Week 16 playoff scenarios in NFL

Two weeks left in the NFL, and at times with COVID-19 out there, many thought the NFL would not get to this point, but they have, and the playoffs are around the corner.

At this point, six out of the 14 playoff spots have been secured. In the AFC, Bills, Steelers, and Chiefs have clinched spots, while in the NFC, the Packers, Saints, and Seahawks have clinched spots. 

Who will join them?

See below the teams that can clinch playoff spots in Week 16:

AFC

CLINCHED:

Buffalo Bills – AFC East division title

Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West division title

Pittsburgh Steelers – playoff berth

CLEVELAND BROWNS (10-4) (at New York Jets (1-13), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)​

Cleveland clinches playoff berth with:

  1. CLE win + BAL loss or tie OR

  2. CLE win + MIA loss or tie OR

  3. CLE win + IND loss OR

  4. CLE tie + BAL loss OR

  5. CLE tie + MIA loss

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10-4(at Pittsburgh (11-3), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Indianapolis clinches playoff berth with:

  1. IND win + BAL loss or tie OR

  2. IND win + MIA loss or tie OR

  3. IND tie + BAL loss OR

  4. IND tie + MIA loss

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (13-1) (vs. Atlanta (4-10), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Kansas City clinches the first-round bye with:

  1. KC win or tie OR

  2. PIT loss or tie OR

  3. BUF loss or tie OR

  4. KC clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over PIT or BUF AND clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over the other club

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-3) (vs. Indianapolis (10-4), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. PIT win OR

  2. CLE loss OR

  3. PIT tie + CLE tie

TENNESSEE TITANS (10-4) (at Green Bay (11-3), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title with:

  1. TEN win + IND loss​

Tennessee clinches playoff berth with:

  1. TEN win OR

  2. MIA loss OR

  3. BAL loss OR

  4. TEN tie + BAL tie

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers – NFC North division title

New Orleans Saints – playoff berth

Seattle Seahawks – playoff berth

ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-6) (vs. San Francisco (5-9), Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, Amazon)

Arizona clinches playoff berth with:

  1. ARI win + CHI loss or tie OR

  2. ARI tie + CHI loss

GREEN BAY PACKERS (11-3) (vs. Tennessee (10-4), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Green Bay clinches the first-round bye with:​

  1. GB win + SEA loss or tie OR

  2. GB tie + NO loss or tie + SEA loss or tie, as long as both NO and SEA don’t tie

LOS ANGELES RAMS (9-5) (at Seattle (10-4), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Los Angeles clinches playoff berth with:

  1. LAR win or tie OR

  2. CHI loss or tie OR

  3. ARI win or tie

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-4) (vs. Minnesota (6-8), Friday, 4:30 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon)

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

  1. NO win OR

  2. TB loss OR

  3. NO tie + TB tie

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-4) (vs. Los Angeles Rams (9-5), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Seattle clinches NFC West division title with:

  1. SEA win

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (9-5) (at Detroit (5-9), Saturday, 1:00 PM ET, NFLN)​

Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth with:

  1. TB win or tie OR

  2. CHI loss or tie

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (6-8) (vs. Carolina (4-10), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, CBS)

Washington clinches NFC East division title with:

  1. WAS win + NYG loss or tie OR

  2. WAS tie + NYG loss + PHI-DAL tie

NBA announces Mavericks-Clippers first round playoff schedule

The No. 7 seed Dallas Mavericks announced today the schedule for their first round playoff series with the No. 2 seed L.A. Clippers, which will open on Monday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. CT and be broadcast live on ESPN and Fox Sports Southwest.

Games 2 and 3 of the series, which are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 19, and Friday, Aug. 21, respectively, will also tip-off at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on TNT and Fox Sports Southwest. Game 4 will be played on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 2:30 p.m. CT and be carried exclusively by ABC.

If necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7 are scheduled for Aug. 25, Aug. 27 and Aug. 29, respectively (game times and TV schedule TBD).

Dallas is set to make its 22nd playoff appearance (first since 2016) in the franchise’s 40-year history. The Mavericks have now made the playoffs 16 times in the last 20 years.

2020 DALLAS MAVERICKS FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE 

GAME

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME (CT)

ARENA

TV

1

Monday, Aug. 17

@ L.A. Clippers

8:00 p.m.

AdventHealth Arena

ESPN/FSSW

2

Wednesday, Aug. 19

@ L.A. Clippers

8:00 p.m.

AdventHealth Arena

TNT/FSSW

3

Friday, Aug. 21

vs. L.A. Clippers

8:00 p.m.

