Here is a look at Saturday’s two divisional round games of the NFL playoffs, including the broadcasting TV network for each contest. You can also livestream these games on the Yahoo Sports App.
All times are Eastern.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers, 4:35 p.m., NBC
There are a couple reasons the Vikings’ win at the New Orleans Saints was so shocking.
First, the Saints were 13-3 and very hard to beat at the Superdome. They looked like a Super Bowl favorite and didn’t even make it to the divisional round.
Also, playoff wins like that rarely happen for the Vikings.
Ask a Vikings fan about their postseason pain, but only if you have a few hours to listen. Minnesota is among the most tortured franchises in sports.
Wouldn’t it be something if the Vikings broke through all that history and made a run from the No. 6 seed in the NFC?
Of course, the Vikings have a long way to go before they can think about winning their first Super Bowl.
The 49ers had a phenomenal season. They can run the ball and play strong defense, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had plenty of big moments this season. San Francisco is no fluke.
But the Vikings belong, too. They were a very good team before stumbling late in the season, but perhaps not enough was made of Dalvin Cook’s absence. Cook’s injury hurt the Vikings’ offense, and he looked good in his return last week.
The Vikings aren’t a typical No. 6 seed. They’re 11-4 with Cook in the lineup this season. They’re a strong all-around team.
If the Vikings can go on the road and beat the Saints, they can beat anyone.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m., CBS
While it sounds crazy to say out loud, the Titans realized at some point last Saturday that they didn’t need more than 14 points to beat the New England Patriots.
Their game plan was heavy on Ryan Tannehill handing off to Derrick Henry. Tannehill had 72 yards passing and the Titans won, putting him on a strange list. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only 11 quarterbacks, with a minimum of 10 attempts, have thrown for less than 80 yards in a playoff win, according to Pro Football Reference.
That worked last week. Presumably the Titans are going to need a lot more from their quarterback on Saturday night as they face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Tannehill had a remarkable season for the Titans. But his track record and Saturday’s middling game will leave people wondering if he can do enough to lead another upset.
Tannehill didn’t play that poorly against the Patriots. He was 8-of-15 with one touchdown and one interception. He just wasn’t a big part of the game plan. And he didn’t do all that much on his opportunities, outside of a nice touchdown pass to Anthony Firkser.
This week, he and the offense must do more.
“We know we’re going against a talented offense and it’s probably going to take more points than we scored last week to win the game,” Tannehill said. “But every week you’re looking to score more than 14 points.”
It’s rare for a quarterback to break out at age 31. Tannehill doesn’t seem like a sure thing despite playing well over his 10 regular-season starts. He’ll have a chance to prove himself again on Saturday night, against a very tough Ravens defense. Baltimore allowed 3,315 passing yards and 15 passing touchdowns, the sixth- and second-fewest marks, respectively, in the NFL this season.
It’s also a game that could be worth a lot of money to Tannehill. He is set to be a free agent after the season. You’d imagine the price tag will rise if he has a great game in an upset win over the top-seeded Ravens.
Unlike last week, Tannehill will be instrumental in the Titans’ game plan. We’ll see if that’s a good thing or not.
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