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NFL Playoffs kick off this weekend

USBankstadium.com
The $1.129 billion U.S. Bank Stadium will host Super Bowl LII next month.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Minnesotans are excited that another Super Bowl is coming to their state. Not only because their beloved Vikings are in the playoffs, but because of the revenue the game will generate for the Twin Cities.

More than 1 million people are expected to visit the Twin Cities during 10 days of Super Bowl activities. The last time the Super Bowl was held in Minneapolis was 1992 at the Metrodome.

Last year’s Super Bowl generated $347 million to Houston, according to Rockport Analytics, a global market research, and insight firm. The Minneapolis Star reports a revenue of $338 million for the Twin Cities, citing Rockport’s estimate.

Super Bowl LII will be February 4 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. With a 13-3 record this year, the Vikings are seeded second in the NFC and will host a Divisional game next week after resting with a bye this weekend. Win that one and the NFC Championship, and the Vikes will sleep in their beds for the Super Bowl. No city has ever hosted a Super Bowl and had its team as a representative in the big game.

Although Philadelphia has an identical 13-3 record, the Eagles earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC due to the tiebreaker that put the Eagles at the top—one common opponent: the Carolina Panthers. The Eagles beat the Panthers, and the Vikes lost to Carolina. The Eagles will meet the lowest seed available after this weekend’s Wild Card matchups while Minnesota takes on the highest seed available.

No. 6 Atlanta (10-6) travels to Los Angeles to meet the No. 3 Rams (11-5) at 7:15 p.m. (NBC) Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams haven’t hosted a playoff game at the Coliseum since 1989 but the organization played in St. Louis from 1995-2015.

The Falcons are seeking their second straight Super Bowl after blowing a 25-point lead against New England in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to beat Atlanta, 34-28.

The Rams, champions of the NFC West Division, and Atlanta did not meet this year. If the Falcons win, they will meet the Eagles. If the Rams win, they’ll meet the Vikes. L.A. and Atlanta have met only once in the playoffs, and the Falcons won the 2004 Divisional Playoff, 47-17, which was the last time the Rams have been to the playoffs.

The other NFC matchup pits No. 5 Carolina (11-5) at No. 4 New Orleans (11-5) at 3:40 on Sunday (FOX). Both teams reside in the same division (NFC South) with Atlanta. The Saints twice beat the Panthers this year to win the division—34-13 at Charlotte and 31-21 in New Orleans.

The Rams lead the overall series 47-29-2, but Atlanta has won the last four and six of the previous seven meetings.

The Panthers missed the playoffs last year after going all the way to the Super Bowl two years ago (a loss to Denver). The Saints haven’t been to the postseason since 2013. The Saints are looking for their second Super Bowl appearance and title (2009).

Carolina leads the overall series, 24-22, but lost two straight, which came this year.

The AFC Wild Card round begins Saturday (3:35 p.m. on ABC) when No. 4 Kansas City (10-6) hosts No. 5 Tennessee (9-7).

The Chiefs has a weird season to capture the AFC West crown. They began the season 5-0 then lost six of their next seven games before going on a four-game winning streak to end the regular season. The Titans lost three of their last four regular-season games but still clinched the fifth playoff seed with a season-ending victory over Jacksonville. Tennessee finished second to the Jaguars in the AFC South.

KC leads the overall series 27-22 including when the Titans were the Houston Oilers from 1960-1996, and the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans from 1960-1962. Both teams have met only twice in the postseason. The Texans beat the Oilers in the 1962 AFL Championship, and the Chiefs beat the Oilers in the 1993 AFC Divisional Playoff.

The Chiefs made it to the postseason last year (a Divisional Round loss to Pittsburgh), but the Titans last reached the playoffs in 2008.

No. 3 Jacksonville hosts No. 6 Buffalo at noon Sunday (CBS). The Jaguars, AFC South Champs, haven’t been to the playoffs in 10 years, but the Bills have suffered longer with an 18-year postseason drought. The last time Buffalo was in the playoffs (Jan. 8, 2000) Bill Clinton was still president.

The Bills won three of their last four regular-season games this year and four of the last six to get into the postseason as the second-place team in the AFC East. The Jags lost their final two games of the regular season, but after clinching the AFC South.

Buffalo holds an 8-7 lead in the series, but the Jags won the only playoff meeting (30-27 in 1996 Wild Card Playoff.

No. 1 New England (1303) and No. 2 Pittsburgh (13-3) have the weekend off. They’ll watch in anticipation who they’ll play in another week. The Pats earned the top seed as they defeated the Steelers three weeks ago in the Steel City.

According to VegasInsider, New England is a 2-1 favorite to reach its 10th Super Bowl and the Vikings as a 9-2 favorite to be the Pats opponent.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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