How many points will the Seahawks, 49ers, Patriots or Broncos need to score to win their championship game and a spot in this year’s Super Bowl? 20? 30? Can a team win the title with less than 20 points in the championship game?
Based on previous AFC and NFC championship games in the Super Bowl era, scoring 30 or more points in that contest is a pretty good indicator that victory will punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. Since 1966, teams that score 30 or more points in a championship game are 34-2 (.944 winning percentage). The two losses were:
1987: Cleveland lost to Denver 38-33 in the AFC Championship Game
2006: New England lost to Indianapolis 38-34 in the AFC Championship Game
Teams that scored 20 or more points in the AFC and NFC championship games in the Super Bowl era are 79-24 (.767) while teams that scored under 20 points were only 15-70 (a .176 winning percentage). Only once has a team won a championship game since 1966 with less than 10 points… the L.A. Rams defeated the Tampa bay Bucs 9-0 in their 1979 NFC Championship Game battle.
Here’s a few more scoreboard stats to keep an eye on while you watch the games on Sunday (these stats reflect the 94 AFC and NFC championship games played in the Super Bowl era):
* The team with the lead after the first quarter won 57.4% of those games; the team ahead at halftime won 74.5% of the games; the team ahead after the third quarter won 90.4% of those championship games.
* There have been five overtime championship games since 1966. The home team has won only once.
* Teams that scored in every quarter of their championship game were 40-8.
* Teams that were scoreless at halftime were only 4-24 in those games. Teams that were scoreless after three quarters in championship games since 1966 are 0-16.
* Thirteen championship games were tied at halftime. Of those 13, the home team won only five games.
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Last year’s AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games included the Baltimore Ravens going to New England in a rematch of the 2011 AFC title game, and the Atlanta Falcons hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The Ravens, Patriots and 49ers were each in the conference title game the previous year.
Here are a few stats that you may find interesting about previous conference championship games.
(Note: The following stats reflect the NFC and AFC Conference Championship games that have been played since the 1970 merger of the NFL and AFL… 43 years, a total of 86 games.)
1. The home team has won 56 and lost 30 in conference championship games (a .651 winning percentage). In the last seven conference championship weekends, the home teams are 9-5. In the 43 seasons, there has been only three times where both the home teams lost: 1992, 1997 and last year. Both home teams (New England and Atlanta) were defeated in the conference title games last year.
2. In 29 of the 86 games (33.7%) the game was decided by eight points or less. Twelve of the 86 games were decided by three points or less; 15 of the 84 were decided by 20 points or more. In the last seven seasons, nine of the 14 conference championship games were decided by one score (eight points or less).
3. Teams that scored less than 20 points in a conference championship game since 1970 has won only 13 and lost 66 (a .165 winning percentage). Teams that scored 30 or more points have won 30 and lost only 2 (a .938 winning percentage). The only teams to score 30 or more points in a conference championship game since 1970 and lose? Cleveland in 1987 when they scored 33 in their loss to Denver; and in 2006 when the Patriots scored 34 in their loss to the Colts.
4. Teams that had the better regular season record have won the conference championship game 53 times and lost 22 (a .707 winning percentage). In 11 games the teams playing for the conference championship had the same regular season record.
5. Scoring more points in the playoff game the weekend prior to the conference championship is not a big factor in determining who will win the conference title game. The team that scored more points of the two conference championship game foes the previous week won 45 and lost 37 (in four cases the teams scored the exact number of points the previous week).
6. Winning the playoff game the weekend prior to the conference championship by a bigger margin than your conference championship game foe was a little bit more of a determining factor to who wins the conference championship game. The team that won the divisional playoff game by a bigger margin the week before won 54 times and lost 26 (a .675 winning percentage). In six cases the conference championship game teams won by the same margin the previous week.
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Will the San Francisco 49ers become the first Super Bowl loser since the 1993 Buffalo Bills to get back to the big game the following year, or will they fall short of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances?
In the 47-year history of the Super Bowl, there have been only seven times when the Super Bowl loser returned to the Super Bowl the following year. In fact, three of those seven times were from 1991-93 when the Bills made it to the Super Bowl in four consecutive seasons, losing each time in the championship game.
