What To Look For – Divisional Playoffs
The MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-6) and TENNESSEE TITANS (10-7) both earned victories on Wild Card Weekend as the No. 6 seed in their respective conferences. Last season, both the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs as No. 6 seeds in their conferences. This marks the first time in which two No. 6 seeds advanced past Wild Card Weekend in consecutive seasons since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990.
Minnesota, who travels to San Francisco on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC), and Tennessee, who travels to Baltimore on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, CBS), can become the first No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since 2010.
In the NFC, the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-5, No. 5 seed), who face the GREEN BAY PACKERS on Sunday night (6:40 PM ET, FOX), and the sixth-seeded Vikings are both still alive. With victories by both teams in the Divisional Playoffs, it would mark the first Conference Championship game featuring a No. 5 and No. 6 seed since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990.
STACKING POSTSEASON VICTORIES: The GREEN BAY PACKERS (34 wins) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (30 wins) both rank among the top five in postseason victories in league history and can add to their totals this weekend.
With a win over Seattle on Sunday (6:40 PM ET, FOX), Green Bay would tie the DALLAS COWBOYS (35 wins) for the third-most postseason victories in NFL history.
The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:
|TEAM||WINS||SUPER BOWL WINS|
GETTING IT STARTED: To kick off the Divisional Round of the NFL’s 100th season, the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (13-3), host the No. 6 seed MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-6) on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC). Minnesota advanced to the Divisional Round with a 26-20 overtime victory in New Orleans on Wild Card Weekend.
In his postseason debut last week, Minnesota running back DALVIN COOK finished with 130 scrimmage yards (94 rushing, 36 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the victory. If Cook records at least 125 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Saturday, he would become the first player with at least 125 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in each of his first two career postseason games in NFL history.
RUNNING THROUGH THE POSTSEASON: The AFC’s No. 1 seed, the BALTIMORE RAVENS (14-2), led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards in the regular season, the most by a team in a single season in NFL history. The TENNESSEE TITANS (10-7) ranked third in the league with 2,223 rushing yards in 2019, led by the NFL’s leading rusher DERRICK HENRY, who rushed for 1,540 yards this season.
This marks the fourth time the team with the top rushing offense met the team with the league’s leading rusher in the postseason in the Super Bowl era. In each of the matchups, the team with the league’s leading rusher has won.
Postseason matchups between the league’s top rushing offense and leading rusher in the Super Bowl era:
|ROUND||TOP RUSHING OFFENSE||RUSHING YARDS||NFL LEADING RUSHER||TEAM||RUSHING YARDS|
|2018 Wild Card||Seattle||73||Ezekiel Elliot||Dallas||137|
|Super Bowl XXVII||Buffalo||108||Emmitt SmithHOF||Dallas||108|
|1978 Divisional||New England||83||Earl CampbellHOF||Houston Oilers||118|
|2019 Divisional||Baltimore||??||Derrick Henry||Tennessee||??|
On Wild Card Weekend, Henry rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s 20-13 victory over New England. With at least 150 rushing yards on Saturday, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famers MARCUS ALLEN (three games), TERRELL DAVIS (two) and FRANCO HARRIS (two), as well as LE’VEON BELL (two) as the only players to rush for at least 150 yards in consecutive postseason games in NFL history.
Henry has rushed for 366 yards in his first three career postseason games. With at least 134 rushing yards on Saturday, Henry would become the third player to rush for at least 500 yards in their first four career postseason games in NFL history.
The players with the most rushing yards in their first four career postseason games in NFL history:
|Eric DickersonHOF||Los Angeles Rams||470|
|*In three games|
NEW ERA OF QBs: Sunday afternoon’s game featuring Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON (24 years, 120 days old) and Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES (24 years, 117 days old) marks the third matchup in the Divisional Round between two quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era.
Divisional Round matchups between starting quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era:
|1985||Miami||Dan MarinoHOF||Cleveland||Bernie Kosar||MIA 24, CLE 21|
|2000||Minnesota||Daunte Culpepper||New Orleans||Aaron Brooks||MIN 34, NO 16|
|2019||Kansas City||Patrick Mahomes||Houston||Deshaun Watson||??|
In a 22-19 overtime victory over Buffalo on Wild Card Weekend, Watson completed 20 of 25 pass attempts (80 percent) for 247 yards and a touchdown and added 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
If Watson, who rushed for 76 yards on Wild Card Weekend in 2018, rushes for at least 50 yards on Sunday against Kansas City (3:05 PM ET, CBS), he would become the first quarterback with at least 50 rushing yards in three consecutive postseason games in NFL history.
NIGHT CAP: In the final game of the Divisional Round, the GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3) host the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-5), who defeated Philadelphia, 17-9, on Wild Card Weekend.
Seahawks rookie wide receiver DK METCALF led Seattle with 160 receiving yards and a touchdown in the win, the most receiving yards by a rookie in a single postseason game in the Super Bowl era.
With at least 83 receiving yards against Green Bay on Sunday (6:40 PM ET, FOX), Metcalf would surpass TORRY HOLT (242 yards in 1999) for the most postseason receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history.
The rookies with the most postseason receiving yards in NFL history:
|Torry Holt||St. Louis Rams||1999||242|
Seattle running back MARSHAWN LYNCH recorded his 10th career postseason rushing touchdown in the win on Wild Card Weekend.
With at least two rushing touchdowns on Sunday, Lynch would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRELL DAVIS (12) and JOHN RIGGINS (12) for the fourth-most career postseason rushing touchdowns in NFL history.
The players with the most career postseason rushing touchdowns in NFL history:
Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS enters Sunday’s contest having thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of his past five postseason games.
With four touchdown passes against Seattle, Rodgers would tie PEYTON MANNING (40) for the fourth-most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history.
The players with the most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||New England||73|
|Joe MontanaHOF||San Francisco, Kansas City||45|
|Brett FavreHOF||Green Bay, Minnesota||44|
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis, Denver||40|
|Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay||36*|