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Championship Sunday Cheat Sheet

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Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...

Injury Reports


Seattle Seahawks: INACTIVE: OT Justin Britt (knee), S Jeron Johnson (elbow); ACTIVE: DE Michael Bennett (not injury related), RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related), DT Tony McDaniel (shoulder), TE Tony Moeaki (calf), CB Tharold Simon (illness), C Max Unger (ankle)

Seattle will be without Britt, its 16-game rookie starter at right tackle.

Green Bay Packers: ACTIVE: DE Josh Boyd (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (knee), QB Aaron Rodgers (calf), G Josh Sitton (toe)

All were probable heading into Sunday. How many cameras will Fox have focused on Rodgers' calf at all times?

New England Patriots: OUT: C Bryan Stork (knee); PROBABLE: QB Tom Brady (ankle), CB Brandon Browner (knee), LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder, toe)

Stork's absence will shift Ryan Wendell over to center and second-year player Josh Kline is expected to start at right guard. The shuffling along the offensive line could have an affect on the Pats' running attack that blew apart the Colts in Week 11.

Indianapolis Colts: OUT: Trent Richardson (personal reasons); QUESTIONABLE: CB Vontae Davis (knee), CB Gregory Toler (groin); PROBABLE: LB Erik Walden (knee)

Richardson did not make the trip with the team due to personal reasons. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Davis and Toler will play


Weather Tracking*


Packers at Seahawks -- 50 degrees / light rain (77 percent chance; winds 15 mph)
Colts at Patriots -- 43 degrees / rain (60 percent chance; winds 10 mph)
*Forecasts courtesy of Weather Underground


Key matchups to watch


Packers offensive line vs. Seahawks defensive front

In the Week 1 shellacking, the Seahawks' pass rush sacked a more mobile version of Aaron Rodgers three times. The quarterback has been sacked 11 times in the past two games against the Seahawks. Mobility will be an issue for the quarterback trying to escape a beastly Seattle rush. However, the Packers' offensive line is much different than the group that was hounded months ago. Rookie Corey Linsley has a full season under his belt and is already one of the better centers in the NFL. Having Bryan Bulaga healthy for the full game should end the turn-style action on the right side of the line we saw in Week 1. After getting sacked 20 times in the first eight weeks of the season, Rodgers was taken down just eight times the rest of the way and twice more last week. The Packers' underrated line must give the gimpy quarterback a clean pocket if he's going to make plays against the Legion of Boom.

The Seahawks' defensive front, led by Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril, has earned 26 sacks in the last seven games. They snagged two sacks last week against the tough-to-corral Cam Newton. Physical defensive fronts have given the Packers problems this season. If Seattle is able to push the pocket against an injured Rodgers they should be able to discombobulate the entire Packers offense. The unit will have to be more stout against Eddie Lacy and the Packers running game than it was last week when it gave up 132 yards on the ground. With a dominant secondary, if the defensive front gets pressure on Rodgers, the Seahawks could ground the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense.

Patriots pass rush vs. Andrew Luck

When Andrew Luck doesn't have pressure in his face he's like a quarterback machine that never stops producing. It's no wonder that in the playoffs the Colts quarterback has been otherworldly as he's been sacked just once this postseason. Luck wasn't taken down at all by Denver in the Divisional Round. Indy's offensive line has done a good job keeping defenders off Luck, but it's the quarterback's innate sense and pocket presence that allows him to slip away from defenders. The Patriots secondary is one of the best in the NFL, but if the pass rush doesn't get to Luck he can pick apart anyone. Luck has 40-plus pass attempts in each of his five playoff starts with 300-yard passing games in three of his last four contests. If bodies aren't piling on him Sunday, he could toss the Colts to another road playoff win.

The Patriots had zero sacks last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Chandler Jones and Co. must change that this week. New England earned 40 sacks this season, 13th best in the NFL, so Bill Belichick's crew can get pressure on the quarterback. We'll see if Belichick throws any creative pressures at the third-year signal caller. Luck can be loose with the football when he's under pressure. The quarterback has eight career interceptions in three games versus the Patriots. Jones is the best pure pass-rusher of the Pats bunch. If he has a dominant day, expect the Pats to earn several turnovers -- Luck was second in the NFL with 22 giveaways. If the rush is stymied, however, New England could be in for a long day on defense.


