NFL Playoff Capsules
Undated (AP) _ A look at the wild card playoff matchups in the National Football League (all times EST; records in parentheses):
--- Saturday, Jan. 8 PITTSBURGH (9-7) AT KANSAS CITY (11-5) 12:30 p.m., ABC
LINE - Chiefs by 8 1/2 .
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Steelers 7-9-0, Chiefs 8-8-0.
SERIES RECORD - Steelers lead 13-5.
LAST TIME MET - In Week 8 last season at Kansas City, Steelers won 27-3 as Barry Foster rushed for 105 yards.
LAST GAME - Steelers beat Cleveland 16-9 on Neil O’Donnell’s 14-yard TD pass to Eric Green in fourth quarter; Chiefs beat Seattle 34-24 - their highest-scoring game this season.
STEELERS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 6), PASS (No. 13), OVERALL (No. 7)
O’Donnell had career-high 14 TD passes and finished eighth in AFC passing rating (79.5). Eric Green became the first TE to lead Steelers in receptions (63) since John Hilton in 1963 (46). Green also had a career-high 942 yards. Leroy Thompson rushed for 763 yards and three TDs as replacement for Barry Foster, who underwent season-ending ankle surgery.
CHIEFS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 20), PASS (No. 15), OVERALL (No. 16)
QB Joe Montana completed 181 of 298 passes for 2,144 yards while battling hamstring injury to rank second in AFC with 87.4 rating. WR Willie Davis led team with 909 yards on 52 catches and seven TDs. RB Marcus Allen had 15 TDs (12 rushing, 3 receiving) to tie Atlanta’s Andre Rison for second in NFL. Allen also led Chiefs with 764 yards on 206 carries.
STEELERS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 3), PASS (No. 15), OVERALL (No. 3)
Led AFC in overall defense (283.2 yards per game), but allowed nearly 200 passing yards per game. Ranked second in league with 24 interceptions, however, and third in takeaway-giveaway at plus-11 (38-27). LB Kevin Greene registered 12 1/2 sacks, third most in club history. CB Rod Woodson had eight INTs, most since Mel Blount’s club-record 11 in 1972. LB Greg Lloyd led team with 111 tackles.
CHIEFS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 9), PASS (No. 14), OVERALL (No. 11)
Held opposition to 101.3 rushing yards per game, fewest for Chiefs since 1971. Finished fourth best in the AFC in takeaway-giveaway (plus-10, 38-28). DE Neil Smith led NFL with 15 sacks. CB Albert Lewis (six INTs) and S Charles Mincy (five INTs) kept an injury-riddled secondary together. Kept opponents to AFC-low 3-of-13 fourth-down conversions.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Steelers’ Gary Anderson finished with 116 points, most since his 118 in 1988. He has converted eight straight postseason FGs, third longest streak in NFL history. P Mark Royals led AFC with 28 punts inside 20. ... Chiefs’ Nick Lowery ranks third on the NFL’s all-time scoring list with 1,473 points. Lowery was 8-for-12 on FGs from 40-plus yards. He has missed only two PATs in 10 seasons.
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - With victory, Steelers would play at Buffalo in second round of playoffs. If Chiefs win, their next game would be at Houston. ... Montana owns 14-5 record in postseason and has a 98.2 passing rating in playoffs, third highest in NFL history. ... Steelers got help from New England and had to wait for the Jets to lose Sunday night to make playoffs ... Pittsburgh has won six straight at Arrowhead Stadium dating back to 1974 ... Pittsburgh lost to Buffalo 24-3 in the 1992 divisional round and Kansas City was shut out by San Diego 17-0 in last year’s wild-card game.
--- GREEN BAY (9-7) AT DETROIT (10-6) 4 p.m., ABC
LINE - Lions by 1 1/2 .
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Packers 9-7; Lions 9-7.
SERIES RECORD - Packers lead 64-56-7.
LAST TIME MET - In regular-season finale last week, Eric Lynch rushed for 115 yards and Lions recorded five takeaways in 30-20 victory for division title. Green Bay beat Lions 26-17 in Week 12 at Milwaukee.
PACKERS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 22), PASS (No. 18), OVERALL (No. 19)
WR Sterling Sharpe set NFL-record with 112 receptions for 1,274 yards and 12 TDs, becoming first player in history with consecutive 100-catch seasons. Brett Favre completed 60.9 percent of passes and was third in NFC with 19 TDs, but hurt rating with league-leading 24 INTs, including four last week against Lions. Edgar Bennett rushed for 550 yards on 159 carries and was second on team with 59 receptions.
