What To Look For: Divisional Playoffs
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 21-4 (.840) in the Divisional Playoffs. In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled a 15-10 (.600) record.

Both No. 1 seeds are in action this weekend when the top-seeded CAROLINA PANTHERS host the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS in the NFC and the No. 1-seed DENVER BRONCOS face the PITTSBURGH STEELERS in the AFC.

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

Season AFC Top Seed Result NFC Top Seed Result
(Source: NFL)
1990BuffaloDefeated Miami 44-34San FranciscoDefeated Washington 28-10
1991BuffaloDefeated Kansas City 37-14WashingtonDefeated Atlanta 24-7
1992PittsburghLost to Buffalo 24-3San FranciscoDefeated Washington 20-13
1993BuffaloDefeated L.A. Raiders 29-23DallasDefeated Green Bay 27-17
1994PittsburghDefeated Cleveland 29-9San FranciscoDefeated Chicago 44-15
1995Kansas CityLost to Indianapolis 10-7DallasDefeated Philadelphia 30-11
1996DenverLost to Jacksonville 30-27Green BayDefeated San Francisco 35-14
1997Kansas CityLost to Denver 14-10San FranciscoDefeated Minnesota 38-22
1998DenverDefeated Miami 38-3MinnesotaDefeated Arizona 41-21
1999JacksonvilleDefeated Miami 62-7St. LouisDefeated Minnesota 49-37
2000TennesseeLost to Baltimore 24-10N.Y. GiantsDefeated Philadelphia 20-10
2001PittsburghDefeated Baltimore 27-10St. LouisDefeated Green Bay 45-17
2002OaklandDefeated N.Y. Jets 30-10PhiladelphiaDefeated Atlanta 20-6
2003New EnglandDefeated Tennessee 17-14PhiladelphiaDefeated Green Bay 20-17 (OT)
2004PittsburghDefeated N.Y. Jets 20-17 (OT)PhiladelphiaDefeated Minnesota 27-14
2005IndianapolisLost to Pittsburgh 21-18SeattleDefeated Washington 20-10
2006San DiegoLost to New England 24-21ChicagoDefeated Seattle 27-24 (OT)
2007New EnglandDefeated Jacksonville 31-20DallasLost to N.Y. Giants 21-17
2008TennesseeLost to Baltimore 13-10N.Y. GiantsLost to Philadelphia 23-11
2009IndianapolisDefeated Baltimore 20-3New OrleansDefeated Arizona 45-14
2010New EnglandLost to N.Y. Jets 28-21Atlanta Lost to Green Bay 48-21
2011New EnglandDefeated Denver 45-10Green BayLost to N.Y. Giants 37-20
2012DenverLost to Baltimore 38-35 (2OT)AtlantaDefeated Seattle 30-28
2013DenverDefeated San Diego 24-17SeattleDefeated New Orleans 23-15
2014New EnglandDefeated Baltimore 35-31SeattleDefeated Carolina 31-17


First-Round Byes

The top seeds -- CAROLINA (15-1, NFC No. 1 seed), DENVER (12-4, AFC No. 1 seed), ARIZONA (13-3, NFC No. 2 seed) and NEW ENGLAND (12-4, AFC 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 (11) has the most, while Denver (eight) is tied for the second-most since 1990.

The teams with the most first-round byes since 1990:

Team Byes
(Source: NFL) *Includes 2015
New England Patriots*11
Denver Broncos*8
Pittsburgh Steelers8
San Francisco 49ers8
Dallas Cowboys5
Green Bay Packers5


Championship Goal

This weekend, PITTSBURGH (11-6, AFC No. 6 seed) travels to take on DENVER (12-4, AFC No. 1 seed).

With a victory against Denver, Pittsburgh would advance to its 16th AFC Championship Game, which would eclipse SAN FRANCISCO (15) for the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970.

NEW ENGLAND is tied for fourth on the all-time list and with a win against Kansas City on Saturday the Patriots would clinch their fifth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship Game.

The NFL teams with the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970:

Team Appearances
(Source: NFL)
Pittsburgh Steelers15
San Francisco 49ers15
Dallas Cowboys14
L.A./Oakland Raiders11
New England Patriots11


Playoff Success

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS have 34 postseason victories, tied for the most all-time.

With a win Sunday against Denver, the Steelers would eclipse the Dallas Cowboys (34) for the most all-time postseason wins.

The NFL teams with the most playoff victories in NFL history:

Team Playoff Wins
(Source: NFL) *Active in 2015 postseason
Dallas Cowboys34
Pittsburgh Steelers*34
Green Bay Packers*32
San Francisco 49ers30
New England Patriots*28


On the Road Again

The GREEN BAY PACKERS travel this weekend to face Arizona. The Packers (11) have the most road wins in postseason history.

With a win this Saturday against the Cardinals, the Packers can extend their record for the most postseason wins on the road in NFL history.

The teams with the most road wins in postseason history:

Team Playoff Road Wins
(Source: NFL) *On the road in Divisional Round
Green Bay Packers*11
Baltimore Ravens10
Dallas Cowboys9
Indianapolis Colts8
New York Giants8
Tennessee Titans8


Terrific Tight Ends

Denver tight end VERNON DAVIS has seven career postseason touchdown receptions, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DAVE CASPER for the most by a tight end in postseason history.

With a touchdown catch on Sunday against Pittsburgh, Davis would eclipse Casper for the most postseason touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.

New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI (six), who is tied with KEITH JACKSON (six) and JAY NOVACEK (six) for the third-most touchdown receptions by a tight end in postseason history, can also climb the ranks on Saturday against Kansas City.

The tight ends with the most postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history:

Tight End TD Catches
(Source: NFL) *Active in 2015 postseason
Dave Casper7
Vernon Davis*7
Rob Gronkowski*6
Keith Jackson6
Jay Novacek6


Catching On

Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD has nine touchdowns receptions in his postseason career.

With a touchdown catch against Green Bay on Saturday, Fitzgerald would become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 10 postseason touchdown receptions and move into a tie for the third-most all-time.

The NFL players with the most postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history:

Player TD Catches
(Source: NFL) *Active in 2015 postseason
Jerry Rice22
John Stallworth12
Fred Biletnikoff10
Antonio Freeman10
Randy Moss10
Hines Ward10
Larry Fitzgerald*9


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