NFL PREVIEW \ Today's games



NFCNEW ORLEANS (10-6, 1-0)at CHICAGO (13-3, 1-0)
Game time: 3 p.m.TV/radio: (17/62) (8) (53); WBBW-AM (1240).Opening line: Bears by 3. Record vs. spread: Saints 10-7; Bears 9-7-1.Series history: Bears lead 12-11. Last meeting: Bears 20, Saints 17, Nov. 6, 2005 at Baton Rouge, La.Playoff record: Saints 2-5; Bears 15-16.Last week: Saints beat Eagles 27-24; Bears beat Seahawks 27-24 in OT.Saints offense: OVERALL (1), RUSH (19), PASS (1)Saints defense: OVERALL (11), RUSH (23), PASS (3)Bears offense: OVERALL (15), RUSH (15), PASS (14)Bears defense: OVERALL (5), RUSH (6), PASS (11)Notes: New Orleans is making first appearance in NFC championship game. ... Saints have never won playoff game on road, going 0-2. ... New Orleans went 6-2 on road this year, having won several games by big margins. Both road losses were by combined 10 points. ... Saints went 3-2 on grass fields this season. ... Their coldest game was 39 degrees in Pittsburgh on Nov. 12. ... Saints have 10-3 record in NFC, including last week's win over Eagles. ... New Orleans led NFL in total offense (391.5) and passing offense (281.4). ... Saints ranked first in NFL with 65 passing plays of 20 or more yards. ... Saints had No. 1 defense against pass in NFC (178.4). ... QB Drew Brees led NFL in yards passing (4,418) and NFC with 26 TD passes and passer rating (96.2). Brees had eight 300-yard games this season. ... Rookie WR Marques Colston added 70 catches for 1,038 yards and eight TDs. ... RB Deuce McAllister registered his fourth 1,000-yard season (1,057) and scored 10 TDs rushing. Last week, McAllister rushed for team postseason record 143 yards and scored twice (1 rushing, 1 receiving). ... Reggie Bush led NFL rookies with 88 catches (742 yards), most catches by rookie RB in NFL history. ... McAllister and Bush led Saints in TDs during regular season, with McAllister scoring 11 and Bush nine. ... DE Will Smith led team with 10 1/2 sacks. ... WR Devery Henderson led NFL with 23.3-yard average (32 receptions, 745 yards). ... DT Hollis Thomas (43 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks) returned last week from four-week ban for steroids. ... WR Joe Horn (groin) is questionable. Horn had 37 receptions for 679 yards and four TDs on season. ... Chicago has won nine NFL championships. ... Chicago is in NFC title game for first time since 1988 season, when it lost to San Francisco. ... Bears beat Saints 16-6 at Soldier Field on Jan. 6, 1991 in only other playoff meeting between teams. ... Chicago went 11-1 vs. NFC and 6-2 at home during regular season. ... Bears gave up conference-low 255 points and scored conference-high 427 points. ... Chicago led NFL with 44 takeaways and finished plus-8 in turnovers. ... Chicago led NFC in total defense (294.1). ... Bears' defense gave up more than 300 yards in each of final six regular-season games and 306 in last week's playoff win over Seattle. Bears yielded 127 yards rushing to Seattle. ... DE Mark Anderson led all rookies with 12 sacks.
AFCNEW ENGLAND (12-4; 2-0)at INDIANAPOLIS (12-4; 2-0)
Game time: 6:30 p.m.TV/radio: (27) (19) (2); WBBW-AM (1240).Opening line: Colts by 3. Record vs. spread: Patriots 10-6-2; Colts 10-8.Series history: Patriots lead 43-26. Last meeting: Colts 27, Patriots 20, Nov. 5, 2006 at New England.Playoff record: Patriots 19-11; Colts 15-16.Last week: Patriots beat Chargers 24-21; Colts beat Ravens 15-6.Patriots offense: OVERALL (11), RUSH (12), PASS (12)Patriots defense: OVERALL (6), RUSH (5), PASS (12)Colts offense: OVERALL (3), RUSH (18), PASS (2)Colts defense: OVERALL (21), RUSH (32), PASS (2)Notes: This is first time in AFC history neither top seed advanced to conference title game. Indianapolis is third seed and New England is fourth. Colts are first No. 3 seed to host conference title game since third-seeded Washington hosted fifth-seeded Minnesota in 1987. ... Teams meet for seventh time since Indianapolis moved from AFC East in 2002. New England won first four, including two home playoff games, and Colts have won last two -- both regular-season games at New England. ... Patriots beat Colts 24-14 in AFC title game following 2003 season in Foxborough, Mass. ... Patriots have won eight of their last nine games. ... New England is 5-0 in conference championship games since 1970. ... Coach Bill Belichick is 13-2 (12-1 with New England) in career playoff games. ... Patriots set team record for fewest points allowed per game (14.8) this season. ... CB Asante Samuel finished tied for NFL lead with 10 INTs. ... Patriots were No. 2 in AFC with 35 takeaways. ... QB Tom Brady, 12-1 in postseason, has TD pass in 11 consecutive playoff games, third-longest such streak in NFL history. Brady completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 3,529 yards, 24 TDs and 12 INTs in regular season. Brady threw career-playoff high 51 times last week, becoming first player to pass 50 or more times in postseason game and win (26 previous times resulted in loss). ... WR Jabar Gaffney has 18 catches for 207 yards and one TD in two playoff games, after finishing regular season with 11 receptions for 142 yards. ... RB Corey Dillon rushed for 812 yards and 13 TDs. ... WR Reche Caldwell, who led team with 61 receptions, 760 yards and four TDs, has 12 catches for 130 yards and one TD in playoffs. ... Rookie RB-KR