AdventHealth Arena

TNT/FSSW

4

Sunday, Aug. 23

vs. L.A. Clippers

2:30 p.m.

AdventHealth Arena

ABC

5*

Tuesday, Aug. 25

@ L.A. Clippers

TBD

TBD

6*

Thursday, Aug. 27

vs. L.A. Clippers

TBD

ESPN/FSSW

7*

Saturday, Aug. 29

@ L.A. Clippers

TBD

TNT/FSSW

        * If necessary

Yes, Washington can make the playoffs!

The scrimmages have come to an end, and now it’s time for the real thing. The seeding games begin on Thursday in the NBA. For the Washington Wizards(24-40), things get underway on Friday when they play the Phoenix Suns. As they enter the final eight games of the regular season, Washington hopes to make up some ground on the eighth-seeded Magic and seventh-seeded Nets. The goal is for the Wizards to get within four games of the Magic or Nets to force a play-in game. Currently, Washington is five and a half games behind the Magic and six games behind the Nets.

Obviously, without their two top scorers, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, making the playoffs will be an arduous task for Washington. As we predict the final eight games for the Wizards, know, we are all guessing at this point because no one knows what’s going to happen in the bubble.

So, how will the Wizards do in Orlando? Let’s take a look.

Suns-Wizards

Washington beat the Suns on the road 140-132 back in November behind Bradley Beal’s 35 points. However, as we all know, Beal won’t be walking through those doors in Orlando. In that contest, Thomas Bryant scored 23 points, and Ish Smith poured in 21 points off the bench, and these two will play a bigger role without Beal and Bertans. Obviously, shutting down Devin Booker won’t be easy, and on paper, the Suns have more talent, and like Washington, is fighting to make the playoffs, which makes this game a tough one to call. But, one thing about the Wizards is they play hard and are scrappy. Expect another high scoring affair. However, the Wizards will find a way to get it done.

The Wizards start 1-0 in the bubble.

Wizards-Nets

If the Wizards want to make the playoffs, they can’t afford to lose this one. On paper and in terms of talent, this is a battle of the two worst teams in the bubble. Brooklyn is without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and more. The Nets don’t have much talent on their roster right now, and Washington appears to be the better team. The Wizards are 2-0 against the Nets this season, including a 110-106 victory over Brooklyn at home back in late February. It’s going to be difficult for the Nets to win a game in Orlando. This game against the Wizards is their best opportunity to get a victory, but because the Wizards are the team chasing, expect Washington to be motivated for this one and get the win.  

The Wizards are now 2-0.

Pacers-Wizards

After initially opting out of Orlando, Pacers G Victor Oladipo changed his mind and played reasonably well in the team’s scrimmages. Unfortunately for Indiana, they may not have Domantas Sabonis, who injured his foot in Orlando. These two teams played very early in the season, and Indiana got the victory at home.

While not official, Indiana will probably have its starting backcourt of Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon back together. That backcourt gives the Pacers a clear advantage, and like Washington, the Pacers always play hard. Additionally, Indiana and Philadelphia are tied for the fifth spot in the East. In reality, the Pacers might want to drop to the sixth spot to avoid the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs, something to watch.

Indiana is the better team and should win this game. Expect the Pacers to get the victory.

The Wizards fall to 2-1.

76ers-Wizards

Washington has had some decent success against the 76ers over the past few years, especially at home. Philadelphia has not won in Washington since 2013, and this is considered a home game for the Wizards(not sure how much that helps). However, If Philadelphia is completely healthy, the talent gap between the two teams is enormous. Based on what we have seen in Orlando with Ben Simmons at the four spot, the 76ers could be a formidable team in the bubble.

Washington will have to play one of its best games to win this one, and even if they do, I don’t think it matters. Philly gets this one, and the Wizards fall to 2-2 in the bubble.

Wizards-Pelicans

The Pelicans are an interesting team entering the bubble. This team is a very talented bunch, and after missing some time in Orlando due to a family emergency, rookie Zion Williamson is back. These two teams will matchup for the first time this season. At this point, we are making an educated guess. New Orleans, like the Wizards, are on the outside of the playoffs. If New Orleans wants to make the playoffs, they need to win, which means they can’t lose any winnable games. 

The Pelicans win this one. Washington falls to 2-3 in Orlando.

