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What To Look For: Divisional Playoffs Preview
(Photo: Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest)
Here's what to look for during this weekend's 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 20-4 (.833) in the Divisional Playoffs. In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled a 14-10 (.583) record.
Both No. 1 seeds are in action this weekend when the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks host the Carolina Panthers in the NFC and the No. 1-seed New England Patriots face the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC.
The No. 1 seeds in Divisional-round play since 1990:
|Season||AFC Top Seed||Div. Result||NFC Top Seed||Div. 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|
The top seeds -- NEW ENGLAND (12-4, AFC No. 1 seed), SEATTLE (12-4, NFC No. 1 seed), DENVER (12-4, AFC No. 2 seed) and GREEN BAY (12-4, NFC No. 2 seed) -- earned first-round byes and will be featured in this weekend's Divisional Playoffs.
Two of the four top seeds rank among the teams with the most first-round byes since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990. New England (10) has the most, while Denver (seven) has the fourth-most since 1990.
The teams with the most first-round byes since 1990:
|Source: NFL *Includes 2014|
|New England Patriots*||10|
|San Francisco 49ers||8|
This weekend, DALLAS (13-4, NFC No. 3 seed) will travel to take on GREEN BAY (12-4, NFC No. 2 seed).
With a victory against Green Bay, Dallas would advance to its 15th NFC Championship Game, which would tie PITTSBURGH (15) and SAN FRANCISCO (15) for the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970.
NEW ENGLAND is fourth on the all-time list and can move into a tie for third with a win against Baltimore on Saturday. This would be New England's fourth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
The teams with the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970:
|San Francisco 49ers||15|
|New England Patriots||10|
Strength vs Strength
This weekend, DALLAS (13-4, NFC No. 3 seed) will travel to take on GREEN BAY (12-4, NFC No. 2 seed). The matchup features the NFC East Champion Cowboys, who were 8-0 on the road this season, and the NFC North Champion Packers, who were a perfect 8-0 at home in 2014.
The game is just the third NFL playoff game featuring an undefeated road team at an undefeated home team, and the first with an 8-0 home team hosting an 8-0 road team.
The playoff games with an undefeated road team at an undefeated home team:
|Date||Home Team||Home Record||Road Team||Road Record|
|Dec 19, 1948||Philadelphia Eagles||6-0||Chicago Cardinals||6-0|
|Dec 31, 1972||Pittsburgh Steelers||7-0||Miami Dolphins||7-0|
|Jan 11, 2015||Green Bay Packers||8-0||Dallas Cowboys||8-0|
New England quarterback TOM BRADY has thrown 43 career postseason touchdown passes, the third most in NFL postseason history. He trails BRETT FAVRE (44) and Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (45) for the most in NFL history.
With three TD passes against Baltimore on Saturday, Brady would surpass Favre and Montana for the most postseason TD passes in NFL history.
The starting quarterbacks with the most postseason TD passes in NFL history:
|Source: NFL *Active|
Baltimore quarterback JOE FLACCO made his NFL-record tying 14th career postseason start in his first seven seasons -- tying an NFL record -- in a 30-17 win against Pittsburgh on Wild Card Weekend. Flacco completed 18 of 29 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.0 passer rating against the Steelers. Flacco has not thrown an interception in 166 consecutive attempts, the fourth-longest streak in NFL playoff history.
With 14 consecutive pass attempts without an interception on Saturday against New England, Flacco would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers STEVE YOUNG (173 attempts; 1994-96) and JOE MONTANA (179 attempts; 1989-91) for the second-longest such streak in NFL playoff history.
The players with the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in NFL playoff history:
|Quarterback||Team||Seasons||Attempts w/out INT|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2007-2012||226|
|Joe Montana||San Francisco||1989-1991||179|
|Steve Young||San Francisco||1994-1996||173|
Awesome Andrew Luck
Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK threw for 376 yards in a 26-10 victory over Cincinnati on Wild Card Weekend. Luck has now thrown for at least 300 yards in three consecutive playoff games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history.
With 300 passing yards on Sunday at Denver, Luck would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN FOUTS (four) for the most consecutive 300-yard playoff games in NFL history.
The players with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL playoff history:
*Current streak **Pro Football Hall of Famer
|Dan Fouts**||San Diego||1979-1981||4|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2010-2011||3|
Head Of The Coaching Class
New England Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK has compiled a 19-9 (.679) record in his postseason career. Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA for the second-most playoff wins in NFL history.
With a win against Baltimore on Saturday, Belichick would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer TOM LANDRY (20) for first place on the all-time postseason wins list.
The head coaches with the most playoff wins in NFL history:
|Source: NFL *Active|
|Tom Landry||Dallas Cowboys||20|
|Bill Belichick*||Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots||19|
|Don Shula||Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins||19|
|Joe Gibbs||Washington Redskins||17|
|Chuck Noll||Pittsburgh Steelers||16|
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