After 22 weeks of preseason, regular season, and postseason games it has come down to the final eight. In just 48 hours we will know which teams will be squaring off on Championship Weekend for the right to meet in Super Bowl LIV.
Here is what you need to know heading into the league’s most exciting weekend.
Packers Inching Toward History
The Packers, along with the 49ers, are one of two teams that rank in the top five in playoff wins in league history. At 34 wins, the Packers are currently fourth and a Super Bowl victory would tie them with the New England Patriots with 37. A league record. Since winning the Super Bowl as the wildcard at the beginning of the last decade, the Packers are just 5-6 and have not been back to the playoffs since 2016 when they lost to the Falcons in the NFC Championship. Their only other NFC Championship Game appearance in the last 10 years came against the team they host on Sunday… the Seattle Seahawks.
Speaking of the Seahawks and Packers
This game features the only two quarterbacks left that have won a Super Bowl… Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Rodgers, as mentioned before hasn’t had much success in the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl XLV despite having thrown at least two touchdowns in each of his last five postseason games. On the flip side, Wilson has appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one, in his first eight seasons in the league and for much of the season, he was in the MVP debate until Lamar Jackson ran away with it. We don’t know who will move on to Championship Sunday but what we do know is that only one quarterback that has won a Super Bowl will play next weekend. It’s just a question of who.
All Eyes on G… Jimmy G
Despite already having two Super Bowl rings, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo will make his first career postseason start on Saturday. Injury excluded, Garropolo’s time in the Bay Area has been a great success to this point and it got better this season as he led the 49ers to the top seed in the NFC. However, many questions still remain as to whether or not Garoppolo can elevate his game at the highest level. Winning a playoff game against the Vikings will help his case. Winning a Super Bowl will cement it. A Super Bowl win would also tie the 49ers with the Patriots and Steelers with 6 Super Bowls… a franchise record.
Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup between Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and Deshaun Watson and the Texans will be just the third time two quarterbacks under the age of 25 meet in the Divisional Round. It is the first time since 2000 when Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings hosted Aaron Brooks and the New Orleans Saints. The only other time came in 1985 when the Dolphins and Dan Marino hosted Bernie Kosar and the Cleveland Browns. In both scenarios, the home team won which bodes well for those who believe that will help Mahomes and the Chiefs. However, Watson and Texans got the better of the Chiefs back in Week 6.
The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are both looking to become the first time since the Packers and Jets in 2010 to reach the Conference Championship as the sixth seed. Of course, as the sixth seed, the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl matching the Steelers who also did it back in 2005. The Jets lost in the AFC Championship in 2010 to the Steelers. Baltimore and Philadelphia each reached their respective Conference Championship games in 2008 but lost.