Wizards-Thunder

Before the season was suspended in March, the Thunder were playing some excellent basketball. Oklahoma City had won eight of their last ten games and was on a three-game winning streak. These two teams met once this season, and Washington beat OKC on the road back in October. In that game, Bryant(21 points) and Hachimura(19 points) had success. Currently, OKC is fifth in the West. They have an outside chance of getting the third spot(2.5 behind Nuggets).

OKC is a good basketball team and will probably have something to play for in this game. Expect the Thunder to get revenge from earlier in the season and defeat Washington. 

The Wizards are now 2-4 with two games to play.

Bucks-Wizards

By the time we get to this point, Milwaukee will probably have nothing to play for, making it meaningless to the Bucks. Milwaukee is six and a half games up on the Raptors for the Eastern Conference’s best record, so it would take an epic collapse for Milwaukee not to be the number one seed. Forget what happened when these two teams met in the regular season(Milwaukee 2-0 against Wiz), Washington will be battling for their playoff lives, and the Bucks will be on cruise control, which means Washington gets the victory and moves to 3-4 in the bubble.

Wizards-Celtics

This game is the season finale for both teams. Before the league suspended the season, these two teams split the season series. Boston is currently the third seed in the East, and barring anything dramatic, will probably stay there. The Celtics are two and a half games up on the fourth-seeded Heat and are three games behind the second-seeded Raptors. Therefore, this could be another situation where the Wizards could face a team that may not need to win. 

Luck will be on the Wizards’ side because this is another game they steal and move to 4-4 in the bubble.  

In our opinion, Washington finishes the season 28-44. Remember, they only need to get within four games of the eighth-seeded team to be eligible for the play-in game. When you look at Brooklyn, who are six games up on Washington, there is no way that team can win more than two games in the bubble.

Therefore, we believe the Nets will drop to the eighth spot in the conference. To make the playoffs, Washington, as the ninth-seeded team, would have to beat Brooklyn twice, while the Nets would only have to beat the Wizards once.

While it won’t be easy to beat any team twice in such a short span, the Wizards will have a great shot to do it against Brooklyn. 

All this could be wishful thinking, but hey, anything can happen. 

NFL approves expansion of postseason in 2020

NFL clubs voted today to expand the postseason by two teams beginning with the 2020 season.

Expanding the NFL postseason was addressed in the new NFL-NFLPA Collective BargainingAgreement. Players  and clubs both recognized that nothing energizes fans like the chance to see their team qualify for the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl.

Today’s vote during a league meeting held remotely follows the recommendation of the Competition Committee, Management Council Executive Committee and Media Committee on increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14.

Two additional Wild Card teams – one each in the American and National Football Conferences – will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the Wild Card round. The remaining division  champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded 2, 3, and 4, followed by the next three teams  per conference with the best records seeded 5, 6, and 7.

AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed.

Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021.  ​

CBS will broadcast one additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 4:40 p.m. ET. The game will also be available via a livestream on CBS All Access. Additionally, as part of CBS’ coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

NBC, its new streaming service Peacock, as well as Telemundo will all broadcast an additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 8:15 p.m. ET. ​

​The NFL last expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, increasing from 10 to 12 the number of teams to qualify for the postseason. Since 1990, at least four new teams have qualified for the playoffs that missed the postseason the year before – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons.​

 

Zimmer believes Minnesota’s playoff experience will help the team

In life, when you know what to expect, you can better prepare for all the possibilities, which is the case for the Minnesota Vikings.  

In 2017, Minnesota went to the NFC title game, and a lot of players who made that run for the Vikings are still with the team. Conversely, for the 49ers, that is not the case. The last time San Francisco made the playoffs was 2013. On Saturday, their QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be making his playoff debut as a starter when the 49ers host Minnesota in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. 

Regarding experience, you have to favor Minnesota, and while Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer thinks experience will help his team, it’s still about playing good football. 

“I can’t speak for their team,” Zimmer said on Thursday. “I do feel like us being in the NFC Championship game two years ago, we can draw on some things through that course of that process that we had. One thing is the number of media that’s going to be out on the field before the game. As these games continue getting bigger, the distractions become bigger. I think we can draw on that. It’s still going out and playing good football.”

The stage does get much bigger as you move on in the playoffs, and whether the 49ers are equipped to handle the big stage, will be revealed on Saturday. It’s much easier to win in the regular season than it is in the playoffs, and because it’s win or go home, the stakes are much higher. 

Beating two 13-win teams in consecutive weeks on the road is never easy, but that’s what the Vikings will have to do to if they want to move on. They have the experience, and they will need all of that and more to beat the Niners on Saturday.

