NFL

NFL Divisional Playoff Notes

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR – DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

VIEW FROM THE TOP: Since the NFL moved to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, No. 1 seeds in the NFC are 22-4 (.846) in the Divisional Playoffs. In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled a 16-10 (.615) record.

Both No. 1 seeds are in action this weekend when the top-seeded DALLAS COWBOYS host the GREEN BAY PACKERS in the NFC and the No. 1-seed NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS face the HOUSTON TEXANS in the AFC.

The No. 1 seeds in Divisional-round play since 1990:

YEAR AFC NO. 1 SEED DIVISIONAL RESULT NFC NO. 1 SEED DIVISIONAL RESULT
1990 Buffalo Defeated Miami 44-34 San Francisco Defeated Washington 28-10
1991 Buffalo Defeated Kansas City 37-14 Washington Defeated Atlanta 24-7
1992 Pittsburgh Lost to Buffalo 24-3 San Francisco Defeated Washington 20-13
1993 Buffalo Defeated L.A. Raiders 29-23 Dallas Defeated Green Bay 27-17
1994 Pittsburgh Defeated Cleveland 29-9 San Francisco Defeated Chicago 44-15
1995 Kansas City Lost to Indianapolis 10-7 Dallas Defeated Philadelphia 30-11
1996 Denver Lost to Jacksonville 30-27 Green Bay Defeated San Francisco 35-14
1997 Kansas City Lost to Denver 14-10 San Francisco Defeated Minnesota 38-22
1998 Denver Defeated Miami 38-3 Minnesota Defeated Arizona 41-21
1999 Jacksonville Defeated Miami 62-7 St. Louis Defeated Minnesota 49-37
2000 Tennessee Lost to Baltimore 24-10 N.Y. Giants Defeated Philadelphia 20-10
2001 Pittsburgh Defeated Baltimore 27-10 St. Louis Defeated Green Bay 45-17
2002 Oakland Defeated N.Y. Jets 30-10 Philadelphia Defeated Atlanta 20-6
2003 New England Defeated Tennessee 17-14 Philadelphia Defeated Green Bay 20-17 (OT)
2004 Pittsburgh Defeated N.Y. Jets 20-17 (OT) Philadelphia Defeated Minnesota 27-14
2005 Indianapolis Lost to Pittsburgh 21-18 Seattle Defeated Washington 20-10
2006 San Diego Lost to New England 24-21 Chicago Defeated Seattle 27-24 (OT)
2007 New England Defeated Jacksonville 31-20 Dallas Lost to N.Y. Giants 21-17
2008 Tennessee Lost to Baltimore 13-10 N.Y. Giants Lost to Philadelphia 23-11
2009 Indianapolis Defeated Baltimore 20-3 New Orleans Defeated Arizona 45-14
2010 New England Lost to N.Y. Jets 28-21 Atlanta Lost to Green Bay 48-21
2011 New England Defeated Denver 45-10 Green Bay Lost to N.Y. Giants 37-20
2012 Denver Lost to Baltimore 38-35 (2OT) Atlanta Defeated Seattle 30-28
2013 Denver Defeated San Diego 24-17 Seattle Defeated New Orleans 23-15
2014 New England Defeated Baltimore 35-31 Seattle Defeated Carolina 31-17
2015 Denver Defeated Pittsburgh 23-16 Carolina Defeated Seattle 31-24
2016 New England ??? Dallas ???

— NFL —

WINNING WAYS: Four of the five winningest franchises in postseason history – the PITTSBURGH STEELERS, DALLAS COWBOYS, GREEN BAY PACKERS and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – are in action in the Divisional Playoffs.

The AFC’s No. 1 overall seed New England hosts Houston (8:15 PM ET, CBS) on Saturday night. On Sunday, Pittsburgh travels to Kansas City (1:05 PM ET, NBC) while Green Bay visits Dallas (4:40 PM ET, FOX).

The Steelers, who defeated Miami 30-12 in the Wild Card round, have 35 postseason wins, the most in NFL history. The Cowboys (34), Packers (33) and Patriots (29) rank second, third and fifth, respectively, in all-time postseason victories.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM WINS LOSSES WIN PCT SUPER BOWL WINS
Pittsburgh Steelers* 35 23 .603 6
Dallas Cowboys* 34 26 .567 5
Green Bay Packers* 33 21 .611 4
San Francisco 49ers 30 20 .600 5
New England Patriots* 29 19 .604 4
*Play this weekend

— NFL —

PATRIOT PRESENCE: The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS have made five consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship game, tying the 1973-77 Oakland Raiders for the longest streak of Conference Championship game appearances since the 1970 merger.

With a win against Houston on Saturday, the Patriots would become the first team since 1970 to advance to six consecutive Conference Championship games.

