- The 2011 playoff field features six teams – Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants and San Francisco – that did not make the postseason last year.
- The 2011 postseason starts on Saturday when the Bengals visit the Texans. The game can be the first postseason game in the Super Bowl era in which two rookie quarterbacks – Cincinnati’s ANDY DALTON and Houston’s T.J. YATES – start against each other.
- The Bengals, led by head coach MARVIN LEWIS, have qualified for the postseason twice in the past three seasons. Quarterback Dalton (3,398 yards), a native of Katy, Texas, and wide receiver A.J. GREEN (1,057) teamed to become the first rookie tandem in NFL history with a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard receiver.
- The Texans qualified for the postseason for the first time in franchise history and claimed the team’s first division title. Houston boasted one of the league’s top defenses, ranking second in total defense (285.7 yards per game), third in pass defense (189.7) and fourth in rush defense (96.0). The Texans and Baltimore Ravens were the only teams to rank in the top five in all three categories.
- For the first time in NFL history, a playoff game will feature two 5,000-yard passers – New Orleans’ DREW BREES (NFL-record 5,476) and Detroit’s MATTHEW STAFFORD (5,038). The duo’s combined passing yardage total of 10,514 yards is the most ever for opposing starting QBs in a playoff game, and will surpass the mark of 8,888 set by PEYTON MANNING (4,500) and Brees (4,388) in Super Bowl XLIV.
- Detroit is back in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Lions scored a team-record 474 points and gained 6,337 total net yards, the most in franchise history. Stafford set multiple team passing records, including yards (5,038), touchdowns (41) and passer rating (97.2). Detroit wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON, who was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, led the NFL with 1,681 receiving yards and had a team-record 16 touchdown receptions. Johnson is the first Lion since Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (1991) to score 15 TDs in a season.
From the NFL release