One of the big motivators for a successful regular season in the NFL is so teams can not only make the playoffs, but that they can win enough games to maybe receive a first-round bye and/or get a home playoff game or two.
During last weekend’s NFL Wild Card games, three of the four home teams (Cincinnati, Green Bay and Philadelphia) lost. This continues a trend where away teams are winning more playoff games. From 1966-2012, home teams won .675 of playoff games. But if we break that down to what percentage of home teams won playoff games from 1966-1999, that winning percentage was .697. From 2000-2012, that home playoff winning percentage took a tumble to .631. Obviously the trend is working its way to more away teams winning NFL playoff contests.
The host Philadelphia Eagles lost 26-24 to the New Orleans Saints in their Wild Card contest. It was the eighth home playoff game the Eagles have lost since the start of the Super Bowl era, tying them with three other franchises for most home playoff losses since 1966. Here’s a look at the number of home playoff losses for each NFL franchise.
Home playoff losses from 1966-2013 (through first weekend of playoff games)
8: Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
7: Chicago, Miami, Minnesota
6: Indianapolis, San Diego
5: Cleveland, Green Bay, Kansas City, Oakland, St. Louis
4: Cincinnati, Denver, New England, New York Giants, Tennessee
3: Atlanta, New Orleans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay
2: Baltimore, Buffalo, Seattle, Washington
1: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville
0: Arizona, Houston
Looking at the games for this upcoming weekend, we see that the four teams hosting these games have had pretty good success as a home team in the playoffs. Carolina has a 2-1 record as a playoff game host; Denver is 13-4; New England is 14-4; and the Seattle Seahawks are 7-2. New Orleans, San Diego and San Francisco each proved they can win on the road in the playoffs as they were victorious last weekend as road teams; we’ll see if they can continue that this weekend. The lone home team to win last weekend, Indianapolis, last won a playoff game on the road on January 13, 2007.
Here’s a few more stats focusing on home playoff games:
* The Cincinnati Bengals have now lost three consecutive home playoff games. That, however, is not the longest current losing streak. The Kansas City Chiefs have lost four straight home playoff games.
* Seattle and New Orleans have the longest current home winning streaks in the playoffs. They have each won five straight as a home team in the playoffs. The Seahawks can break that tie with a win this weekend against the 49ers.
* The New England Patriots have the record for the most consecutive home playoff wins. From January 5, 1997 to January 20, 2008, the Patriots won 11 straight home playoff games, the longest home winning streak in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era.
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