A total of eight teams will vie for the right to play Championship Sunday when the NFL Divisional Playoffs kick off in Santa Clara Saturday afternoon.
The slate starts with the top seed San Francisco 49ers hosting the Minnesota Vikings. It concludes in the Frozen Tundra with the Green Bay Packers hosting the Seattle Seahawks in the other NFC Divisional Playoff game.
In between, the Kansas City Chiefs will take on a dangerous Houston Texans squad and the Tennessee Titans will look to dispose of the top seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC.
Heading into the weekend, we figured it made sense to look at some important numbers for the four-game playoff slate.
This is the number of road teams that won in the NFC Divisional Playoffs over the last decade. The most recent example was Aaron Rodgers’ legendary performance in a 34-31 win over the Cowboys in Dallas back in 2016. This means that road teams are 5-13 in their past 18 NFC Divisional Playoff matchups.
It’s also the number of road teams that have won in the AFC Divisional Playoffs during the same span. A lot of that has to do with the domination of the New England Patriots before this past weekend.
With the Patriots’ elimination from the playoffs last week, this is just the fifth time in the new millennium that the AFC Divisional Playoff will not include Tom Brady and Co.
This just goes to show us how dominant New England has been under Bill Belichick and his quarterback. Some will say it’s time for new blood. We agree. But it’s important to look back at all they have accomplished.
This is the number of one-score games in the NFC Divisional Playoffs over the past five seasons. Eight out of 10. Some of the games have been absolutely legendary during that span.
The only two playoff matchups that ended with a multi-score difference was the Falcons’ win over Seattle in the ’16 season and the Seahawks’ win over Carolina in 2014.
As it relates to this weekend’s action, one of the most legendary NFC Divisional Playoff games was the Minneapolis Miracle back in 2017. Can the Vikes duplicate that against San Francisco?
This represents the combined cap hits for the four quarterbacks starting in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Tennessee Titans signal-caller Ryan Tannehill boasts a $1.88 million cap hit.
Playing under their rookie deals, Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Deshaun Watson (Texans) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens) are all under $5 million.
The good news for these young quarterbacks? Mahomes is set to cash in with a record-breaking deal in the offseason. Watson is eligible for an extension. And based on his performance as a sophomore, Jackson will set the new high-water mark when he becomes eligible following the 2020 season. Even then, a $13.1 million combined cap hit for four quarterbacks is absurdly low.
For comparison’s sake, that’s the combined cap hit for the four remaining NFC quarterbacks in the playoffs heading into this weekend. Each one is counting at least $20 million against the cap.
- Aaron Rodgers: $29.7 million
- Kirk Cousins: $29 million
- Russell Wilson: $26.3 million
- Jimmy Garoppolo: $20 million
With the Saints and Eagles dropping in the wildcard round, the combined cap hit for the six NFC Playoff quarterbacks stood at $146.4 million. That’s by far the highest total in NFL history.
This represents the number of points San Francisco is averaging at home in Jimmy Garoppolo’s 11 career regular-season starts at Levi’s Stadium. This season alone, that number includes 51 against the Panthers and 37 against the Packers.
Garoppolo boasts a 19-5 record since joining the 49ers back in 2017. All other San Francisco quarterbacks since the start of that season are 4-20 under center. For Garoppolo, this includes a 9-2 mark at Levi’s Stadium.
This represents the difference between Aaron Rodgers quarterback rating and that of Russell Wilson in games that are played at a temperature of 32 degrees or lower.
The forecast at Lambeau late Sunday afternoon calls for a high of 25 degrees. There’s a reason the Packers tend to have a major home-field advantage in Green Bay in January. Can Rodgers and Co. keep that up?