LIONS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 7), PASS (No. 24), OVERALL (No. 24)
Erik Kramer took over starting QB job four games ago and has been impressive, completing 76 of 114 passes for 882 yards, eight TDs and two INTs. RB Eric Lynch, another former third-stringer, rushed for 115 yards against Packers in place of All-Pro Barry Sanders. Sanders gained 1,115 yards on 243 carries but is still doubtful with knee injury. WR Herman Moore led team with 61 receptions for 935 yards.
PACKERS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 8), PASS (No. 7), OVERALL (No. 2)
Free-agent acquisition DE Reggie White solidified unit, which ranked 23rd overall last season, and improved pass rush. White tied for first in NFC with 13 sacks and LB Bryce Paup added career-best 11. S Leroy Butler tied for second in NFC with six INTs. LB Johnny Holland led team with 134 tackles.
LIONS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 10), PASS (No. 9), OVERALL (No. 6)
Finished with 43 sacks to improve on 1992 output of 29. DT Robert Porcher had 8 1/2 , LB Tracy Scroggins had 8, and LB Pat Swilling had 6 1/2 . LB Chris Spielman led Lions in tackles for sixth straight season with 148. Three LBs - Scroggins, Swilling and George Jamison - had interceptions against Favre last week, as did CB Ray Crockett.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Green Bay’s Robert Brooks led NFL with 26.6-yard average on kickoff returns. K Chris Jacke scored 128 points, second most in NFC, and made 6 of 7 attempts from 50-plus yards. ... K Jason Hanson led NFC and set Lions record with 130 points, making 34 of 43 FGs and 28 of 28 PATs.
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - With victory, Packers would play at Dallas in second round of playoffs, while Lions’ next game would be at San Francisco. ... Packers and Lions have met 127 times since 1930, but never in postseason. ... Green Bay owns NFL’s best postseason record at 13-5, but hasn’t made playoffs since 1982. ... Packers G Hallstrom is only player remaining from 1982 playoff team. ... 34 members of Lions’ squad have postseason experience. ... Swilling led Lions with three interceptions this season after totaling none in seven seasons with New Orleans.
--- Sunday MINNESOTA (9-7) AT NEW YORK GIANTS (11-5) 12:30 p.m., CBS
LINE - Giants by 6 1/2 .
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Vikings 6-10; Giants 11-5.
SERIES RECORD - Vikings lead 6-4.
LAST TIME MET - In 1990, Giants clinched second consecutive NFC East title with 23-15 victory at Giants Stadium. Ottis Anderson rushed for two TDs and LB Lawrence Taylor had 2 1/2 sacks.
LAST GAME - Vikings beat Washington 14-9 last Friday to clinch playoff berth; Giants lost 16-13 in overtime to Dallas in game for division title and home field advantage throughout playoffs.
VIKINGS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 21), PASS (No. 14), OVERALL (No. 7)
Jim McMahon led Vikings to victory in 8 of 11 games he started, despite mediocre passing stats: 200 of 331 for 1,967 yards, 9 TDs and 8 INTs. WR Cris Carter led team with 86 catches for 1,071 yards and nine TDs, WR Anthony Carter was next with 60 catches for 774 yards. Scottie Graham led Vikings with 487 rushing yards in only eight games. OL has not allowed sack in last 3 games.
GIANTS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 1), PASS (No. 22), OVERALL (No. 10)
Typical Giants ball control attack led NFL in rushing (128 yards per game), and time of possession (32:18) while committing NFL-low 17 turnovers. Rodney Hampton ranked fifth in NFC with 1,077 yards on 292 carries despite missing 4 games at midseason with injury. Phil Simms completed 61.8 percent of passes for 3,038 yards and was third in conference with 88.3 rating. With injury to WR Mike Sherrard, WR Mark Jackson (58 catches for 708 yards) is lone deep threat.
VIKINGS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 6), PASS (No. 6), OVERALL (No. 1)
NFLs top-rated defense held opponents to 275 yards per game and NFC-low 95.9 on the ground. Vikings also look for big play: they’ve totalled 52 INTs for 713 yards and 8 TDs last two seasons. DE Chris Doleman and DT John Randle each had 12 1/2 sacks to tie for second in NFC. S Vencie Glenn topped unit with five INTs.
