Smart NFL fans held off buying tickets to three of the four NFL playoff games . That's because prices for these games this weekend have dropped markedly.
On TicketIQ, a search engine that pools tickets and data from over 90% of the resale market, prices have dropped steadily in Arlington, Tex., Foxboro, Mass. and Kansas City since the beginning of the week. The Atlanta Falcons-Seattle Seahawks game in Atlanta is the only matchup since Monday for which prices have risen, but the increase there has been small.
The Green Bay Packers play the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington and the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Kansas City Chiefs this Saturday. On Sunday, the Houston Texans play at Foxboro against the New England Patriots and Seattle plays Atlanta.
Consider how the prices for NFL playoff tickets in the divisional round stack up below, according to data provided by TicketIQ:
Texans at Patriots
Average Ticket Price: $417
Weekly Trend: Down 11% '
The Patriots begin their quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl. It would be the Patriots fifth title, all under Coach Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady at quarterback. New England posted the league's best record at 14-2. Tickets are an average $417, down 11% from Monday's $466 average. The cheapest tickets are listed at $165.
Saturday's game will be the Patriots' fifth most expensive home playoff game this decade. It falls slightly below the infamous 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Colts, where tickets averaged a record $591 and the get-in price started from $240. New England smashed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in that game and went on to defeat Seattle in the Super Bowl two weeks later.
Seahawks at Falcons
Average Price: $331
Weekly Trend: Up 3%
A battle of the birds will commence in Atlanta on Saturday when the Falcons host the Seahawks at the Georgia Dome. Interestingly, it is the only game that has experienced a jump, albeit slight, in average ticket price since Monday. Falcons vs. Seahawks tickets currently average $331, up 3% from the beginning of the week, and start at $143.
Perhaps the slight tick up in price is due to the possibility of Saturday's game being the final NFL game played at the Georgia Dome. The Dome will officially close next month to be replaced as the Falcon's home field by the new, state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium beginning next season. The Falcons feature the league's most potent pass offense. Seattle's defense crafted by maestro coach Pete Carroll is formidable and includes outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman.
Packers at Cowboys
Average Price: $759
Weekly Trend: Down 8%
The Cowboys' divisional matchup with the Packers was drawing record prices at the beginning of the week, but they have dropped over the last three days. Cowboys vs. Packers tickets now own a $759 average, down 8% from Monday's $759 average. The cheapest seats are now listed from $258 each. Standing-room-only options can get fans past the gates at AT&T Stadium for $103 each.
Since TicketIQ began tracking ticket data in 2010, Sunday's game will be the most expensive Cowboys home game on record. It surpasses a Nov. 20, 2016 game against the Raven, for which tickets averaged $631 and the get-in price was $240.
The Cowboys were among the league's surprise stories. They lost their first game and starting quarterback Tony Romo shortly thereafter. But newcomer Dak Presscott, a lightly touted rookie led them to a 13-3 record, the best in the NFC. The Packers behind super quarterback Aaron Rodgers smashed the New York Giants 38-13 in a wildcard match-up last week.
Steelers at Chiefs
Average Price: $200
Weekly Trend: Down 26%
Experiencing the sharpest drop in price is the Chiefs-Steelers game. Average ticket prices have fallen more than 26% since Monday, dropping from $271 to $200 as of Thursday afternoon. The get-in price has tumbled from $111 at the beginning of the week to $52.
Over the last seven seasons, the Chiefs have played in four regular season games that were more expensive than this weekend's playoff bout with the Steelers. That includes a top-priced game against the Broncos on Sept. 17, 2015, where tickets owned a $230 average and $97 get-in price.
The Chiefs won the AFC West division with a 12-4 record. Pittsburgh arrives after beating the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in a wildcard contest last week.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.