NFL Playoff Snapshots

Get the series standings, rankings, keys to the game and fast facts for this weekend's playoff games.

Saturday
Indianapolis Colts (13-4) at Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) at New Orleans Saints (10-6)
Sunday
Seattle Seahawks (10-7) at Chicago Bears (13-3)
New England Patriots (13-4) at San Diego Chargers (14-2)


Indianapolis Colts (13-4) at Baltimore Ravens (13-3)

KICKOFF: Saturday, 4:30 ET
GAMEDATE: 1/13/07
SURFACE: Sportexe Momentum
TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

SERIES: 7th meeting. The Indianapolis Colts lead the series, 4-2. This is the first-ever post-season meeting between the two franchises. Indianapolis has won the last three regular-season meetings, including a 24-7 decision at M&T Bank Stadium in the 2005 season opener (9/11/05).

2006 RANKINGS: Colts: offense 3rd (18th rush, 2nd pass); defense 21st (32nd rush, 2nd pass). Ravens: offense 17th (25th rush, 11th pass); defense 1st (2nd rush, 6th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Ravens' offense might be more potent with coach Brian Billick calling the plays, but Baltimore still wants to control the ball and the tempo. That means establishing RB Jamal Lewis and utilizing the short passing game. If the Colts bring a safety into the box, then QB Steve McNair will attempt to stretch the field to big-play targets WRs Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams. But a main priority is limiting the opportunity Colts QB Peyton Manning is given to attack. Indianapolis' veteran line will need to be on the top of its game against the Ravens' pass rush, which will crowd seven defenders near the line but mix and match which four are released the come after Manning. Baltimore needs to stop the run with its front seven so the secondary can focus on keeping WRs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne in front of them and prevent big play.

FAST FACTS: Colts: Fourth consecutive appearance in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. ... Harrison has 31 receptions in six career games against Baltimore. Ravens: Are 5-0 this season in games in which the defense scores a touchdown. ... Are 20-3 (.870) at home when Lewis rushes for a touchdown.
TV announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf


Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) at New Orleans Saints (10-6)


GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Saturday, 8:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 1/13/07
SURFACE: Sportexe Momentum
TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa

SERIES: 25th meeting. Eagles lead the series, 15-9. The Saints' 27-24 Week 6 win over the Eagles snapped a string of six straight wins over New Orleans, dating back to 1992.

2006 RANKINGS: Eagles: offense 2nd (11th rush, 3rd pass); defense 15th (26th rush, 9th pass). Saints: offense 1st (19th rush, 1st pass); defense 11th (23rd rush, 3rd pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Saints have to fight the temptation to launch an all-out assault on the Eagles' secondary, which will be minus its top cover man in injured CB Lito Sheppard. QB Drew Brees torched Philadelphia for 275 passing yards and three touchdowns during the regular season, but he's far more effective when RB Deuce McAllister is involved and providing ground support. The Eagles' defense might be short-handed, but it's built to defend the pass and coordinator Jim Johnson is among the best at devising blitz packages. Offensively, the Eagles will attempt to control the time of possession. RB Brian Westbrook is coming off a monster game, and the play-calling has been far more balanced with QB Jeff Garcia in the lineup. Garcia has been efficient, but he needs to be sharper this week than he was against the Giants if the Eagles are to win on the road.

FAST FACTS: Eagles: Andy Reid has a franchise-record eight postseason victories. ... Garcia has thrown 10 touchdowns with only two interceptions and a 100.4 passer rating in seven starts this season. Saints: RB Reggie Bush set an NFL rookie record for running backs with 88 receptions. ... WR Marques Colston (1,038) is the first seventh-round pick to top 1,000 yards as a rookie.
TV announcers: Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa


Seattle Seahawks (10-7) at Chicago Bears (13-3)

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 1/14/07
SURFACE: Grass
TV: FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver

SERIES: 10th meeting. Seattle leads, 6-3. The Bears pounded Seattle, 37-6, in an Oct. 1 meeting at Soldier Field. On Sept. 19, 1999, Glenn Foley's 49-yard scoring pass to Fabien Bownes helped Seattle earn a 14-13 victory in the most recent Seattle victory at Soldier Field.

2006 RANKINGS: Seahawks: offense 19th (14th rush, 20th pass); defense 19th (22nd rush, 16th pass). Bears: offense 15th (15th rush, 14th pass); defense 5th (6th rush, 11th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Which Rex Grossman comes out of the tunnel? If the Bears get a steady, mistake-free game from their sporadic quarterback, Chicago should be able to roll against the Seahawks' injury-riddled defense. Seattle is still minus three of its top four corners, and will be vulnerable against RBs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson with the safeties and even linebackers forced to help out more in pass defense. Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck has played in rough weather several times this season, so the forecast of high 20s with freezing rain and wind shouldn't phase him. But Seattle does need better decision-making and accuracy out of Hasselbeck. He has a shaky offensive line and a nicked-up receiving corps, so the Seahawks hope RB Shaun Alexander can provide some help by attacking a Bears run defense minus injured DT Tommie Harris.

FAST FACTS: Seahawks: Coach Mike Holmgren's 12 postseason victories is tied for fifth-most all-time. ... WR Deion Branch needs a 100-yard receiving game to tie John Stallworth and Andre Reed, both in the Hall of Fame, for the third most all-time in the postseason with five. Bears: Team's nine NFL titles are the most of any team in this year's playoffs. ... Lovie Smith is the first Bears coach to win consecutive division titles since Mike Ditka.


New England Patriots (13-4) at San Diego Chargers (14-2)

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:30 ET
GAMEDATE: 1/14/07
SURFACE: Grass
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

SERIES: 34th meeting. New England Patriots lead the series, 17-14-2, but the San Diego Chargers have won the last two after the Patriots had won 10 in a row. The most historic and only time the squads have met in the postseason was when the Chargers spanked the Patriots, 51-10 in San Diego's Balboa Stadium for their only AFL title.

2006 RANKINGS: Patriots: offense 11th (12th rush, 12th pass); defense 6th (5th rush, 12th pass). Chargers: offense 4th (2nd rush, 16th pass); defense 10th (7th rush, 13th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: The playoff-savvy Patriots are a scary first opponent for the young Chargers. QB Philip Rivers, who will make his first playoff start for San Diego, didn't play well down the stretch and has admitted to being hyped for the game all week. He needs to channel that energy and make enough plays downfield to give RB LaDainian Tomlinson a chance to find holes on the ground. Defensively, San Diego will focus on RBs Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney in an effort to create long-yardage passing situations. That's when the Chargers unleash their fierce pass rush led by OLB Shawne Merriman (11.5 sacks in the past six games). Expect short drops and quick throws by QB Tom Brady as the Patriots attempt to thwart the pressure and exploit the Chargers' suspect secondary.

FAST FACTS: Patriots: Brady is 11-1 in the postseason and his 1.25 interception ratio in the playoffs is the best in NFL history (five INTs in 401 attempts). ... Are 15-0 in the postseason when leading at halftime. Chargers: Are 8-0 at home this season. ... Marty Schottenheimer has reach the playoffs for the 13th time as a head coach, third-most all-time behind Hall of Fame coaches Don Shula (19) and Tom Landry (18).


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