It’s quite possible that by 8 o’clock Sunday night, the region will be on fire thinking about an Eagles-Cowboys NFC championship game and maybe even a possible Eagles-Andy Reid Super Bowl.
The weekend starts with the Chiefs trying not to choke again and concludes in the Big Easy with the sagging (and rested) Saints hoping to get right again against the Eagles.
Here’s a look at the divisional round.
TV announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
About Indianapolis: The Colts started 1-5 and got into the postseason on the final night of Week 17. They jumped out to a 21-0 lead at Houston last week and won, 21-7. Andrew Luck had 39 touchdown passes this season and is probably going to win the NFL’s comeback-player-of-the-year award. Speaking of comebacks, Luck rallied the Colts from a 28-point deficit to beat the Chiefs in a 2013 wild-card game in Indy. Saturday’s game features two of the best tight ends in the AFC in Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Indy’s Eric Ebron. Only Antonio Brown (15) had more touchdown catches than Ebron (13) this season.
About Kansas City: Chiefs coach Andy Reid has lost his last three playoff games, and Kansas City has lost six consecutive postseason games at home. The Chiefs’ last win came against Pittsburgh in the 1993 playoffs, nearly two years before Patrick Mahomes was born. Mahomes took the league by storm in posting 50 touchdown passes and 5,097 yards in his first season as a starter. While this is obviously his first postseason game, he has shown no signs of any moment being too big. Mahomes father, Pat, was a major-league pitcher for 11 years and got to the postseason just once, pitching four games for the 1999 Mets.
Weather check: AccuWeather’s call was for significant snow Friday night into Saturday, but it should be dry by kickoff with ReelFeel temperatures in the 20s.
Line: Chiefs minus-5.5. Over/under: 57.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-24.
Postgame headline: C’mon, Kansas City, did you really think Andy would let you down in January again?
TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers
About Dallas: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ influence played a big role in helping the Rams move from St. Louis back to Los Angeles after the 2015 season. The Cowboys started 3-5 but have won eight of nine, and the acquisition of wide receiver Amari Cooper (831 yards, 10 games) has helped add balance to the offense. Cooper had just one catch for 9 yards against the Rams in Week 1, when he was still a Raider. In two playoff games, Ezekiel Elliott has posted 125 and 137 yards rushing.
>>READ MORE: Win over the Rams started the Eagles' wild run
About Los Angeles: The Rams' defense gave up 5.1 yards per rushing attempt, worst in the league. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald led the league with 20.5 sacks, most ever for a defensive tackle and just two behind Michael Strahan’s NFL record. The Rams' identity is an offense that ranked second in points and yards. Todd Gurley was hobbled by a knee injury down the stretch, registering just one 100-yard rushing game since mid-November. He practiced this week and is not on the injury report. Sean McVay, the poster boy for the league’s trend toward young, offensive-minded coaches, is 0-3 in the playoffs. He was 0-2 as a Redskins assistant and lost last year’s wild-card playoff at home to Atlanta.
Line: Rams minus-7. Over/under: 49.5.
Pick: Cowboys, 24-23.
Postgame headline: Only folks not rooting for a Cowboys-Eagles NFC championship game work for the Philadelphia Police Department
TV announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely
About Los Angeles: The Chargers (12-4) had a better record than New England (11-5), but they are the lower seed mostly because the Patriots play in a joke of a division. The Chargers lost a tiebreaker with the Chiefs and slipped to the 5-seed. The Chargers were 8-0 outside Los Angeles, with notable wins at Cleveland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Denver, and Baltimore. Philip Rivers is 5-5 in the postseason. He hasn’t thrown an interception in 89 playoff pass attempts. Running back Melvin Gordon has been hampered by a knee injury and hasn’t had more than 20 touches in a game since Week 11.
About New England: The Patriots have won nine consecutive postseason home games and have appeared in seven consecutive AFC championship games. Tom Brady is 7-0 against Rivers. This is their first playoff meeting since the 2007 AFC championship game. The Patriots lost to the Giants two weeks later in the David Tyree game. Brady is 19-3 at home in the postseason, losing twice to Baltimore and once to the Jets. Rob Gronkowski had just three touchdown catches this year. In last year’s Super Bowl, however, he went for 9-116-2.
Weather check: Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s, but wind and snow shouldn’t be a factor.
Line: Patriots minus-4. Over/under: 47.
Pick: Chargers, 29-28
Postgame headline: If Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez could win in New England in January, why couldn’t Philip Rivers?
TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver, Peter Schrager
About the Eagles: The Island of Misfit Toys, otherwise known as the Eagles' secondary, gets its stiffest challenge. You get the feeling that if Cre’Von LeBlanc, Avonte Maddox, Tre Sullivan, and Rasul Douglas contain Drew Brees, this team is going back to the Super Bowl? Only five No. 6 seeds have gotten past the divisional round since 1990. Green Bay and the Jets (1990) were the last. Indianapolis also has a chance this year. Nick Foles is 12-1 in his last 13 starts, not including the meaningless Week 17 game in 2017 against Dallas. Six of those wins came against playoff teams. His only start against the Saints came in a playoff game after the 2013 season. Foles left with the Eagles ahead, before Brees engineered a game-winning drive.
About New Orleans: Brees is 5-0 all-time at home in the postseason with the Saints and was 6-1 this season, losing only a shootout to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tampa Bay in Week 1. Brees’ home passer rating (133.3) was significantly higher than the one he posted on the road (99.3). Running back Alvin Kamara had 18 touchdowns, second in the league to the Rams’ Todd Gurley. Kamara, who had been chirping at the Eagles since the summer, declined to provide any bulletin-board material this week. Too bad.
Line: Saints minus-8. Over/under: 50.5.
Pick: Saints, 27-13