Did You Know?


Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks


Both teams have four new starters since they last met in Week 1:
Packers: WR Davante Adams; DE Josh Boyd; LB Sam Barrington; FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Seattle: WR Jermaine Kearse; TE Luke Willson; DT Tony McDaniel; CB Tharold Simon

There have been 22 playoff matchups of the No. 1 scoring offense versus the No. 1 scoring defense from the regular season in NFL history. Teams have split the matchups 11-11, but the defense has won seven of 12 such matchups in the Super Bowl era.

The Packers earned the NFL's best turnover differential this season (+14), while the Seahawks had the fourth-best turnover differential (+10).

The Green Bay offense scored 30.4 points per game (tops in the NFL) and had the NFL's No. 6 total offense, 386.1 yards per game. They also led the NFL with a 6.2 yards per play average during the regular season.

The Packers had only 13 giveaways this season, which was tied for the fewest in the NFL (Patriots).

Green Bay owned the NFL's third-best third-down offense (47.2 percent).

Rodgers did not fare well against top five defenses this season (based on end-of-season total defense rank), earning less than 230 yards passing in all four games against such opponents.

Green Bay didn't have any false start penalties in Week 1 in Seattle.

Eddie Lacy is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games with 95-plus rushing yards in six of the last seven games. He's averaging 99.0 rushing YPG in last seven games (including playoffs).

Davante Adams had seven receptions, 117 yards and 1 TD last Sunday versus Dallas. During the regular season, Adams did not rank in the Top 10 among rookies this season in receptions (T-11th), yards (13th) or TDs (T-10th).

Green Bay's defense ranked 15th in the NFL in total defense (346.4 YPG) with the No. 13 scoring defense (21.8 PPG).

The Packers' defense played much better down the stretch, allowing 16.3 PPG in the last four games.

The Green Bay defense has actually outperformed the Seahawks' defense in a few areas over the last four games, giving up 19.5 fewer total YPG and 30 fewer passing YPG. On third down, Packers opponents are converting 32.7 percent of the time, while Seahawks opponents are converting 36.2 percent of the time.

The Seahawks have won eight straight playoff games at home (longest active streak in NFL). Their last playoff loss at home was in the 2004 Wild Card game versus St. Louis.

The Seattle offense was the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense in 2014 regular season, averaging 172.6 rushing yards per game (best in franchise history). They earned 5.3 yards per rush (first in NFL and best in franchise history).

The Seahawks rushed for four or more yards on 50.9 percent of rush attempts in the 2014 regular season (highest percent in NFL).

The 'Hawks had 100-plus rushing yards in 15 of 16 regular season games (most in franchise history). They have also earned 100-plus rush yards in six straight postseason games.

Russell Wilson's unit was the 27th-ranked passing offense (203.1 YPG) in the regular season. The lowest-ranked pass offense to advance to Super Bowl was 2013 Seahawks (Ranked 26th with 202.3 pass YPG).

Rodgers and Wilson are the two highest-rated passers in playoff history. However, did you know that Wilson (109.6) ranks ahead of Rodgers (105.3)? On this list, Bart Starr (104.8) ranks third, while Kurt Warner (102.8) is fourth.

Against QBs who have won at least one Super Bowl, Wilson is 9-0 in the regular season and playoffs. Wilson is 2-0 vs. Eli Manning; 2-0 vs. Drew Brees; 2-0 vs. Peyton Manning; 2-0 vs. Aaron Rodgers; and 1-0 vs. Tom Brady. In those nine games, Wilson has thrown 15 TD, 4 INT and has a passer rating of 104.7.

Marshawn Lynch has 100-plus rushing yards in four of his last nine games. Lynch accounted for 39.0 percent of the Seahawks' offensive touches in the 2014 regular season (317 of 812 total Seahawks touches). In Week 1 versus Green Bay: 20 carries, 110 rush yards, 2 rush TD.

In his first 13 games this season, Luke Willson had 17 receptions, 191 yards and one touchdown. In his last three games (including playoffs) Willson has nine receptions, 239 yards and three touchdowns. Note: Willson missed one game in 2014.

The Seahawks had the NFL's top total defense in the regular season. The unit ranked top three in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense and rushing defense (only team in top three for each category).