Patriots, Bills, Packers, 49ers, Seahawks, can clinch playoffs berths in Week 15

As the NFL season winds down, the playoff picture starts to become clearer. At this point, the Ravens, Chiefs, and Saints have clinched playoff spots and going into Week 15, the Patriots, Bills, Packers, 49ers, and Seahawks hope to do the same.

Here are the playoff scenarios for Week 15 in the NFL:

AFC

CLINCHED:

Baltimore Ravens – playoff berth

Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West Division

BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-2) (vs. N.Y. Jets (5-8), Thursday, 8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon)

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:

  1.   BAL win or tie OR

  2.   PIT loss or tie

Baltimore clinches a first-round bye with:

  1.    BAL win + NE loss OR

  2.    BAL win + KC loss or tie OR

  3.    BAL tie + KC loss

Baltimore clinches homefield advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1)     BAL win + NE loss + KC loss or tie

BUFFALO BILLS (9-4) (at Pittsburgh (8-5), Sunday, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BUF win

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3) (at Cincinnati (1-12), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NE win or tie

NFC

CLINCHED:

New Orleans Saints – NFC South Division

GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-3) (vs. Chicago (7-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Green Bay clinches playoff berth with:

  1. GB win + LAR loss or tie OR

  2. GB tie + LAR loss

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-2) (vs. Atlanta (4-9), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:

  1. SF win or tie OR

  2. LAR loss or tie OR

  3. MIN loss + GB loss

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-3) (at Carolina (5-8), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:

  1. SEA win + LAR loss or tie OR

  2. SEA win + MIN loss OR

  3. SEA win + GB loss + MIN tie OR

  4. SEA tie + LAR loss

(WATCH)Spurs’ Gay on playoff seeding: ‘I like to say it doesn’t matter, but obviously there are teams we match up with better’

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, and Oklahoma City Thunder have all clinched playoff spots in the Western Conference. However, where they will be seeded in the playoffs is still a mystery.

Every team wants to avoid the number one seed in the West, the Golden State Warriors. Currently, San Antonio(47-34) is tied with the Clippers(47-34) for the 7th seed(Spurs hold the tiebreaker), and are a 1/2 game behind the Thunder(47-33) for the 6th seed. If the playoffs started today, the Spurs would play the Nuggets in the first round.

According to Spurs F Rudy Gay, who San Antonio plays in the first round does matter.

“I like to say it doesn’t matter,” Gay said on Friday after the Spurs routed the Wizards 129-112 in D.C. “But, obviously there are teams we match up with better. Going into the playoffs, you have to give it your all, so no matter what we want to be in there and actually compete. So, we have to be ready no matter who it is.”

This season, the Spurs are 2-1 against the Warriors, 2-2 against the Nuggets, and 1-3 against the Rockets. If I’m San Antonio, I would want to take my chances against the Nuggets. While Denver has a lot of talent, this team has a young core that has not tasted the playoffs, which could be an advantage for the more experienced Spurs.

Listen below as Gay talks victory over Wizards, playing in D.C, playoffs, and the “Rodeo Road Trip.”:

Tony Gonzalez on Colts: ‘They’re dangerous as hell’

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the hottest teams in football right now. After starting the season at 1-5, the Colts would win 9 of their next 10 games to make the playoffs. Last week, in the wild-card game against Texans, the Colts dominated the Texans in Houston 21-7 to advance to the divisional round to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Saturday.

“They’re dangerous as hell,” former Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez told TMZ Sports about the Colts. “It’s a scary team.”

Gonzalez thinks the Colts-Chiefs will be a very competitive game, and he believes it could be similar to what happened in 2004(2003 season) when the Colts beat the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs 38-31 at Arrowhead.

“I remember back in 2003 when we had the number one offense in the NFL. Priest Holmes and the best offensive line ever, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, and we played against Peyton Manning, and there were no punts in the game,” Gonzalez said. “There were literally no punts in a playoff game, and we had one turnover. They got the ball and went down and scored, and that’s how they won. I gotta feeling it’s going to be close; it’s going to be an exciting game, but I think Mahomes, he’s the real deal, and I think he’s going to score a lot of points.”

