The wait is over: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are ready to take on Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks in the first game of the 2011 NFL Playoffs.
Later this evening, Rex Ryan's New York Jets will cruise into Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the Colts. Both games feature a number of interesting storylines, and both will be on national television on NBC.
The Saints are the heavy favorites even on the road in Seattle, as New Orleans finished the regular season 11-5 while the Seahawks backed into the postseason at 7-9. It should be no problem for New Orleans to dismantle their first opponents as they seek to defend their title as Super Bowl champions.
The other game is a good deal trickier to predict. New York is an obviously talented team, but occasionally lacks as much discipline on the field as it lacks off of it.
Meanwhile, Manning and the Colts have recovered from a shaky start that almost cost them their chance to play on into the winter, and now look highly formidable.
Still, with a lagging defensive unit and injuries that have decimated the offense, they are far from unbeatable. Read on for a breakdown of each of today's matchups, including five keys to victory in each.