NFL Playoffs Divisional Round 2 Preview: What To Look For This Weekend

We’re down to only 8 teams from this 2010/2011 NFL Season, but that doesn’t mean that if your team is out you can stop watching. There are plenty of stories and sub-stories rampant in this next round of the NFL Playoffs that should keep you well entertained, even if the games do not.

Keep these tidbits in mind as you sit down to watch Round 2 this weekend:

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Since the NFL moved to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, No.1 seeds in the NFC are 18-2 (.900) in the Divisional Playoffs. However, the NFC top seed has lost in the Divisional round in two of the past three seasons.

In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled a 12-8 (.600) record in the Divisional round during that span. Both the No. 1 seeds are in action this weekend when the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC and the No. 1-seed New England Patriots face the New York Jets in the AFC.

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NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN:
All four Divisional matchups this weekend are rematches of regular-season games. This includes two contests between division rivals for the first time since 2000. 2010 marks the sixth time since 1970 that all four Divisional playoff games are rematches of regular-season contests (1991, 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2008).

Baltimore and Pittsburgh played each other in weeks 4 and 13, with the home team losing both contests; the Falcons hosted and beat the Packers in week 12; the Seahawks went into Chicago and beat the Bears in week 6; and the Jets and Pats split their season series.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN:
With a victory in Kansas City last weekend, Baltimore Ravens quarterback JOE FLACCO improved his postseason road record to 4-2 (.667). With four postseason wins on the road, Flacco is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers LEN DAWSON and ROGER STAUBACH and JAKE DELHOMME for the most in NFL history. With a win at Pittsburgh this weekend, Flacco can set the NFL record for road playoff wins by a quarterback with five.

CHAMPIONSHIP GOAL:
With a victory against Baltimore on Saturday, Pittsburgh would advance to its 15th AFC Championship Game, surpassing Dallas (14) for the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970. The teams with the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970 are Pittsburgh 14, Dallas 14, San Francisco 12, L.A./Oakland 11, L.A./St. Louis 9.

RODGERS THAT:
Green Bay Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS has thrown seven touchdown passes in his first two postseason starts, the most in NFL history. Rodgers will make his third postseason start in Atlanta this Saturday night. With three touchdown passes, Rodgers can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO, JEFF GEORGE and DARYLE LAMONICA (9) for the most touchdown passes in the first three postseason starts of any quarterback in NFL history.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
New England Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY holds an 8-1 (.889) record in the postseason at home, including a 2006 Wild Card victory over the New York Jets. With a win against the Jets on Sunday, Brady can pass Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM KELLY (8-1, .889) for second place among quarterbacks with the highest winning percentage in home playoff games in the Super Bowl era. KURT WARNER posted a perfect 7-0 record at home in the playoffs.

STREAK-FREE SHINE:
Seattle quarterback MATT HASSELBECK has thrown a touchdown pass in nine consecutive postseason games. With a touchdown pass this Sunday in Chicago, Hasselbeck can become the seventh player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive postseason games. New England’s TOM BRADY (16) holds the longest active streak among playoff participants, and can add to his total this weekend.