Laurence Maroney has 939 yards from scrimmage (745 rushing, 194 receiving) and finished second in NFL with 28 kickoff return average. ... New England had second-best red-zone defense in AFC (34.3). ... Rookie K Stephen Gostkowski made 20 of 26 field goals during regular season and is 6-of-6 in two postseason games, including 31-yarder with 1:10 left to give Patriots win at San Diego. ... Including last week's win, Patriots are 8-1 on road. ... Indianapolis went 8-0 at home. ... Colts are second team in league history with four consecutive 12-win seasons (Dallas 1992-95). ... Indianapolis has allowed one TD in two playoff games, outscored opponents 38-14, intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles. ... Indianapolis, which allowed league-high 173 yards rushing per game, held Kansas City's Larry Johnson to 32 yards and Baltimore's Jamal Lewis to 53 yards. ... Kansas City and Baltimore were combined 3-of-22 on third-down conversions. ... Indianapolis held Patriots to 349 yards and intercepted Brady four times on Nov. 5. ... Colts led AFC in total offense (379.4) and led NFL in third-down conversions (56.1 percent, 105 of 187). ... QB Peyton Manning, AFC leader with 4,397 yards passing, is 5-6 in playoffs, 3-2 at home. Manning led NFL in passing (101.0) and TD passes (31). In five career games at home vs. Patriots, Manning has passed for 1,345 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs for a 99.8 passer rating. ... Colts had NFL's second-best offense in red zone (66.1).
Game time: 6:30 p.m.TV/radio: (27) (19) (2); WBBW-AM (1240).Opening line: Colts by 3. Record vs. spread: Patriots 10-6-2; Colts 10-8.Series history: Patriots lead 43-26. Last meeting: Colts 27, Patriots 20, Nov. 5, 2006 at New England.Playoff record: Patriots 19-11; Colts 15-16.Last week: Patriots beat Chargers 24-21; Colts beat Ravens 15-6.Patriots offense: OVERALL (11), RUSH (12), PASS (12)Patriots defense: OVERALL (6), RUSH (5), PASS (12)Colts offense: OVERALL (3), RUSH (18), PASS (2)Colts defense: OVERALL (21), RUSH (32), PASS (2)Notes: This is first time in AFC history neither top seed advanced to conference title game. Indianapolis is third seed and New England is fourth. Colts are first No. 3 seed to host conference title game since third-seeded Washington hosted fifth-seeded Minnesota in 1987. ... Teams meet for seventh time since Indianapolis moved from AFC East in 2002. New England won first four, including two home playoff games, and Colts have won last two -- both regular-season games at New England. ... Patriots beat Colts 24-14 in AFC title game following 2003 season in Foxborough, Mass. ... Patriots have won eight of their last nine games. ... New England is 5-0 in conference championship games since 1970. ... Coach Bill Belichick is 13-2 (12-1 with New England) in career playoff games. ... Patriots set team record for fewest points allowed per game (14.8) this season. ... CB Asante Samuel finished tied for NFL lead with 10 INTs. ... Patriots were No. 2 in AFC with 35 takeaways. ... QB Tom Brady, 12-1 in postseason, has TD pass in 11 consecutive playoff games, third-longest such streak in NFL history. Brady completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 3,529 yards, 24 TDs and 12 INTs in regular season. Brady threw career-playoff high 51 times last week, becoming first player to pass 50 or more times in postseason game and win (26 previous times resulted in loss). ... WR Jabar Gaffney has 18 catches for 207 yards and one TD in two playoff games, after finishing regular season with 11 receptions for 142 yards. ... RB Corey Dillon rushed for 812 yards and 13 TDs. ... WR Reche Caldwell, who led team with 61 receptions, 760 yards and four TDs, has 12 catches for 130 yards and one TD in playoffs. ... Rookie RB-KR Laurence Maroney has 939 yards from scrimmage (745 rushing, 194 receiving) and finished second in NFL with 28 kickoff return average. ... New England had second-best red-zone defense in AFC (34.3). ... Rookie K Stephen Gostkowski made 20 of 26 field goals during regular season and is 6-of-6 in two postseason games, including 31-yarder with 1:10 left to give Patriots win at San Diego. ... Including last week's win, Patriots are 8-1 on road. ... Indianapolis went 8-0 at home. ... Colts are second team in league history with four consecutive 12-win seasons (Dallas 1992-95). ... Indianapolis has allowed one TD in two playoff games, outscored opponents 38-14, intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles. ... Indianapolis, which allowed league-high 173 yards rushing per game, held Kansas City's Larry Johnson to 32 yards and Baltimore's Jamal Lewis to 53 yards. ... Kansas City and Baltimore were combined 3-of-22 on third-down conversions. ... Indianapolis held Patriots to 349 yards and intercepted Brady four times on Nov. 5. ... Colts led AFC in total offense (379.4) and led NFL in third-down conversions (56.1 percent, 105 of 187). ... QB Peyton Manning, AFC leader with 4,397 yards passing, is 5-6 in playoffs, 3-2 at home. Manning led NFL in passing (101.0) and TD passes (31). In five career games at home vs. Patriots, Manning has passed for 1,345 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs for a 99.8 passer rating. ... Colts had NFL's second-best offense in red zone (66.1).
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