They’re a lot of similarities between the 2003 Chiefs and the current version of the team. Both teams put up a lot of points(2003: 30.3 ppg, 2018: 35.3 ppg) and both teams struggled on defense(2003: 29th ranked defense, 2018: 31st ranked defense). Conversely, for the Colts, they had a big-time QB in Peyton Manning back then, and have a QB who is playing at a high level in Andrew Luck. According to the NFL, Mahomes, who led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes, and Luck, who ranked second with 39 touchdown passes in 2018, have the most combined regular-season passing touchdowns (89) among any opposing quarterbacks in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

History could be on the side of the Colts as Indianapolis is 4-0 against Kansas City in the playoffs, including an epic, come from behind victory in the 2013 season when the Colts came back from a 28-point second half deficit to beat K.C. 45-44, but in the end, Gonzalez is going with the Chiefs.

“I’m picking the Chiefs, and not because I have to either, but I think they’re going to play well.”

This has the makings of a very great game. The Colts are playing well on both sides of the ball and the Chiefs defense is not very good, but the Chiefs can put up a lot of points, and the game is at Arrowhead(7-1 at home). The thought is to go with the hot team, which favors the Colts. However, in the AFC, the last five number one seeds have made the Super Bowl.

In his first playoff game, could the moment be too big for Mahomes? I don’t think so. No moment has been too big for Mahomes this season, and with over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns through the air, Mahomes is probably the league’s MVP.

I expect a back-and-forth contest, and it might come down to who has the ball last, but whatever happens, expect a lot of points at Arrowhead on Saturday.

 

 

What to look for in Divisional Round of the Playoffs

LOWER SEED SUCCESS: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-6) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-7) both earned victories on Wild Card Weekend as the No. 6 seed in their respective conferences.​

The Colts, who travel to Kansas City on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC), and the Eagles, who play at New Orleans on Sunday (4:40 PM ET, FOX), look to become the first No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since 2010, when both the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets accomplished the feat.​​​​

The No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990:

SEASON TEAM CONFERENCE ADVANCED TO
2010 Green Bay NFC Won Super Bowl XLV
2010 New York Jets AFC Conference Championship
2008 Baltimore AFC Conference Championship
2008 Philadelphia NFC Conference Championship
2005 Pittsburgh AFC Won Super Bowl XL
       
2018 Indianapolis AFC ???
2018 Philadelphia NFC ???

In the AFC, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (13-4, No. 5 seed), who face New England on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS), and the sixth-seeded Colts 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 12-team playoff format began in 1990.

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

WINNING WAYS: The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated Seattle 24-22 on Wild Card Weekend, and the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who had a bye last week, will each be playing in the Divisional Playoffs.

Dallas, who plays at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX), has 35 playoff wins and can tie the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (36) for the most postseason victories all-time. New England, who hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS), has 34 postseason victories and can surpass the GREEN BAY PACKERS (34) for the third-most playoff wins all-time.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM WINS LOSSES WIN PCT. SUPER BOWL WINS
Pittsburgh 36 25 .590 6
Dallas 35 27 .565 5
Green Bay 34 22 .607 4
New England 34 20 .630 5
San Francisco 30 20 .600 5​

​– DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

TOUCHDOWN LEADERS: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES and the Chiefs are s​et to face off against Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK and the Colts in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC).

Mahomes, who led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes, and Luck, who ranked second with 39 touchdown passes in 2018, have the most combined regular-season passing touchdowns (89) among any opposing quarterbacks in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

With Mahomes and Luck ranking first and second in regular-season touchdown passes, Saturday will mark the fifth time since 2002 that the top two passing touchdown leaders from the regular season will face off in the postseason.

The postseason games between the top two regular-season passing touchdown leaders since 2002:

SEASON PLAYER (TEAM) TD PASSES PLAYER (TEAM) TD PASSES PLAYOFF ROUND
2016 Aaron Rodgers (GB) 40 Matt Ryan (Atl.) 38 NFC Championship
2014 Andrew Luck (Ind.) 40 Peyton Manning (Den.) 39 AFC Divisional
2009 Drew Brees (NO) 34 Peyton Manning (Ind.) 33* Super Bowl XLIV
2009 Drew Brees (NO) 34 Brett Favre^ (Min.) 33* NFC Championship
           
2018 Patrick Mahomes (KC) 50 Andrew Luck (Ind.) 39 AFC Divisional
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Tied for 2nd

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: New England quarterback TOM BRADY and the Patriots welcome quarterback PHILIP RIVERS and the Los Angeles Chargers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS).

Brady, who will be 41 years and 163 days old on Sunday, and Rivers, at 37 years and 36 days old, combine for a total of 28,688 days old, the oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history.

The oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history:

DATE QUARTERBACK TEAM QUARTERBACK TEAM COMBINED DAYS OLD
1/13/19 Tom Brady New England Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers 28,688*
1/24/16 Peyton Manning Denver Tom Brady New England 28,603
1/9/99 John Elway^ Denver Dan Marino^ Miami 27,704
1/16/94 Warren Moon^ Houston Oilers Joe Montana^ Kansas City 27,306
1/22/17 Tom Brady New England Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh 27,162
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Total days as of Sunday, January 13

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

RATED WELL: Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES and the Eagles head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday (4:40 PM ET, FOX) to face New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES and the Saints.

Foles, who has the highest postseason passer rating (105.2) in NFL history, and Brees, who ranks fifth with a 100.7 passer rating, are two of five quarterbacks to have a passer rating of 100 or higher in the postseason (minimum 150 attempts).

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason passer rating (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK COMP. ATT. YARDS TDS INTS RATING  
Nick Foles 125 179 1,432 10 3 105.2  
Bart Starr^ 130 213 1,753 15 3 104.8  
Kurt Warner^ 307 462 3,952 31 14 102.8  
Matt Ryan 237 351 2,672 20 7 100.8  
Drew Brees 354 537 4,209 29 9 100.7  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Foles (69.8 percent) has the highest postseason completion percentage in league annals (minimum 150 attempts) and Brees (65.9 percent) ranks fifth.

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason completion percentage (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK COMP. ATT. PCT.  
Nick Foles 125 179 69.8  
Matt Ryan 237 351 67.5  
Kurt Warner^ 307 462 66.5  
Ken Anderson 110 166 66.3  
Drew Brees 354 537 65.9  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

SHOWDOWN IN SO CAL: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT and the Cowboys head to Southern California to take on defensive tackle AARON DONALD and the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX).

Elliott, who led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards in 2018, rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ Wild Card Weekend victory over Seattle. Elliott has recorded at least 125 rushing yards in each of his first two playoff appearances and can become the fourth player in NFL history to record three consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards.

The players with the most consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM DATES CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 125+ RUSH YARDS
Terrell Davis^ Denver 1/11/98-1/17/99 4
Arian Foster Houston 1/7/12-1/5/13 3
John Riggins^ Washington 1/15/83-1/30/83 3
       
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 1/15/17-1/5/19 2*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

Donald, who led the league with 20.5 sacks and earned the 2018 Deacon Jones Award as the NFL’s sack leader, became the 11th different player since 1982 to record at least 20 sacks in a single season.

With a Rams win on Saturday, Donald would join Pro Football Hall of Famer LAWRENCE TAYLOR (1986) as the only players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982.

The players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON SACKS ADVANCED TO
Lawrence Taylor^ New York Giants 1986 20.5 Won Super Bowl XXI
         
Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams 2018 20.5 ???
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

A statistical look at the 2018 NFL Playoffs

The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday and Sunday, January 5-6, with Wild Card Weekend. On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts play at the Houston Texans (ESPN/ABC, 4:35 PM ET) and the Seattle Seahawks visit the Dallas Cowboys (FOX, 8:15 PM ET). Wild Card Weekend continues Sunday with the Los Angeles Chargers at the Baltimore Ravens (CBS, 1:05 PM ET) and the Philadelphia Eagles traveling to face the Chicago Bears (NBC, 4:40 PM ET).

The following week (January 12-13), the Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday, NBC, 4:35 PM ET) and New England Patriots (Sunday, CBS, 1:05 PM ET) in the AFC and the Los Angeles Rams (Saturday, FOX, 8:15 PM ET) and New Orleans Saints (Sunday, FOX, 4:40 PM ET) in the NFC host the Divisional Playoffs. The Chiefs and Saints own home-field advantage for the Conference Championship Games (January 20) if they win their Divisional contests.

The 2019 Pro Bowl (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC, 3:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 27 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl LIII will take place on Sunday, February 3 (CBS, 6:30 PM ET), at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

TURNAROUND TEAMS & CONSISTENT WINNERS HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF FIELD

There are seven new playoff teams in 2018:

BALTIMORECHICAGODALLASHOUSTONINDIANAPOLIS, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS and SEATTLE.

Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

Four teams won division titles – Baltimore (AFC North), Chicago (NFC North), Dallas (NFC East) and Houston (AFC South) – after missing the playoffs last season.

The divisions with new champions in 2018:

AFC SOUTH AFC NORTH NFC EAST NFC NORTH
2018 Houston Baltimore Dallas Chicago
2017 Jacksonville Pittsburgh Philadelphia Minnesota

In the 17 seasons since realignment, 29 of the 32 NFL teams have won a division title at least once.