The teams with the most consecutive Conference Championship game appearances since 1970:

TEAM SEASONS CONSECUTIVE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCES
New England Patriots 2011-15 5*
Oakland Raiders 1973-77 5
Philadelphia Eagles 2001-04 4
Dallas Cowboys 1992-95 4
Buffalo Bills 1990-93 4
Dallas Cowboys 1970-73 4
*Active streak

— NFL —

BOOMING BROWN: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN had five receptions for 124 yards, including touchdown catches of 50 and 62 yards in the first quarter of the Steelers’ 30-12 win over Miami in the Wild Card round. Brown became the first player in postseason history with two touchdown receptions of at least 50 yards in the first quarter of a game.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday at Kansas City, Brown, who has at least 100 receiving yards in each of his past three playoff games, will join LARRY FITZGERALD (four) as the only players in postseason history to record four consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards.

The most consecutive postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards:

PLAYER SEASON(S) TEAM CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS
Larry Fitzgerald 2008 Arizona Cardinals 4
Antonio Brown 2014-16 Pittsburgh Steelers 3*
T.Y. Hilton 2013-14 Indianapolis Colts 3
Randy Moss 1999-00 Minnesota Vikings 3
Jerry Rice^ 1988-89 San Francisco 49ers 3
Tom Fears^ 1950-51 Los Angeles Rams 3
*Active streak

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— NFL —

REMARKABLE RUSHERS: Pittsburgh running back LE’VEON BELL had a franchise postseason-record 167 rushing yardswith two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 30-12 win against Miami in the Wild Card round, while Seattle running back THOMAS RAWLS rushed for 161 yards – the highest single-game rushing total in team postseason history – and one touchdown in the Seahawks’ 26-6 win over Detroit last week.

Only five different running backs in playoff history have recorded 300 rushing yards over a two-game span in a single postseason.

The players with at least 300 rushing yards over a two-game span in a single postseason:

PLAYER SEASON TEAM RUSHING YARDS OVER 2-GAME SPAN
Terrell Davis 1998 Denver Broncos 366
Marcus Allen^ 1983 Los Angeles Raiders 345
John Riggins^ 1982 Washington Redskins 325
Natrone Means 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars 315
John Riggins^ 1982 Washington Redskins 306
John Riggins^ 1982 Washington Redskins 304
Freeman McNeil 1982 New York Jets 303
Le’Veon Bell 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers 167*
Thomas Rawls 2016 Seattle Seahawks 161*
*Through Wild Card round
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— NFL —

HAVE MERCILUS: Houston linebacker WHITNEY MERCILUS recorded two sacks in the Texans’ 27-14 Wild Card win over Oakland.

With two sacks against New England on Saturday, Mercilus, who has five sacks in his past two postseason games, would have the most sacks over any three-game span in postseason history.

The players with the most sacks over any three-game span in postseason history:

PLAYER SEASON(S)  TEAM SACKS OVER 3-GAME SPAN
Richard Dent^ 1984-85  Chicago Bears 6.5
LaMarr Woodley 2008  Pittsburgh Steelers 6.0
LaMarr Woodley 2007-08  Pittsburgh Steelers 6.0
Kevin Greene^ 1988-89  Los Angeles Rams 6.0
Richard Dent^ 1985  Chicago Bears 6.0
Whitney Mercilus 2015-16  Houston Texans 5.0*
*In past two postseason games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— NFL —

THREE FOR THREE: Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN ranked second in the NFL with 38 passing touchdowns during the 2016 season, including seven games with at least three touchdown passes.

With three touchdown passes against Seattle on Saturday, Ryan, who has thrown for three touchdowns in each of his past two playoff games, would become the sixth quarterback in postseason history with at least three touchdown passes in three consecutive games.

The most consecutive postseason games with at least three touchdown passes:

PLAYER SEASON(S) TEAM CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Tom Brady 2014 New England Patriots 3
Joe Flacco 2012 Baltimore Ravens 3
Aaron Rodgers 2009-10 Green Bay Packers 3
Kurt Warner 2008-09 Arizona Cardinals 3
Bernie Kosar 1987, 1989 Cleveland Browns 3
Matt Ryan 2012 Atlanta Falcons 2*
*Active streak

— NFL —

SAFE KEEPING: Kansas City quarterback ALEX SMITH has thrown for 1,309 yards with 11 touchdown passes and one interception in 186 postseason passing attempts.

Smith’s 0.5 interception percentage is the lowest by a quarterback in postseason history (minimum 150 attempts). Dallas’ TONY ROMO (1.1) and Green Bay’s AARON RODGERS (1.6) rank second and fifth, respectively, in career interception percentage in NFL postseason history.

The lowest interception percentages in postseason history (minimum 150 attempts):

 

PLAYER TEAM(S) INTERCEPTION PERCENTAGE
Alex Smith* San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs 0.5
Tony Romo* Dallas Cowboys 1.1
Drew Brees San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints 1.3
Bart Starr Green Bay Packers 1.4
Aaron Rodgers* Green Bay Packers 1.6
*In 2016 postseason

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.