Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) runs during the second half of an AFC Wild Card NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Good morning! This is Playoff Watch 2017, the early buzz on NFL playoffs.
After the mostly dreadful wild-card round, the NFL playoffs are now down to the final eight teams.
In the NFC, No. 2 seed Falcons will host No. 3 seed Seahawks at 4:35 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome. No. 1 seed Cowboys will host No. 4 seed Packers at 4:40 p.m. Sunday.
In the AFC, No. 1 seed Patriots will host No. 6 seed Texans at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. No. 2 seed Chiefs will host No. 3 seed Steelers at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
The winners advance to the NFC championship game which is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 and to the AFC title game which is set for 6:40 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. The highest remaining seed in each conference will host the game.
Super Bowl LI is set for 6:05 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 in Houston, Texas.
SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls #34 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates scoring a 4-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The wild-card round presented three boring games and a one spectacular showing by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a 38-13 victory over the New York Giants.
Seattle steamrolled Detroit 26-6 behind 161 yards rushing from running back Thomas Rawls on 27 carries. He didn’t play when Seattle beat Atlanta 26-24 on Oct. 16.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz wants to know if the mixed official crew will call pass interference this time.
While the Seahawks will have Rawls and a rushing attack, the Falcons insist they are a better version of the team that blew a 24-23 fourth-quarter lead in Seattle.
The Houston and Oakland game was dreadful. Oakland quarterback Connor Cook, who was making his first NFL start because of injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, was over-matched. The Texans won 27-14 to delay for a week what some contend will be the end of the Bill O’Brien era in Lone Star State.
Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell led the way to a 30-12 win over Miami and backup quarterback Matt Moore. Bell rushed 29 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a late-game injury, but vows to play against the Chiefs.
For some reason, Roethlisberger remained in the game with the Steelers up 30-12 with under five minutes to play. On third-and-9 from the Miami’s 44-yard line, Roethlisberger was dragged down as he threw what would he his final pass — an interception by Dolphins corner Xavien Howard. He was seen in a walking boot after the game.
The New York Giants dominated early before Rodgers get rolling late in the second quarter. The Giants had to settle for two early field goals before Rodgers tossed two touchdown passes late in the second quarter, including a Hail Mary to Randall Cobb at the halftime buzzer. Cobb ended up with three touchdown catches as Rodgers passed for 362 yards and four touchdowns.
It was a costly win for the Packers who lost wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who suffered a rib injury after a hit by New York Giants cornerback Leon Hall. Later running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery left the game with a right leg injury, but he returned.
Silverstein is a beat reporter for The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The Falcons are four-point favorites over the Seahawks.
Playoff Watch 2017 will appear Monday through Friday mornings.
Thomas Rawls rushed for a franchise playoff-record 161 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks handled the Lions, 26-6. Head coach Pete Carroll spoke following the wild-card win.
RECAP OF THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2016 REGULAR SEASON
GAME 16: Falcons 38, Saints 32
5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Saints
Falcons defense sags late but hangs on vs. Brees
Julio Jones says bye week will be ‘great for me’ with sore toe
GAME 15: Falcons 33, Panthers 16
5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Panthers
NFL playoffs: Falcons clinch NFC South title
Third-and-21, no problem for Coleman
What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Panthers
GAME 14: Falcons 41, 49ers 13
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the 49ers
What Matt Ryan had to say about the win over the 49ers
PHOTOS: Falcons win over the 49ers
GAME 13: Falcons 42, Rams 14
REPORT CARD: Falcons handled their business against woeful Rams
GAME 12: Chiefs 29, Falcons 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Chiefs
Falcons still control their playoff destiny
PHOTOS: Falcons have a bad day at the office
Matt Ryan tormented by Berry’s big interceptions
Beasley becomes a double-digit sacker
GAME 11: Falcons 38, Cardinals 19
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons keep getting better as they go
Julio Jones gets calls this time
Taylor Gabriel continues scoring streak in win over Cardinals
Coleman scores TD in return from injury
Falcons’ offensive line ‘stepped up to the task’
GAME 10: Eagles 24, Falcons 15
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Eagles
Ryan, offense slowed down to a crawl
Perkins stalls key drive with costly penalty
Defense gets blown of the line of scrimmage
Keanu Neal can expect fine but Falcons’ biggest issue is injuries (Trufant and Tamme)
Falcons go into bye week wrong way — beat up by Eagles
What Dan Quinn had to say after the loss to the Eagles
What Matt Ryan had to say after the loss to the Eagles
What the Falcons had to say after the loss to the Eagles
PHOTOS: Falcons fall to the Eagles
GAME NINE: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ rout of the Bucs
GAME EIGHT: Falcons 33, Packers 32
GAME SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT
5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Chargers
Dan Quinn’s gamble with house-money backfires
6 penalties ‘unacceptable’ for Falcons offensive line
Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: ‘He picked us apart’
Matt Ryan’s late-game interception leads to overtime loss
PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons
GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24
5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Seahawks
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn’t win, but they made one guy believe (me)
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud
Matt Ryan’s turnovers were costly
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
Seattle slows down Falcons’ running backs Freeman, Coleman
Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half
Julio Jones: ‘It was just a missed call’
What the Falcons had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call
PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle
GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16
5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies
What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver
Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense
Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks
Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles
What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos
Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos
GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 48-33 win over the Panthers
Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33
Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons
Falcons’ rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen
What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
Alford battled; Collins to return
Early view in NFC South isn’t what most expected; Falcons on top
GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints
Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game
REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons
Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?
GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Raiders
Trufant’s heads-up play saves the day
Tight ends help to power offense
Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013
Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less
JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win
What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders
What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders
GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Bucs
No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush
Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury
Falcons have a case of the “no-huddle” blues
REPORT CARD: Falcons can’t ‘gift’ opponents 17 points
FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action
AJC’S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?
Hageman charged is domestic violence case