What To Look For – Wild Card Weekend
It FEELS like Training Camp just started and here we are WILDCARD WEEKEND, and all the Florida Teams are at HOME! Only a Handful of teams that started this season are left, and its WIN OR GO HOME Time! Some ODD things to think about. Where was THIS Ryan Tannehill when he was with the Dolphins?
This season, five teams qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2018 – the BUFFALO BILLS, GREEN BAY PACKERS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and TENNESSEE TITANS – three of which will be active on Wild Card Weekend: Buffalo (at Houston, Saturday, 4:35 PM ET, ESPN/ABC), Tennessee (at New England, Saturday, 8:15 PM ET, CBS) and Minnesota (at New Orleans, Sunday, 1:05 PM ET, FOX).
Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
Three quarterbacks – Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN, Philadelphia’s CARSON WENTZ and Tennessee’s RYAN TANNEHILL – are expected to make their first-career postseason starts on Wild Card Weekend. How will they handle the pressure? Will they come close to the Passing yard record?
The players with the most passing yards in their first-career postseason start:
|Kelly Holcomb||Cleveland||2002||Wild Card||429|
|Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay||2009||Wild Card||423|
|Kurt WarnerHOF||St. Louis Rams||1999||Divisional||391|
|Neil Lomax||St. Louis Cardinals||1982||Wild Card||385|
Saturday afternoon’s game featuring Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN (23 years, 228 days old) and Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON (24 years, 112 days old) marks the sixth postseason matchup between two quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era.
In four of the five such matchups in the Super Bowl era, the quarterback of the home team has won.
Postseason matchups between starting quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era:
|1985||Divisional||Miami||Dan MarinoHOF||Cleveland||Bernie Kosar||MIA 24, CLE 21|
|2000||Wild Card||Philadelphia||Donovan McNabb||Tampa Bay||Shaun King||PHI 21, TB 3|
|2000||Divisional||Minnesota||Daunte Culpepper||New Orleans||Aaron Brooks||MIN 34, NO 16|
|2011||Wild Card||Houston||T.J. Yates||Cincinnati||Andy Dalton||HOU 31, CIN 10|
|2012||Wild Card||Washington||Robert Griffin III||Seattle||Russell Wilson||SEA 24, WAS 14|
Saturday night’s matchup between the TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7) and AFC East Champion NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4) pairs the league’s top-rated quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL (117.5 passer rating) and the league’s leading rusher DERRICK HENRY (1,540 rushing yards), against a Patriots defense that led the NFL in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.1 points against per game) in 2019.
Tennessee is the fourth team since 1970 to have the league’s top-rated quarterback and league-leading rusher in the same season.
New England is the first team to allow an average of 15 or fewer points per game since the 2013 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (14.4). Seattle would go on to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY, who has led New England to 11 consecutive division titles and six overall Super Bowl championships, is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (40), passing yards (11,179) and touchdown passes (73).
New England running back SONY MICHEL led the NFL with six rushing touchdowns in the 2018 postseason – tied for the second-most in a single postseason in league history. If Michel, who had at least one rushing touchdown in each of his first three career postseason games, has a rushing touchdown against Tennessee, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRELL DAVIS and CURTIS MARTIN, as well as ARIAN FOSTER, as the only players with a rushing touchdown in each of their first four career postseason games in NFL history.
New England wide receiver JULIAN EDELMAN has 115 receptions for 1,412 receiving yards in 18 career postseason games – both the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (151 receptions, 2,245 receiving yards) has more.
In Super Bowl LIII, Edelman had 10 receptions for 141 receiving yards and was named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, marking his sixth-career postseason game with at least 100 receiving yards.
With at least 100 receiving yards against Tennessee, Edelman would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (six games) for the second-most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.
The players with the most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco||8|
|Julian Edelman||New England||6|
New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES will make his 16th career postseason start on Sunday against Minnesota (1:05 PM ET, FOX). Brees currently ranks in the top five in both postseason completion percentage and passer rating (min. 150 attempts) in league history.
The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason passer rating (min. 150 attempts):
|*Active in 2019 playoffs|
The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason completion percentage (min. 150 attempts):
|*Active in 2019 playoffs|
Additionally, Brees has 4,759 career postseason passing yards. With at least 241 passing yards on Sunday, he would become the sixth player in NFL history with at least 5,000 career postseason passing yards, joining TOM BRADY (11,179), PEYTON MANNING (7,339), Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (5,855) and JOE MONTANA (5,772), as well as BEN ROETHLISBERGER (5,256).
— WILD CARD WEEKEND —
BATTLE OF THE BIRDS: Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for 4,110 passing yards this season and joined PEYTON MANNING and CAM NEWTON as the only players with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of their first eight seasons in NFL history. Wilson also became the first quarterback in league history to finish with a winning record in each of his first eight seasons.
Wilson has 94 career wins (including postseason) since entering the NFL in 2012, the second-most in a player’s first eight seasons in NFL history.
The quarterbacks with the most career wins, including postseason, in their first eight seasons in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||New England||2000-07||100|
|*In eighth season|
Seattle running back MARSHAWN LYNCH has recorded at least 100 rushing yards in six of his 11 career postseason appearances. With at least 100 rushing yards against Philadelphia (Sunday, 4:40 PM ET, NBC), Lynch would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRELL DAVIS (seven games) and EMMITT SMITH (seven games) for the most career postseason games with at least 100 rushing yards in NFL history.
The players with the most career postseason games with at least 100 rushing yards in NFL history:
|PLAYER||GAMES WITH 100+ RUSHING YARDS|