NFL playoffs: Wild-card previews

Associated Press
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has thrown for 873 yards with nine TDs in three career playoffs games.

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Kansas City at Houston

Kickoff: 4:35 Saturday, NRG Stadium, Houston

TV: ABC

Records: Kansas City 11-5, Houston 9-7

Line: Kansas City by 3

Series: Chiefs lead 4-3 (Last: Sept. 13, 2015 — Kansas City 27, (at) Houston 20)

Chiefs stats and notes 

... Chiefs look for first playoff win since 1994. They have won franchise-record 10 straight games, longest current streak in NFL.

… QB Alex Smith has thrown for 873 yards with nine TDs and no INTs in three career playoff games. Smith is 3-0 against Texans as starter.

… Rookie CB Marcus Peters tied for first in NFL with eight INTs and had two interception returns for TDs. Peters led NFL with franchise-record 280 interception return yards.

… LB Justin Houston has 22½ sacks, four forced fumbles and two INTs in his last 21 games. He is expected to return after missing last five games with knee injury.

… LB Tamba Hali had 6½ sacks to give him 86 in career, ranking second in franchise history.

Texans stats and notes

… Houston won AFC South for third time and first since 2012.

… Saturday will be third playoff appearance in franchise history. Texans are 2-0 at home in postseason.

… QB Brian Hoyer (Michigan State), who threw for a career-high 19 TDs in 2015, will make playoff debut.

… DE J.J. Watt led NFL with 171/2 sacks.

… LB Whitney Mercilus had career-high 12 sacks to make Houston only team with two players with at least 12 sacks.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

TV: CBS

Records: Pittsburgh 10-6, Cincinnati 12-4

Line: Steelers by 3

Series: Steelers lead 57-35 (Last: Dec. 13, 2015 — Pittsburgh 33, (at) Cincinnati 20)

Steelers stats and notes

… Steelers’ 28 playoff appearances since merger in 1970 are most in league.

… Pittsburgh has played in 56 postseason games, trailing Dallas (60) for most in history.

… QB Ben Roethlisberger is 10-5 all-time in postseason.

… WR Antonio Brown has 136 catches for 1,834 yards and 10 TDs. He’s only player in NFL history with at least 125 catches, 1,800 yards receiving and 10 TD catches.

Bengals stats and notes

… Bengals haven’t won playoff game since 1990 season, sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. Bengals have lost opening-round game in four straight seasons, an NFL record.

… Bengals’ defense allowed club-record 279 points, fewest in AFC.

… QB AJ McCarron, who took over Dec. 13 when Andy Dalton broke his thumb, is trying to become first NFL QB to win a playoff game with three or fewer career starts since Gifford Nielsen led Oilers over Chargers in 1979 season.

Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson rushed for 125-plus yards in five games this season.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Seattle at Minnesota

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

TV: NBC

Records: Seattle 10-6, Minnesota 11-5

Line: Seahawks by 5

Series: Seahawks lead 9-5 (Last: Dec. 6, 2015 — (at) Minnesota 38, Seattle 7)

Seahawks stats and notes

… Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, one of seven Pro Bowl picks on team, led NFL with 110.1 passer rating. He’s first in league history with 4,000-plus yards passing, 500-plus yards rushing and 30-plus TDs passing in one season. Wilson’s career postseason average of 9.01 yards per pass attempt is best in NFL history.

… RB Marshawn Lynch, expected to return from abdominal injury that kept him out of last seven games, has met 100-yard rushing mark in six of 10 career playoff games.

… Seattle finished first in NFL in points allowed (17.3 per game) for fourth straight year.

Vikings stats and notes

… Vikings reached playoffs for first time since 2012 and won NFC North for first time since 2009.

… Vikings RB Adrian Peterson led league in rushing (1,485 yards) for third time in career. Peterson rushed for 125-plus yards in five games this year and has 30 in career, sixth most in league history.

… Vikings had fewest penalties (88) accepted against them in league.

Green Bay at Washington

Kickoff: 4:40 p.m. Sunday, FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

TV: FOX

Records: Green Bay 10-6, Washington 9-7

Line: Washington by 1

Series: Packers lead 19-14-1 (Last: Sept. 15, 2013 — (at) Green Bay 38, Washington 20)

Packers stats and notes 

... Packers are making seventh consecutive trip to playoffs, including appearance in last season’s conference championship game, and Super Bowl championship in 2011.

… Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is two-time NFL MVP and one-time Super Bowl MVP, but he’s struggled at times this season without top WR Jordy Nelson. Rodgers’ numbers: 31 TDs, 8 INTs, 3,821 yards, 60.7 completion percentage and 92.7 passer rating.

… Rodgers’ career passer rating of 104.1 is best in league history.

… Green Bay’s offensive line has had problems, allowing 47 sacks; only four clubs allowed more. Rodgers was sacked 13 times in Weeks 16 and 17.

Washington stats and notes

… Over last eight years, Washington has two NFC East titles and six last-place finishes, including going 4-12 last season, Jay Gruden’s first as NFL head coach. Washington hasn’t been to postseason since 2012, and hasn’t won playoff game since 2006.

… QB Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) got first chance as full-time starter this season and thrived — especially over closing stretch. He was NFC offensive player of month for December/January after leading league with 127.3 passer rating and compiling other impressive stats as Washington went 4-1: 73.5 completion percentage, 1,379 yards, 13 TDs, one INT. He also ran for pair of scores.

… Over last 10 games, Cousins had 23 TDs, three INTs. He led NFL passers with a 69.8 completion percentage all season and set franchise record with 4,166 yards passing.  In final seven home games, he had 15 TDs, zero INTs.

… LT Trent Williams was team’s only Pro Bowl selection.

… WR DeSean Jackson’s 21 career TDs of at least 60 yards — including playoffs — rank third in NFL history.

… Rookie LB Preston Smith has five sacks in last three games to finish season with eight.