Two teams took the first step toward the Super Bowl on Saturday. With Houston and Seattle moving on, two more games will set up the NFL’s Elite 8. Here are Sunday’s matchups.
Miami (10-6) at Pittsburgh (11-5), Sunday at 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
Miami is making its first playoff appearance since 2008 and is looking for its first postseason win since the wild-card round in 2000. Quarterback Matt Moore will make his first postseason start for the Dolphins with Ryan Tannehill out because of an injury.
With the game-time forecast of around 20 degrees, the Dolphins put footballs used by the team’s place-kicker and punter in a freezer before practice to simulate conditions for Sunday’s game.
Miami beat Pittsburgh 30-15 in October as Jay Ajayi ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
“One of those weird days in football,” Steelers guard David DeCastro said of his team’s struggles in that game. “Sometimes you’re going to have one of those weeks.”
Ajayi is one of four players in NFL history with three games of at least 200 rushing yards in a single season.
The Steelers are 34-23 in the postseason, tied with Dallas (34) for the most total playoff wins all time.
The Steelers’ offense led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown will be in the lineup for the first time in a playoff game.
New York Giants (11-5) at Green Bay (10-6), Sunday at 4:40 p.m. (Fox)
The teams have a rich playoff history going against each other. The Packers have a 4-3 edge in playoff games. The Giants won the first one and the NFL title in 1938, beating the Packers 23-17. The Packers won the next four games and NFL championships in 1939, ’44, 61 and ’62.
And the teams have met twice in the past decade in the postseason. Both games were at Lambeau Field and both times the Giants won en route to taking the Super Bowl after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Temperatures are forecast in the mid-to-low teens for this matchup.
The Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since that 2011 run under first-year head coach Ben McAdoo, who replaced Tom Coughlin. McAdoo was a Packers assistant under Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy from 2006-13.
McCarthy is the fourth coach in NFL history to lead a single franchise to eight straight playoff appearances, joining Tom Landry, Chuck Noll and Bill Belichick.
The Packers enter the postseason on a roll. Green Bay finished 6-0 in the regular season and clinched the NFC North title.
Aaron Rodgers led the way as he completed 71 percent of his passes with 15 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
“Inside the pocket he can shred you, he can make all the throws,” Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas said.
“To think that such a good passer, you would think they’d get him out of the pocket, damper him, or put some type of uneasiness about him – but no, he’s very comfortable outside the pocket.”