Over their last seven games (plus the 4th quarter of Week 11 at KC), the Seahawks' defense has allowed 5 TDs in its last 77 opponent drives.

Seattle's defense allowed 8.0 PPG in the last seven games -- 10 teams didn't allow eight or fewer points in any game this season.

In the two games versus the Seahawks since Richard Sherman joined the NFL in 2011, Rodgers targeted Nelson and Cobb a combined 28 times. Of those 28 targets, Sherman was not covering either of the receivers at the time.


Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots


Andrew Luck is looking to become the fourth quarterback to defeat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive games. All three have defeated Manning before Brady, as Luck is trying to accomplish.

Luck has been sacked just once this postseason -- tied for fewest for any quarterback with Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers.

The Colts' offense has looked better in the playoffs than in December: 25 points per game to 19 PPG; 423.0 yards per game to 311.8; -1 turnover differential to -3.

Indianapolis has at least one giveaway in 15 of 18 games this season. Their 31 giveaways in regular season were tied for 29th in the NFL. Luck finished the season with 22 giveaways, second behind Jay Cutler.

Luck's eight career INT against the Patriots (including playoffs) are three more than he has against any other team. Luck has five INTs in six career games versus the Titans.

Daniel "Boom" Herron in the playoffs: 35 rush, 119 yards (3.4 avg.), two TDs. He had just one rush TD in 16 games this regular season. Herron also has 18 receptions, 117 yards in two playoff games this season. He had 21 receptions all regular season. The running back's 18 catches is tied for second-most in a two-playoff game span in NFL History (Darren Sproles 19 in 2011).

The Indy defense has allowed 13 or fewer points in three straight games and four of the last five.

The Colts were the NFL's second-best third down defense during the regular season, allowing only 33.3 percent of third down conversions during regular season (10 of 31, 32.3 percent in postseason).

Indy has at least one takeaway in 11 straight games.

Rookie Jonathan Newsome in the AFC Divisional Round at DEN: 3 tackles, sack, forced fumble. He became the first rookie to record a full sack of Peyton Manning in the playoffs. Newsome led the team with 6.5 sacks during regular season.

The Patriots owned the NFL's fourth-best scoring offense in regular season (29.3 PPG) and scored 40-plus points five times this regular season -- most 40-point games in NFL.

New England had the best scoring differential in NFL during regular season (+155) -- outscored opponents 468-313.

The Pats allowed only 26 sacks during regular season -- tied for fourth-fewest in NFL.

Brady is 60-7 in his last 67 home games including postseason, with a 65.3 completion percentage, 278.6 yards per game, 144-39 TD-INT ratio and a 101.1 passer rating.

The Pats' quarterback completed just 25.0 percent of 20-plus air yard passes in 2014 (third-lowest in NFL). He completed 40 percent of such passes in the Divisional Round.

In their last two meetings, the Patriots have crushed the Colts in the running game: 45 attempts per game to 18.5 attempts; 240 yards per game to 44 and 10 rushing touchdowns to 0.

Brady has completed 29.0 percent of his passes to a tight end.

Rob Gronkowski has a touchdown reception in four consecutive games, including postseason -- longest streak of career is six games. The tight end has four 100-yard games this season (Including playoffs).

New England is 11-1 this season when Gronk has 40-plus receiving yards including postseason and is 2-2 when held to 40 or fewer yards (0-1 in games he did not play).

LeGarrette Blount with the Patriots: 60 carries, 281 yards, 3 TD (five games). Blount had a historic performance versus Indy in the 2013 Divisional Round: 24 rushes, 166 yards, 4 TD.

The Patriots' D was the NFL's No. 8 scoring defense in regular season (19.6 PPG).

Darrelle Revis: seven career postseason games, 23 tackles, 2 INT, 5 passes defensed. Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 41.5 when targeting Revis in the postseason.

Bill Belichick needs one win to break a tie with Tom Landry for the most postseason wins by a head coach (each have 20).

The Patriots are 3-0 versus Colts in home playoff games:
- 2003 AFC Championship: Patriots 24, Colts 14
- 2004 Divisional: Patriots 20, Colts 3
- 2013 Divisional: Patriots 43, Colts 22

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Championship Sunday and makes our picks for each game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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