Numbers represent overall and specific NFL rankings by points except pass/run ranked by yardage. Depending on who has the ball, compare offense/defense strengths in pass/run yardage to anticipate best game plan.
Top five in each category are in red font. Projected winners are underlined.
Saturday, Jan 14, 2:35 PM MT FOX
#6 Seattle at #2 Atlanta
Atlanta Offense #1: 1 Pass 5 Run Seattle Offense #18: 5 Pass 24 Run
Seattle Defense #3: 18 Pass 1 Run Atlanta Defense #27: 11 Pass 26 Run
The best part of the game will be Atlanta with the ball. With the best pass offense in the NFL against a mediocre Seattle pass defense, Atlanta should mostly pass. Atlanta’s strong running game will be severely tested by Seattle’s #1 run defense. Seattle should mostly pass and its strong passing game will be tested by a good Atlanta pass defense. Could be a shoot-out. Both can play catchup with their great passing games. Projected winner: Atlanta.
Saturday, Jan 14, 6:15 PM MT CBS
#26 Houston vs. #1 New England
NE Offense #3: 3 Pass 25 Run Houston Offense #18: 32 Pass 19 Run
Houston Defense #11: 2 Pass 11 Run NE Defense #1: 8 Pass 8 Run
The most interesting part of the game will be NE with the ball. Houston’s scoring defense belies their defensive yardage advantage over NE. NE should mostly pass but Houston’s #2 pass defense should do a lot to slow them down. Houston should mostly run but should be shut down by NE’s #1 defense. Projected winner: New England.
Sunday, Jan 15, 11:05 PM MT NBC
#5 Pittsburgh vs. #4 Kansas City
KC Offense #13: 15 Pass 16 Run Pittsburgh Offense #10: 13 Pass 8 Run
Pittsburgh Defense #10: 15 Pass 19 Run KC Defense #7: 12 Pass 24 Run
Pittsburgh, weaker in points scored than KC, is stronger in yardage which often means an upset in the making. The key could be Pittsburgh’s #8 running game against a weak #24 KC running defense. Pittsburgh should run A LOT. The question is whether Pittsburgh’s coaches recognize their running advantage. Often with a premier QB like Roethlisberger playoff teams who should mostly run instead pass too much. The Pittsburgh offensive game plan to mostly run will be critical if they want to upset KC. Projected winner: Kansas City.
Sunday, Jan 15, 2:40 PM MT FOX
#8 Green Bay vs. #3 Dallas
Dallas Offense #5: 4 Pass 3 Run GB Offense #4: 15 Pass 7 Run
GB Defense #21: 32 Pass 14 Run Dallas Defense #5: 13 Pass 11 Run
Dallas #5 offense should mostly pass and roll over GB’s weak defense. GB should mostly run but probably won’t with Rogers on a tear. Could be a fun game but Dallas should outscore GB. Projected winner: Dallas.