The first NFC wild-card game on Sunday sees perhaps the conference's best playoff team looking to avoid an upset. The second game sees perhaps its worst playoff team looking to defend its home turf.
Saturday of Wild-Card Weekend should be compelling with a pair of matchups between AFC teams with competing strengths and weaknesses.
Two teams with very strong offensive lines, a lot of play-action passes, and trouble stopping the run. Youth will take on experience, both at the quarterback position and the head coach position. The closest Super Bowl matchup we've ever measured using weighted DVOA. Where does each team have an advantage when the Los Angeles Rams take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII?
Hold that shootout narrative for a moment! Over the last three months, the New Orleans Saints are the one remaining NFL team that could really play good defense. That should lead them to a win over Los Angeles and a trip to Super Bowl LIII. But what if Drew Brees struggles like he has since the start of December? And what will the presence of Aqib Talib really mean for slowing down the unguardable Michael Thomas?
Belichick. Reid. Brady. Mahomes. Gronkowski. Kelce. Edelman. Tyreek. Two bad defenses. The AFC Championship Game should be explosive. Will the Patriots reach the Super Bowl for the 11th time? Or will Kansas City bring the Lamar Hunt Trophy home?
The Chiefs get the hottest team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts, in a matchup of the top two teams in weighted DVOA. Meanwhile, the Patriots get a Chargers team that had superior stats and more wins during the regular season. We go through all the matchup numbers and tell you what to watch for this weekend in the AFC.
Can the four remaining NFC teams properly exploit their opponents' weaknesses this weekend? The Eagles haven't thrown deep much with Nick Foles at quarterback, but the Saints can be torched deep. The Rams can't stop the run, but the Cowboys run-first offense isn't as efficient as you might expect. These are just a couple of the matchups analyzed in our NFC divisional playoff preview.
How will the loss of Earl Thomas and the addition of Amari Cooper affect Seattle's rematch against Dallas? And is there hope for Nick Foles to pull off a second miracle playoff run, or will Chicago's historically great defense be too much to overcome?
The AFC wild-card round brings us two rematches from the regular season. Saturday, the Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but their stalwart offensive line will have to stop Houston's pairing of J.J. Watt with Jadaveon Clowney. Sunday, the Ravens are red hot on defense and a bit misunderstood on offense; can the Chargers get up on them early and force the Ravens to throw?