Commentary

James Starks could be huge -- again

Atlanta's run defense is second-worst in the league since Week 10

Originally Published: January 13, 2011
By Aaron Schatz and Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
James StarksAP Photo/ Jim MahoneyJames Starks is coming off a career day against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Football Outsiders will analyze all postseason matchups on Thursdays through the Super Bowl.

The watchword for this weekend's playoff games is "rematch." Every one of this week's games is a rematch of a regular-season contest, and nearly all of them were close. Four of the games were decided by just a field goal. The exceptions were the two New York Jets-New England Patriots games; the Jets handled the Patriots easily in Week 2, and the Patriots returned the favor -- harshly -- in Week 13.

Much of our analysis is based on DVOA, which takes every single play during the season and compares it to the league average based on situation and opponent. DVOA and Football Outsiders' other advanced stats are explained here. Some of the statistics in this article come from the Football Outsiders game charting project, in which a group of volunteers watches every NFL game to track stats like play-action, blitzes, formations and defensive coverage. Please note that these numbers are incomplete, with roughly 14 games charted for each playoff team.

(6) Green Bay Packers (11-6) at (1) Atlanta Falcons (13-3)


For the full breakdown on all of the divisional weekend NFL games, including key players to watch, you need to be an Insider.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.