GIANTS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 7), PASS (No. T10), OVERALL (No. 5)
Allowed NFL-low 205 points during regular season, an average of 12.8 per game. Two newcomers finished 1-2 in tackles: LBs Carlton Bailey (136) and Michael Brooks (92). DE Keith Hamilton paced Giants with 11 1/2 sacks as team improved from 25 sacks in 1992 to 41 this season. CB Mark Collins and S Myron Guyton shared team lead with four INTs.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Minnesota ranks last in NFL in kickoff coverage (24.5 yards alowed per return) and 26th in punt coverage (12.2). K Fuad Reveiz made 22 of 22 FG attempts from inside 40 yards, but only 4 of 13 from 40-plus. ... Giants K David Treadwell made 21 of 31 FG attempts, including 12 of 12 at Giants Stadium. 40 of K Brad Daluiso’s 64 kickoffs went for touchbacks.
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Winner plays at Dallas in second round of playoffs with Detroit victory over Green Bay; at San Francisco if Green Bay wins. ... Giants have won last three meetings with Vikings, including last two at Giants stadium. Minnesota’s last road victory against Giants was in 1971. ... Vikings’ Dennis Green is 10th coach in NFL history to make playoffs in each of his first two seasons. ... Vikings are 10-4 outdoors since Green took over in 1992. ... Hampton became first Giants RB ever with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. .. Giants coach Dan Reeves has played or coached in eight Super Bowls and 43 playoff games. ... Minnesota RB Roger Craig has made postseason every year he’s been in league since 1983 (1983-1990 with San Francisco, 1991 with LA Raiders and 1992-93 with Vikings).
--- DENVER (9-7) AT LOS ANGELES RAIDERS (10-6) 4 p.m., NBC
LINE - Raiders by 2.
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Broncos 9-5-2; Raiders 6-9-1.
SERIES RECORD - Raiders lead 46-19-2 in regular season, but Broncos won only postseason meeting, 20-17 in 1977 AFC Championship.
LAST TIME MET - In regular season finale last week, Raiders clinched playoff berth with 33-30 victory at Los Angeles as Jeff Jaeger kicked 47-yard FG 7:10 into overtime. Raiders won 23-20 at Denver in Week 7.
BRONCOS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 18), PASS (No. 4), OVERALL (No. 5)
John Elway capped his most productive regular-season with 361-yard, 3-TD performance against Raiders. Elway led AFC in attempts (551), completions (348), completion percentage (63.2), yards (4,030), TDs (25) and passing rating (92.8). He also had career-low 10 INTs. TE Shannon Sharpe fiished third in NFC with 81 receptions for 995 yards and nine TDs. With top RB Rod Bernstine out with shoulder injury, RB Robert Delpino (445 yards on 131 carries) will start.
RAIDERS OFFENSE - RUSH (No. 26), PASS (No. 5), OVERALL (No. 13)
Jeff Hostetler completed 236 of 419 passes for 3,242 yards to become first Raiders QB to surpass 3,000 yards since Ken Stabler in 1979. He also led NFL QBs with five rushing TDs. WR Tim Brown topped AFC with 1,180 yards on career- high 80 catches with seven TDs. Rookie RB Randy Jordan and Nick Bell lead meager running game that averaged only 89 yards per game and 3.3 per carry.
BRONCOS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 4), PASS (No. 27), OVERALL (No. 19)
Allowed 233 passing yards per game and 304 last week to Raiders despite secondary that boasts two Pro Bowl safeties - Dennis Smith and Steve Atwater. LB Simon Fletcher led Broncos in sacks for sixth straight season with 13 , tied for second in AFC.
RAIDERS DEFENSE - RUSH (No. 20), PASS (No. 5), OVERALL (No. 9)
Has allowed at least 20 points in each of last five games. CB Terry McDaniel had five interceptions to lead AFC’s third-ranked pass defense (179 yards allowed per game). DE Anthony Smith tied for fifth in conference with 12 sacks.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Denver’s Reggie Rivers is only player in NFL with two blocked punts this season. P Tom Rouen ranks second in NFL with 45.0-yard average. ... Los Angeles’ Raghib Ismail led AFC with 24.2-yard kickoff-return average in his first NFL season. Jaeger topped NFL with club-record 132 points and tied league record with 35 FGs.
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Winner plays at Buffalo in second round of playoffs with Kansas City victory over Pittsburgh; at Houston if Pittsburgh wins. ... Raiders can become 14th team in NFL history to sweep three games from an oppponent in a season, and first since Chiefs beat Raiders three times in 1991. ... Raiders have won last six meetings with Broncos at Los Angeles Coliseum. ... Jeff Hostetler is 3-0 in postseason, including victory in 1991 Super Bowl while with New York Giants. ... Brown became first Raiders receiver to lead AFC in yardage since Cliff Branch in 1974.
End NFL Playoff Capsules