How the 2018 playoff teams have fared in the 17 seasons since realignment in 2002 (2018 division winners in bold/italics):

TEAM DIVISION TITLES PLAYOFF BERTHS
New England 15 15
Indianapolis 9 13
Seattle 8 12
Philadelphia 7 10
Baltimore 5 9
Dallas 5 7
Houston 5 5
Kansas City 5 8
Los Angeles Chargers 5 7
New Orleans 5 7
Chicago 4 4
Los Angeles Rams 3 4

Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. With Chicago and Houston earning division titles, 2018 marked the second consecutive season that two teams went from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened in any other major US sport.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions since 2003:

SEASON TEAM RECORD PRIOR SEASON RECORD ADVANCED TO
2003 Carolina Panthers 11-5 7-9 Super Bowl XXXVIII
2003 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3 8-8* Divisional Playoffs
2004 Atlanta Falcons 11-5 5-11 NFC Championship
2004 San Diego Chargers 12-4 4-12* Wild Card Playoffs
2005 Chicago Bears 11-5 5-11 Divisional Playoffs
2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5 5-11 Wild Card Playoffs
2006 Baltimore Ravens 13-3 6-10* Divisional Playoffs
2006 New Orleans Saints 10-6 3-13 NFC Championship
2006 Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 6-10 Divisional Playoffs
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7 4-12 Wild Card Playoffs
2008 Miami Dolphins 11-5 1-15 Wild Card Playoffs
2009 New Orleans Saints 13-3 8-8 Won Super Bowl XLIV
2010 Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 4-12 Wild Card Playoffs
2011 Denver Broncos 8-8 4-12 Divisional Playoffs
2011 Houston Texans 10-6 6-10* Divisional Playoffs
2012 Washington Redskins 10-6 5-11 Wild Card Playoffs
2013 Carolina Panthers 12-4 7-9* Divisional Playoffs
2013 Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 4-12 Wild Card Playoffs
2015 Washington Redskins 9-7 4-12 Wild Card Playoffs
2016 Dallas Cowboys 13-3 4-12 Divisional Playoffs
2017 Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6 3-13 AFC Championship
2017 Philadelphia Eagles 13-3 7-9 Won Super Bowl LII
2018 Chicago Bears 12-4 5-11 ???
2018 Houston Texans 11-5 4-12* ???

           *Tied for last place

The 2018 field also showcases teams that have enjoyed recent postseason success. Since realignment in 2002, the New England Patriots have been to the playoffs 15 times, which is the most in the NFL.

The 2018 playoff teams with the most postseason appearances since 2002 (includes 2018):

TEAM POSTSEASON APPEARANCES
New England 15
Indianapolis 13
Seattle 12
Philadelphia 10
Baltimore 9

Seven of this season’s 12 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 1999, capturing 12 of the past 19 Vince Lombardi Trophies. Those teams are the Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI), Ravens (XXXV, XLVII), Colts (XLI), Eagles (LII), Rams (XXXIV), Saints (XLIV) and Seahawks (XLVIII).

SUPER BOWL SEASON WINNER
XXXIV 1999 St. Louis Rams*
XXXV 2000 Baltimore Ravens*
XXXVI 2001 New England Patriots*
XXXVII 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
XXXVIII 2003 New England Patriots*
XXXIX 2004 New England Patriots*
XL 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
XLI 2006 Indianapolis Colts*
XLII 2007 New York Giants
XLIII 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers
XLIV 2009 New Orleans Saints*
XLV 2010 Green Bay Packers
XLVI 2011 New York Giants
XLVII 2012 Baltimore Ravens*
XLVIII 2013 Seattle Seahawks*
XLIX 2014 New England Patriots*
50 2015 Denver Broncos
LI 2016 New England Patriots*
LII 2017 Philadelphia Eagles*
*In 2018 postseason

The Baltimore Ravens (.652) and New England Patriots (.630) rank first and second all-time in postseason winning percentage.

The 12 playoff teams and their postseason records:

TEAM WINS    LOSSES PCT.
Baltimore Ravens 15   8   .652
New England Patriots 34   20   .630
Dallas Cowboys 34   27   .557
Seattle Seahawks 16   15   .516
Philadelphia Eagles 22   21   .512
Indianapolis Colts 22   23   .489
Chicago Bears 17   18   .486
New Orleans Saints 8   10   .444
Los Angeles Rams 19   25   .432
Houston Texans 3   4   .429
Los Angeles Chargers 11   17   .393
Kansas City Chiefs 9   18   .333

YOUTH & CONSISTENCY HIGHLIGHT THE PLAYOFF QUARTERBACKS

The 2018 postseason is filled with young stars on the rise and veterans at the top of their game at the quarterback position.

