We will be treated to an array of quarterbacking play today – the present, the future and the past. The Houston-Kansas City game represents the future with Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, already stars and sending a message they will dominate for years. The late game features the present – Seattle's Russell Wilson – and the past – Aaron Rodgers. Both of these QBs have won Super Bowls and have shown staying power.
On to the final two divisional games ...
Houston at Kansas City
Time: 3:05 p.m. today (CBS)
Records: Texans (11-6); Chiefs (12-4)
The skinny: Houston looked like it was going to put up another playoff turkey, trailing Buffalo 16-0 before rallying in the second half behind Watson. The Texans are inconsistent and unpredictable. They won at Arrowhead earlier this season, so they can do it, but this is another level of intensity. The Chiefs are out to get over last year's AFC championship home loss to New England by getting there again, and Houston presents little more than a speed bump. However, late word Friday was that tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones could be out today with injuries. That might tighten up the final score, but Kansas City has enough weapons on offense and Mahomes is rounding into form after his knee injury earlier this season.
Prediction: Chiefs 35-24
Seattle at Green Bay
Time: 6:40 p.m. today (Fox)
Records: Seahawks (12-5); Packers (13-3)
The skinny: This a great duel of top-flight, clutch quarterbacks. Wilson and Rodgers will battle this one to the end. Their abilities to extend plays and their will to succeed ensures this will game will be a classic. This marks the sixth consecutive season these teams have played each other either in regular and/or postseason, with each team winning three times at home. The Seahawks have lost their last eight games at Lambeau Field, including twice in the playoffs. Seattle has Marshawn Lynch back at running back, and he adds a toughness to the running attack. Rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf set a rookie postseason record with 160 receiving yards against the Eagles. Green Bay has running back Aaron Jones, he of the 1,084 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Weather could favor the Packers, as the forecast calls for temperatures in the low 20s, and a potential winter storm could bring gusty winds and up to 10 inches of snow. All the better.
Prediction: Packers 23-21
Season: 150-105-1; Last week: 2-2
– Mark Jaworski, The Journal Gazette