Best one-on-one matchups to watch in the Divisional Round
Ready for more NFL playoff action? Pro Football Focus highlights the key one-on-one matchup to watch in every Divisional Round game.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Can the Seattle defense contain Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones? In the Falcons’ Week 6 trip to CenturyLink Field, Jones recorded a team-high seven receptions totaling 139 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was targeted in the coverage of Seahawks CB Richard Sherman five times, hauling in three passes for 40 yards — 12 coming after the catch. For more on this matchup, be sure to check out Senior Analyst Sam Monson’s game preview.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
In the Texans’ AFC Wild Card win over the Raiders, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney earned the game’s highest grade (86.9), recording four QB hurries, a batted pass, and an interception. On Saturday, he’ll often face off against Patriots LT Nate Solder, who has surrendered just 26 QB pressures this season across 549 pass-blocking snaps. While Tom Brady has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks under pressure this season, continually putting him under duress will be critical for Houston’s chances.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
While rookie Tyreek Hill has been a splash star for the Chiefs on a per-snap basis this season, tight end Travis Kelce has been the true focal point of the Kansas City offense. Kelce led all TEs in receiving yards and recorded the fourth-most missed tackles at the position (10) this season; he also hauled in all five catchable deep targets sent his way for 157 yards on such throws. Look for Pittsburgh’s linebacker corps to help limit Kelce’s impact on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
Despite missing time due to injury this season, Tyron Smith recorded the eighth-best pass-blocking efficiency among offensive tackles, surrendering 20 QB hurries over 436 pass-blocking snaps. In this NFC Divisional Round matchup, he’ll often face off against Packers OLB Nick Perry, who has recorded 46 QB pressures this season. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has been pressured on 35.9 percent of his dropbacks this season, the 16th-highest rate in the league — Perry will aim to raise that percentage on Sunday.