NFL News: What To Look For – Divisional Playoffs

PLAYOFF TITANS: After securing the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs for the first time since 2008, the TENNESSEE TITANS (12-5) will be making their 2021 postseason debut when they host the CINCINNATI BENGALS (11-7) on Saturday (4:30 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+).

Running back DERRICK HENRY is expected to return to the field for the first time since Week 8. In eight games this season, he totaled 937 rushing yards (league-best 117.1 per game) and 10 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the league with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in each of the past four seasons.

In three of Henry’s six career postseason games, he has surpassed 150 rushing yards. His three career postseason games with at least 150 rushing yards are the second-most in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL DAVIS (four games).

Henry is also one of three players all-time with at least 200 scrimmage yards in multiple postseason games, along with Pro Football Hall of Famers MARCUS ALLEN (two games) and THURMAN THOMAS (two).

In his postseason career, Henry has totaled 758 scrimmage yards (670 rushing, 88 receiving) and three rushing touchdowns. His 111.7 rushing yards per game in the postseason are the second-most since 1970, minimum five games played.

Tennessee wide receiver JULIO JONES is expected to appear in his ninth-career postseason game this weekend, and first as a Titan. In each of his previous eight playoff games, all with Atlanta, Jones surpassed 50 receiving yards.

With at least 50 receiving yards on Saturday, Jones will become the fifth player ever to record at least 50 receiving yards in nine consecutive postseason games. He can also join WES WELKER as the only players to surpass 50 receiving yards in each of their first nine career postseason games.

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

BENGALS BREAKING THROUGH: Last week, the CINCINNATI BENGALS earned their first postseason victory since 1990 and on Saturday, will be looking to advance to their first AFC Championship Game since the 1988 season.

In their Wild Card victory, quarterback JOE BURROW completed 24 of 34 attempts (70.6 percent) for 244 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 110.4 rating in his postseason debut.

Burrow’s top target was rookie wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE, who recorded nine receptions for 116 receiving yards. It marked his sixth game this season with at least 100 receiving yards.

With at least 100 receiving yards on Saturday, Chase can become the first rookie in NFL history to record at least 100 receiving yards in multiple postseason games.

Defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON recorded a sack and forced fumble in last week’s victory. It marked his 13th game this season in which he had a full sack. With a sack on Saturday, he can become the third player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record a sack in 14 games within a season, including the postseason.

— DIVISONAL PLAYOFFS —

POSTSEASON HEAVYWEIGHTS MEET: When the GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-4) host the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-7) on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes), two of the most successful postseason teams in league history will meet.

San Francisco has a 33-21 (.611) all-time postseason record, the second-highest postseason winning percentage in NFL history. Green Bay ranks third with a .600 (36-24) postseason winning percentage.

Additionally, both teams rank among the top-five in all-time postseason wins. With a victory this weekend, the Packers (36 wins) will tie the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (37) for the most postseason wins ever. 

Green Bay head coach MATT LAFLEUR can join JIM HARBAUGH as the only individuals since the league merger in 1970 to lead teams to their conference Championship Games in each of their first three seasons as an NFL head coach.

Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS led the league this season with a 111.9 passer rating and ranked tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes. In 21 career postseason games, Rodgers has posted a 100.5 rating with 45 touchdown passes, tied for the second-most in NFL history.

With a touchdown pass on Saturday night, Rodgers will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (45 touchdown passes) for the second-most postseason touchdown passes in league history. Only TOM BRADY (85) has more.

Dating back to the 2015 playoffs, Rodgers has recorded at least two touchdown passes in nine consecutive postseason games, the longest streak in NFL history.

Rodgers’ top target this season has been wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS, who ranked second in the NFL with 123 receptions, third with 1,553 receiving yards and fifth with 11 touchdown receptions. In 10 career postseason games, Adams has recorded 63 receptions for 820 yards (82 per game) and eight touchdown receptions.

Dating back to the 2019 postseason, Adams has recorded at least eight catches in each of his past four postseason games. With at least eight catches on Saturday night, Adams will become the second player ever to record at least eight receptions in five consecutive postseason games, joining JULIAN EDELMAN (five consecutive postseason games from 2013-15).

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

PASSING LEADERS SQUARE OFF: When the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (14-4) host the LOS ANGELES RAMS (13-5) on Sunday (3:00 PM ET, NBC/Peacock/Universo), it will mark a meeting of the top-two leaders in touchdown passes this season.

Tampa Bay’s TOM BRADY led the league with 43 touchdown passes, becoming the second player ever with three career seasons with at least 40 touchdown passes. Los Angeles’ MATTHEW STAFFORD tied a franchise record with a career-high 41 touchdown passes this season.

Sunday’s matchup will mark the third postseason game ever featuring two starting quarterbacks that each recorded at least 40 touchdown passes in the regular season. Both of the previous two games also featured either Brady or Stafford.

With their 31-15 victory over Philadelphia last week, Tampa Bay has now scored at least 30 points in five consecutive postseason games, tied for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. With at least 30 points on Sunday, the Buccaneers will become the second team ever to score at least 30 points in six consecutive postseason games, joining the NEW ORELANS SAINTS (Jan. 16, 2010 – Jan. 14, 2012).

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

ALLEN, MAHOMES MEET AGAIN: The Divisional Playoffs conclude with a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, as the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (13-5) host the BUFFALO BILLS (12-6) on Sunday night (6:40 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+). 

Quarterbacks PATRICK MAHOMES and JOSH ALLEN, who each recorded five touchdown passes last week, will be the fourth pair of starting quarterbacks to have multiple playoff meetings within their first five seasons in NFL history.

In nine career postseason starts, Mahomes has totaled 2,728 passing yards (303.1 per game) and 22 touchdown passes with a 105.1 rating. With two touchdown passes on Sunday, Mahomes will surpass DREW BREES (23 touchdown passes) and Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (23) for the most ever by a quarterback in his first 10 postseason starts.

In last week’s victory, Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE recorded five catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, marking his fourth-consecutive postseason game with at least 100 receiving yards. Kelce can become the first player ever to record at least 100 receiving yards in five consecutive postseason games.

In total, Kelce has seven career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards, the second-most ever. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (eight games) has more.

Kansas City wide receiver TYREEK HILL recorded 57 receiving yards and a touchdown reception last week and in 11 career postseason games, has totaled 853 receiving yards (77.5 per game).

Kelce and Hill have combined for 1,802 postseason receiving yards, the sixth-most ever among teammates.

COURTESY NFLmedia.com

Posted in NFL
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