weekend.  The AFC kicks things off Saturday afternoon (3:30pm CT) with Baltimore traveling to Denver to face the Broncos.  Green Bay and San Francisco follow at 7pm (CT) in a NFC divisional matchup.

On Sunday, NFC top seed Atlanta hosts Seattle at noon (CT) and the New England Patriots will host the Houston Texans in the other AFC contest 3:30pm (CT).

Baltimore Ravens (11-6) at Denver Broncos (13-3)

The Broncos defeated the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 in the last meeting.  Baltimore won the only post season game between the two clubs, a 21-3 Wild Card victory in 2000 during the Ravens’ Super Bowl season.

Denver, which enjoyed a first-round bye, is the conference’s No. 1 seed and has home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  Quarterback Peyton Manning, in his first season with the Broncos, has 5,389 career postseason passing yards, the third-most in NFL history behind only Brett Favre (5,855) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana (5,772).

The Ravens punched their ticket to the Divisional round with a 24-9 win over Indianapolis last week.  Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts and is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

Green Bay Packers (12-5) at San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)

The Packers and 49ers opened the season on Kickoff Weekend and will meet for the sixth time in the postseason.  Green Bay has won four of the previous five meetings in the playoffs, most recently in 2001, yet San Francisco defeated the Packers in Week 1 by a 30-22 score at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay defeated the division-rival Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in a Wild Card matchup last weekend behind Aaron Rodgers’ 274 yards and a 104.9 passer rating.  Rodgers, who hails from Chico, California, will make his first ever start in San Francisco.  He enters the game with the highest postseason passer rating (105.4) in league history, including 16 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.

San Francisco will host a Divisional round game for the second straight year.  The 49ers lost in the NFC Championship Game at home last year.

Seattle Seahawks (12-5) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

The NFC’s top seed, the Atlanta Falcons, will return to action after a first-round bye.  Led by Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons are looking to continue their regular-season success in the post season.  Ryan has 56 wins as a starting quarterback, the most in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history.

The Seahawks, who led the NFL allowing 15.3 points per game during the regular season, defeated the Redskins 24-14 in Washington D.C. in the Wild Card playoffs.  The victory was the first road playoff win for the Seahawks since 1983, when the team won an AFC Divisional game at Miami.  This time, Seattle erased a 14-0 deficit, the largest it faced this season.

Quarterback Russell Wilson threw a touchdown pass, his 27th, the most in a single season by a rookie (including postseason) and running back Marshawn Lynch tied the franchise single-game playoff record with 132 rushing yards with one score.

Houston Texans (13-4) at New England Patriots (12-4)

The Texans and Patriots will meet for the second time this season and the first time in the playoffs.  In week 14, New England scored the first 28 points of the game en route to a 2-14 victory.

The Texans earned the trip back to New England with a 19-13 win over Cincinnati in the Wild Card round.  Houston running back Arian Foster rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games.  Foster’s 425 rushing yards are the most by a player in his first three postseason games.

Tom Brady, who is one of five players to be named Super Bowl MVP multiple times (XXXVI, XXXVIII), enters the postseason with a 16-6 record.  His .727 postseason winning percentage is the third best mark in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw (.737) and Troy Aikman (.733).