What will the presence of Richard Sherman do to Atlanta's offense?
The NFL Divisional Round figures to give football fans another full slate of competitive football games.
The Patriots and Broncos enter the weekend as heavy favorites to advance to the AFC Championship, while the NFC appears to be wide open. But looking at individual players, there are some glaring matchup problems in this round of the postseason.
Let's take a look at five players that are sure to get destroyed by bad matchups in the divisional round.
Browner and Sherman match up well with Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Atlanta faces a tough task against the Seahawks' secondary this week. The 6' 4" Brandon Browner figures to shadow Julio Jones for most of the afternoon, leaving Richard Sherman on Roddy White.
Last season, Jones was targeted 10 times with Browner in coverage. He caught eight passes for 79 yards, but totaled 11 receptions for 127 on the afternoon. Richard Sherman played only four snaps in the entire game, and Roddy White caught six passes for 78 yards with Marcus Trufant primarily in coverage.
The Falcons will likely have some trouble finding White downfield with Sherman in coverage. Pro Football Focus ranked Sherman as the No. 1 cornerback in football throughout the regular season. It could be a long afternoon for Roddy White.
Harris has run away with the Packers' starting RB job, but he faces a tough test in the 49ers.
When the Packers hosted the 49ers in the season opener at Lambeau Field, their running game was almost nonexistent. Cedric Benson carried the ball just nine times for 18 yards.
But now, DuJuan Harris has emerged as the starter, giving the Packers at least some production on the ground. Harris has been effective as a runner, but also catching passes out of the backfield.
Despite the Packers' newfound-running game, Harris will likely have a quiet afternoon against Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and the stout San Francisco front seven. Justin Smith is expected to be back in the lineup, making the best defensive front in football even better.
Crabtree is averaging over 100 yards per game over his past five games. Is Tramon Williams up to the task?
Michael Crabtree is on fire. Over the past five games, he's averaging seven catches and 107.6 yards per game. Teams have been keying on Vernon Davis, making Crabtree the 49ers' No. 1 target in the passing game.
This week, he'll go up against Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. In Week 1, Crabtree had seven receptions for 76 yards on the afternoon, but only two catches came when Williams was in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.
If the Packers give Williams the opportunity to go one-on-one with Crabtree, he'll likely be quieter than he was in the season opener. And the way San Francisco's offense is playing right now, shutting down Crabtree would certainly tilt the playing field in Green Bay's favor.
Seattle's run defense should be abel to stop Michael Turner.
Turner hasn't eclipsed 100 yards rushing in a game since Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys. He's a good player near the goal line, but Jacquizz Rodgers has been more effective for this offense.
And unfortunately for the Falcons, Seattle's front seven was among the best in football in the regular season. Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is in the conversation to be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and he'll likely meet Turner in the hole on more than one occasion on Sunday.
If the Seahawks get out to a lead on Atlanta, the Falcons will likely be forced to spread the field, making Rodgers a more likely choice at running back instead of Turner. This just doesn't look like an appealing matchup for Michael Turner.
Joe Flacco has his work cut out for him against the Denver Broncos this week.
Joe Flacco has struggled against good defenses this year. In September, he looked like he may have been justified in wanting more money. But over the course of the season, any talk of Flacco being "elite" has gotten more and more comical.
This week, Flacco's Ravens face a stiff test against the Broncos defense.
Champ Bailey is playing at an extremely high level, and fellow cornerback Chris Harris has been one of the most pleasant surprises around the league. Flacco will have Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil in his face all day, making it difficult to push the ball downfield against a strong secondary.