NFL 2015 Sunday Divisional Playoff Previews

January 10, 2015

Four of the NFL's elite quarterbacks will be featured prominently in Sunday's Divisional Playoffs when Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck all will battle for a chance to get one step closer to the Super Bowl.

On Sunday, January 11, the NFC North-champion Green Bay Packers (12-4) will welcome the Dallas Cowboys (13-4), the winners of the NFC East, to Lambeau Field (FOX, 1:05 PM ET) and the AFC West-champion Denver Broncos (12-4) will host the Indianapolis Colts (12-5), the winners of the AFC South (CBS, 4:40 PM ET).


The Cowboys and Packers have met six times in the postseason with Dallas winning each of the past four contests. The teams last played a playoff game in Green Bay in the 1967 NFL Championship Game – known as the “Ice Bowl” – which the Packers won 21-17.

Dallas knocked off Detroit 24-20 last week as the Cowboys overcame a 14-point deficit. Quarterback Tony Romo – who led the NFL with a 113.2 passer rating – threw two touchdown passes and had a 114 rating in the Wild Card win.

“To be among the final eight teams, it’s something we certainly feel good about,” said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “Challenges are ahead and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

The Cowboys have been perfect on the road, posting an 8-0 record and outscoring opponents 275-181. The Packers finished the regular season 8-0 at home, outscoring opponents 318-163. This is the first playoff game in NFL history with a team that went 8-0 at home hosting a club that went 8-0 on the road.

“It’s great to be playing at home, we prefer to play here,” said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. “This is playoff football and everything changes. But this is definitely where we want to play.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers set an NFL single-season record with a 133.2 passer rating at home and had 25 touchdowns without an interception. At Lambeau Field, Rodgers has 477 consecutive pass attempts and 38 touchdown passes in a row without an interception (including the postseason).

However, Rodgers is nursing a partially torn calf muscle, and thus, his ability to scramble -- a major part of his game -- could be compromised.

One key to the game will be whether the Cowboys relatively average pass rush can put enough pressure on Rodgers to force him to move on his bum calf.

“This is a fun team to be on and the guys believe in each other, fight for each other and we stick together,” said Rodgers, who ranks second in NFL postseason history with a 103.1 passer rating. “Winning the division was important as was getting that home playoff game. We’re 8-0 at home so we want to keep that streak alive. This is what we love to do. I love the competition. We’re all passionate about this game.”


The Colts will visit the Broncos in a rematch of their Kickoff Weekend meeting. In Week 1, Denver’s Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas connected on three touchdowns as the Broncos won 31-24.

Indianapolis advanced to the Divisional round with a 26-10 victory over Cincinnati as quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 376 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had 6 catches for 103 yards. Luck has now thrown for at least 300 yards in three consecutive playoff games – tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history – and Hilton has 496 career receiving yards in the postseason, the second-most in NFL history in a player’s first four playoff games.

“We played great team football and we’re moving on to the next round,” said Luck. “We’ve got a tall order playing Denver at Denver but we’re excited about that and up for the challenge.”

Manning won nine playoff games – including Super Bowl XLI – with the Colts. He has 6,589 passing yards and nine 300-yard games in his postseason career, both tops in NFL history.

“We’re excited and looking forward to the postseason,” said Manning. “This is always an exciting time for football. This is why you work so hard all season to get this opportunity. Playoff football takes on different twists and turns. You’re going to play some really good football teams.”

The Broncos, who won the AFC West, finished the regular season 8-0 at home, outscoring opponents 283-166. Over the past two seasons, including the playoffs, Denver has won 17 of its past 18 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“We’re excited and glad to be playing at home,” said Manning. “We know our crowd will be into it and be a big factor.”

DALLAS at GREEN BAY - Injury Report

Dallas Cowboys
T Doug Free (ankle)
LB Anthony Hitchens (ankle), LB Rolando McClain (knee, concussion), DT Terrell McClain (ankle), DE Jeremy Mincey (concussion)
LB Bruce Carter (knee), TE James Hanna (knee), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), S Jeff Heath (thumb), G Zack Martin (ankle), RB DeMarco Murray (hand), QB Tony Romo (back)

Green Bay Packers

S Sean Richardson (knee)
DE Josh Boyd (knee), CB Davon House (shoulder), QB Aaron Rodgers (calf), G Josh Sitton (toe)
Practice Report


Indianapolis Colts

LB Jerrell Freeman (abdomen), C Jonotthan Harrison (concussion), LB Andrew Jackson (hamstring), LB Henoc Muamba (back), C A.Q. Shipley (ankle), CB Gregory Toler (knee), LB Erik Walden (knee)

Denver Broncos
DE Quanterus Smith (knee)

LB Brandon Marshall (foot), DT Mitch Unrein (knee)
S David Bruton (concussion, neck), T Paul Cornick (toe), G Orlando Franklin (concussion), QB Peyton Manning (thigh), C Will Montgomery (knee), CB Aqib Talib (achilles), WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle, finger), TE Julius Thomas (ankle), RB Juwan Thompson (hip, knee), S T.J. Ward (neck), CB Kayvon Webster (shoulder)

By Staff of

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