What To Look For: Divisional Playoffs


STANDING IN THE NO. 1 SPOT:  Since the NFL moved to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, No.1 seeds in the NFC are 17-2 (.895) in the Divisional Playoffs.  However, the NFC top seed has lost in the Divisional round in each of the past two seasons.

In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled an 11-8 (.579) record in the Divisional round. 

Both the No. 1 seeds are in action on Saturday when the top-seeded New Orleans Saints host the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC and the No. 1-seed Indianapolis Colts face the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC.

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

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 New York 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 New York Giants Lost to Philadelphia 23-11
2009 Indianapolis ??? New Orleans ???


-- NFL --

BIG GAME SUCCESS:  The Dallas Cowboys have won 33 postseason games, the most in NFL history.  With a victory against Minnesota in the Divisional Playoffs on Sunday, Dallas would advance to its 15th NFC Championship Game, surpassing the Pittsburgh Steelers (14) for the most appearances in a Conference Championship Game since 1970.

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

Dallas Cowboys 14
Pittsburgh Steelers 14
San Francisco 49ers 12
L.A./Oakland Raiders 11
L.A./St. Louis Rams 9


-- NFL --

ROAD TESTED:  This Saturday marks the 13th playoff game in Ravens’ history and the club’s ninth on the road.  Baltimore holds a 6-2 playoff record away from home, which stands as the top road winning percentage (.750) in NFL playoff history (minimum five games).  Baltimore looks to improve the mark against Indianapolis in the Divisional round. 

The best road winning percentage in playoff history (minimum five games):

Baltimore 6-2 .750
Carolina 4-2 .667
New England 7-9 .438
Pittsburgh 7-9 .438
Dallas 9-13 .409


-- NFL --

SIMPLY FAVRE-ULOUS:  Minnesota quarterback BRETT FAVRE ranks second in NFL playoff history in completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes.  Favre needs 23 completions, 14 passing attempts, 462 passing yards and seven touchdowns to set postseason records in each passing category.

The top five quarterbacks in playoff completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes:

Joe Montana 460   Joe Montana 734
Brett Favre* 438   Brett Favre* 721
Tom Brady* 395   Dan Marino 687
Dan Marino 385   John Elway 651
John Elway 355   Tom Brady* 637

                      *Active          *Active

Joe Montana 5,772   Joe Montana 45
Brett Favre* 5,311   Brett Favre* 39
John Elway 4,964   Dan Marino 32
Dan Marino 4,510   Kurt Warner* 31
Peyton Manning* 4,208   Terry Bradshaw 30

                    *Active         *Active

-- NFL --

WARNER IN RANGE OF 4,000:  Arizona Cardinals quarterback KURT WARNER has 3,747 passing yards in 12 career postseason games.  With 253 passing yards against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, Warner will reach 4,000 passing yards in 13 career playoff games, making him the fastest player in NFL history to reach the milestone. 

The quarterbacks to reach 4,000 postseason passing yards in the fewest games:

Peyton Manning 15
Dan Marino 16
Brett Favre 17
Joe Montana 17
Tom Brady 18
John Elway 18
Kurt Warner 12*

                        *Warner currently has 3,747 postseason passing yards in 12 games.

With a 100+ passer rating against New Orleans on Saturday, Warner (3) can tie Pro Football Hall of Famers BART STARR and TROY AIKMAN (4) for the second-most consecutive playoff games with a 100+ passer rating in NFL history.  Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA holds the record with eight straight playoff games with a 100+ passer rating. 

The most consecutive postseason games with 100+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts each game):

Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers 1/1/89 – 1/20/91 8
Bart Starr Green Bay Packers 1/1/67 – 12/31/67 4
Troy Aikman Dallas Cowboys 1/10/93 – 1/16/94 4
Kurt Warner Arizona Cardinals 1/18/09 – present 3*


-- NFL --

FROM EAST TO WEST:  New York Jets rookie head coach REX RYAN and his rookie quarterback MARK SANCHEZ can reach two milestones when they play at San Diego on Sunday.

With a victory, Sanchez will join Ravens quarterback JOE FLACCO as only the second rookie quarterback all-time to win his first two playoff games.  Ryan can become only the sixth rookie head coach to win his first two postseason games in the Super Bowl era.

The rookie head coaches to win at least their first two playoff games:

1970 Don McCafferty Baltimore Colts 3
1989 George Seifert San Francisco 49ers 3
1977 Red Miller Denver Broncos 2
2002 Bill Callahan Oakland Raiders 2
2008 John Harbaugh Baltimore Ravens 2
2009 Rex Ryan New York Jets 1


-- NFL --

THE RACE TO 300:  Indianapolis Colts MVP quarterback PEYTON MANNING and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner have six career 300-yard postseason passing games, tied for the most in NFL playoff history with Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA

The players with the most career 300-yard passing games in the playoffs:

Peyton Manning* Colts 15 6
Kurt Warner* Rams, Cardinals 12 6
Joe Montana 49ers, Chiefs 23 6
Dan Fouts Chargers 7 5
Four Tied -- -- 4


-- NFL --

MR. POSTSEASON:  Arizona Cardinals wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD has nine touchdown catches in five career playoff games.  With a touchdown reception against the Saints on Saturday, Fitzgerald would become the sixth player in playoff history to reach 10 touchdown catches.  Fitzgerald (9) can also tie Pro Football Hall of Famer FRED BILETNIKOFF and ANTONIO FREEMAN and RANDY MOSS (10) for the third-most career postseason touchdown catches in NFL history.

The players with at least 10 postseason touchdown receptions and the number of games played to reach the mark:

Jerry Rice 9
Randy Moss 11
Antonio Freeman 12
Fred Biletnikoff 15
John Stallworth 16

*Fitzgerald has 9 TD receptions in 5 career playoff games.

-- NFL --

VERSATILE CHARGERSan Diego Chargers running back-kick-returner DARREN SPROLES has 949 total yards in five career playoff games.  With 51 all-purpose yards against the Jets on Sunday, Sproles will reach 1,000 all-purpose yards in six career postseason games and would become the fastest to the mark in NFL playoff history.

The fewest postseason games to reach 1,000 all-purpose yards:

Marcus Allen 7
Terrell Davis 7
Thurman Thomas 8
Emmitt Smith 8
Many tied 9

                  *Sproles has 949 all-purpose yards in five career playoff games.

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The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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