NFL Playoffs: What you need to know about the 2nd round

Yes, the NFL postseason without the Vikings sucks. But here's a look at what's on tap this week.
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The NFL's postseason continues to wind towards the Super Bowl. Eight teams remain alive for a trip to Houston and the Lombardi Trophy.

Here's a quick look at what you need to know about each of this week's playoff matchups:

Seattle (10-5-1) at Atlanta (11-5)

It's been the year of Matt Ryan. The Falcons quarterback appears to be on track to be the NFL's MVP after a dynamic season. Ryan threw for nearly 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns.

But quarterbacks are remembered for what they do in the postseason and Ryan is 1-4 in the playoffs over his career.

He has a lot weapons at his disposal. Julio Jones caught 17 touchdowns during the year, and went for 139 yards and a score against Seattle the first time around.

The bottom line, Seattle won the game 26-24.

This time around don't be surprised if Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks secondary has something to say about the high-flying Falcons' passing attack.

The game kicks off at 3:30 Saturday on FOX.

Houston (9-7) at New England (14-2)

The Super Bowl may be in Houston, but the Texans need to go through New England if they have any hope of playing another game at home this year.

And that doesn't look very promising. Houston lost their Week 3 matchup at New England 27-0 this year – that was without Tom Brady. Unfortunately for Houston, Brady is back, and doesn't seem to be taking anything for granted.

It doesn't get much better than the Patriots in the postseason. They haven't lost a home playoff game since 2012.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 Saturday night on CBS.

Pittsburgh (11-5) at Kansas City (12-4)

Travis Kelce is quickly becoming known as the Rob Gronkowski of the Heartland. Whether it's his skills on the football field or his reality show called Catching Kelse, he's quickly becoming one of the NFL's rising stars.

It's on the field that will matter on Sunday and Kelse is coming off the greatest regular season of his career with 85 catches for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns.

Pittsburgh will have to control him to have a chance in Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.

One way to do that might be by keeping him off the field and allowing Le'Veon Bell to control the game. Bell ran for 1,268 yards and had another 616 yards receiving.

Kickoff is set for noon Sunday on CBS.

Green Bay (10-6) at Dallas (13-3)

If you know one of those obnoxious Packer fans, they are probably feeling pretty confident as they head into Sunday afternoon's showdown in Dallas – and honestly they should be.

Green Bay has won seven straight and they completely dismantled the Giants (who beat the Cowboys twice during the season) last Sunday.

The biggest question for the Packers is how will they handle not having Jordy Nelson.

But don't expect Dallas to go down without a fight. Historically, the Cowboys are tough to beat at home in the playoffs and Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott won't bumble away scoring opportunities against the Packers like the Giants did last week.

If you like good football, this should be the game of the week.

Kickoff is at 3:40 Sunday afternoon on FOX.

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