Three quarterbacks – Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON, Chicago’s MITCHELL TRUBISKY and Houston’s DESHAUN WATSON – are expected to make their first career postseason starts on Wild Card Weekend while Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES, who led the league with 50 touchdown passes, will make his postseason debut in the AFC Divisional round.

New England quarterback TOM BRADY, who has led the Patriots to 10 consecutive division titles and five Super Bowl championships, is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (37), passing yards (10,226) and touchdown passes (71). Brady and Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES, who will make his fifth career postseason start, combined for an NFL-record 874 pass yards in Super Bowl LII last season. Foles had a 115.7 passer rating during the 2017 playoffs to help lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES, a veteran of 18 NFL seasons, will make his 14th postseason start in the NFC Divisional round after leading the league with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage and 115.7 passer rating in 2018. Los Angeles Chargers PHILIP RIVERS, in his 15th season, registered his 10th career 4,000-passing yard season and will make his 10th career postseason appearance.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback JARED GOFF and Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT, both selected by their teams in the 2016 NFL Draft, have led their franchises to division titles in two of their first three NFL seasons and each will be making their second career postseason start.

Both members of the 2012 NFL Draft class, Indianapolis Colts quarterback ANDREW LUCK will be making his seventh career postseason start while Seattle Seahawks quarterback RUSSELL WILSON, who has led Seattle to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons, will be making his 13th career postseason start on Wild Card Weekend. Wilson led Seattle to a Super Bowl XLVIII championship in 2013 and a Super Bowl XLIX appearance in 2014.

A by-the-numbers look at the 12 quarterbacks in the 2018 postseason:

4 Rookie or 2nd-year Jackson, BAL; Mahomes, KC; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU
7 1st-round Draft picks Goff, LAR; Jackson, BAL; Luck, IND; Mahomes, KC; Rivers, LAC; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU
2 No. 1 overall picks Goff, LAR; Luck, IND (2012)
4 Drafted No. 75 overall or later, or undrafted Brady, NE; Foles, PHI; Prescott, DAL; Wilson, SEA
9 30 years old or younger Foles, PHI; Goff, LAR; Jackson, BAL; Luck, IND; Mahomes, KC; Prescott, DAL; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU; Wilson, SEA
3 35 years old or older Brady, NE; Brees, NO; Rivers, LAC

BEST NFL PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES

(Single postseason)

PASSING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM SEASON COMP. ATT. YARDS TD INT
Eli Manning, New York Giants
2011
106
163
1,219
9
1
Kurt Warner, Arizona
2008
92
135
1,147
11
3
Joe Flacco, Baltimore
2012
73
126
1,140
11
0
Tom Brady New England
2016
93
142
1,137
7
3
Tom Brady, New England
2017
89
139
1,132
8
0

RUSHING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM SEASON ATT. YARDS TD  
John Riggins, Washington
1982
136
610
4
 
Terrell Davis, Denver
1997
112
581
8
 
Terrell Davis, Denver
1998
78
468
3
 
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders
1983
58
466
4
 
Eddie George, Tennessee
1999
108
449
3
 

RECEIVING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM SEASON REC. YARDS TD  
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
2008
30
546
7
 
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
2011
28
444
4
 
Jerry Rice, San Francisco
1988
21
409
6
 
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina
2003
18
404
3
 
Charlie Brown, Washington
1983
14
401
1
 

RECEPTIONS
PLAYER, TEAM SEASON REC. YARDS TD  
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
2008
30
546
7
 
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
2011
28
444
4
 
Demaryius Thomas, Denver
2013
28
306
3
 
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina
2015
27
335
3
 
Wes Welker, New England
2007
27
213
2
 

SCRIMMAGE TOUCHDOWNS
PLAYER, TEAM SEASON TOTAL TD RUSH TD REC. TD  
Terrell Davis, Denver
1997
8
8
0
 
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
2008
7
0
7
 
Larry Csonka, Miami
1973
6
6
0
 
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh
1974
6
6
0
 
John Riggins, Washington
1983
6
6
0
 
Jerry Rice, San Francisco
1988
6
0
6
 
Gerald Riggs. Washington
1991
6
6
0
 
Ricky Watters. San Francisco
1993
6
6
0
 
Emmitt Smith, Dallas
1995
6
6
0