NFC and AFC title games broken down by Venn diagrams

January 16

There are a lot of parallels between the facing teams in each conference title game. There’s Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning in the AFC championship — a battle of former Super Bowl winners in their mid-30s. Then there’s the NFC’s matchup of defensive-minded division rivals — each led by a young, up-and-coming mobile quarterback. But it’s not like these teams are mirror-images of each other. Here are Venn diagrams of Sunday’s two matchups to break down the teams’ similarities and differences.



NFC title game

49ers only

1. A tight end with double-digit TDs — Vernon Davis has 13

2. Two 2013 Pro Bowl inside linebackers — NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis

3. A QB skipped over in the draft once by every team in the league — Colin Kaepernick was a second-round pick (No. 36) in 2011

Seahawks only

1. A running back with double-digit TDs — Marshawn Lynch has 12

2. Two 2013 Pro Bowl safeties — Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor

3. A QB skipped over in the draft twice by every team in the league — Russell Wilson was a third-round pick (No. 75) in 2012

Both 49ers and Seahawks

1. Former Pac-10 coach — The 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh was at Stanford (2007-10). The Seahawks’ Pete Carroll was at USC (2001-09).

2. Top five defense in yards and points allowed — The Seahawks ranked 1st in both. The 49ers were 5th in yards and 3rd in points.

AFC title game

Patriots only

1. One of four teams to allow more than 2,100 yards rushing — They ranked 30th in run defense, giving up 134.1 rushing yards a game

2. Four rushers with more than 200 yards — Stevan Ridley (773), LeGarrette Blount (772), Brandon Bolden (271), Shane Vereen (208)

3. Committed less than 70 penalties — They had 69, the second-fewest in the NFL

Broncos only

1. One of six teams to allow more than 4,000 yards passing — They ranked 27th in pass defense, giving up 254.4 yards a game

2. Four receivers with more than 700 yards — Demaryius Thomas (1,430), Eric Decker (1,288), Julius Thomas (788), Wes Welker (778)

3. Committed more than 115 penalties — They had 117, the fourth-most in the NFL

Both Patriots and Broncos

1. A Super Bowl-winning QB — The Broncos’ Peyton Manning won one with the Colts. The Patriots’ Tom Brady is a three-time Super Bowl champ.

2. Player with 150 points or more scored this season — The only two players in the NFL with more than 150 points were kickers Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots, 158) and Matt Prater (Broncos, 150)

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Elliott Smith · January 16