Dallas Cowboys

Previews of Saturday’s NFL playoff games

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who helped Baltimore defeat Pittsburgh in last week’s wild-card playoff, is 7-2 in the postseason since 2010 and has thrown 166 consecutive passes in the playoffs without an interception.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who helped Baltimore defeat Pittsburgh in last week’s wild-card playoff, is 7-2 in the postseason since 2010 and has thrown 166 consecutive passes in the playoffs without an interception. AP

6 Baltimore Ravens (11-6) at 1 New England Patriots (12-4)

3:35 p.m., KXAS/5Line: Patriots by 7

How the Ravens got here: Baltimore earned its first playoff win over Pittsburgh 30-17 last week in the wild-card round. Joe Flacco passed for two second-half touchdowns and finished with a 114.0 passer rating. The Ravens sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times.

How the Patriots got here: The Patriots are the top seed in the AFC and are the first team in NFL history to win 11 division titles in 12 seasons. New England had a bye last week, but is 15-4 at home in the postseason. Tom Brady’s 18 postseason wins are the most by a quarterback in NFL history.

Key stat: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a tough matchup, particularly in the red zone, and led the team with 12 touchdown catches.

The skinny: The Ravens limited Pittsburgh to field goals instead of touchdowns, which made the difference in their wild-card win. New England can’t strike quick or from far away. Red-zone play will be the difference in this matchup.

4 Carolina Panthers (8-8-1)at 1 Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

7:15 p.m., KDFW/4Line: Seahawks by 11

How the Panthers got here: Carolina forced three turnovers to beat Arizona 27-16 in the wild-card round. The Panthers held the Cardinals to only 78 total yards. Carolina had 386 yards of total offense with Cam Newton throwing for 198. Jonathan Stewart had 123 rushing yards last week.

How the Seahawks got here: Seattle is the No. 1 second for the second consecutive season. The defending Super Bowl champions are rested after the bye week, but showed some vulnerability during the season despite their record. Russell Wilson and company finished the regular season strong and the defense continues to be disruptive.

Key stat: Where do you start with Seattle’s defense? They led the NFL in points allowed (15.9), total defense (267.1) and pass defense (185.6).

The skinny: Seattle is the heavy favorite and its defense is dominant. Carolina will need some X-factor plays — big plays in the special teams and turnovers — to stay in this one.

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