In addition to the seven repeaters in the Super Bowl, there were also four times when a Super Bowl loser made it to the conference championship game the following season. The last time this occurred was in 2012 when the 2011 New England Patriots lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl 46, then lost to the Baltimore Ravens last season in the AFC title game. In the other 22 cases, the Super Bowl loser made the playoffs the following season but were defeated in either the first or second round
Here’s a look at the 11 Super Bowl losers that made it to the Super Bowl or conference championship game the following season.
Returned to Super Bowl the season following their Super Bowl loss
1971: Dallas Cowboys (they won the Super Bowl that year after losing it the previous season)
1972: Miami Dolphins (they won the Super Bowl that year after losing it the previous season)
1974: Minnesota Vikings (lost in the Super Bowl that year as well)
1987: Denver Broncos (lost in the Super Bowl that year as well)
1991: Buffalo Bills (lost in the Super Bowl that year as well)
1992: Buffalo Bills (lost in the Super Bowl that year as well)
1993: Buffalo Bills (lost in the Super Bowl that year as well)
Lost in the conference championship game the season following their Super Bowl loss
1968: Oakland Raiders
1977: Minnesota Vikings
1985: Miami Dolphins
2012: New England Patriots
The 49ers finished this past regular season with a 12-4 record. They became the 36 Super Bowl loser to finish the following season above .500. Two Super Bowl losers finished right at .500 the year after their Super Bowl loss, while nine teams were under .500 the year after their Super Bowl defeat.
Of the 47 Super Bowl losers, 33 made the playoffs the next season while 14 missed qualifying for the post-season the following year.
Where will the 49ers finish? Can they become only the third team in league history to win the Super Bowl the year following a Super Bowl defeat? Or, might they follow the path taken by the New England Patriots and lose in the conference title game the year after a Super Bowl loss? Stay tuned!
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Two games will decide the teams that will play in this year’s Super Bowl… San Francisco vs. Seattle and New England vs. Denver. Here’s a snapshot of the two games including a look at the previous games played between the teams.
New England @ Denver
All-time series: Denver leads the series 27-20.
Last meeting: New England defeated the Broncos 34-31 on November 24 this season on the Patriots’ home field.
All-time playoff series: Denver has won two of the three post-games played between the two teams.
Last playoff meeting: New England defeated the Broncos 45-10 in a 2011 AFC Divisional playoff game.
Noteworthy: The Pats have won the last four meetings between the teams… The two teams have split the last 12 games in the rivalry… The Broncos are 4-3 at home against New England since 2000… The Patriots have scored 30 or more points in five of the last six games against Denver… Only two of the last nine games in this series were decided by seven points or less.
San Francisco @ Seattle
All-time series: The series is tied at 15 wins apiece.
Last meeting: San Francisco defeated the Seahawks 19-17 on December 8 this season on the 49ers home field.
All-time playoff series: This is the first post-season meeting between the two franchises.
Last playoff meeting: (See above)
Noteworthy: The 49ers have won five of the last seven games in the series… The Seahawks have won four of the last five games played at home against the 49ers… Seattle has score under 22 points in five of the last seven games versus San Francisco… The 49ers have scored under 20 points in each of the last five contests against Seattle… Only four of the last 11 games in this series were decided by 10 points or less.
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Here’s a look back at some of the numbers that helped define this past weekend’s NFL games won by the 49ers, Seahawks, Patriots and Broncos.
1. It should come as no surprise that the 49ers and Seahawks scored first in their games this past weekend. Seattle and San Francisco tied for the league lead this season by each scoring first in 12 games. The Seahawks were 10-2 in such games, the 49ers were 11-1.
2. The Saints and Chargers were both scoreless at halftime in their contests. In 98 games since 1966, only 15 teams won after being held scoreless in the first two quarters. The last win by a team having zero points at halftime of a playoff game was on January 8, 2011 when the Jets defeated the Colts, 17-16 after being scoreless in the first half. For the Saints, they had never been held scoreless in the first half in 15 previous playoff contests.
3. The Seattle Seahawks had only 102 yards passing in their win over New Orleans. Playoff teams with under 110 yards passing have won 48 and lost 51.
4. New England scored six rushing TDs in their victory over the Colts. It was only the second time in playoff history that a team had six rushing TDs. The other time… January 15, 1994 when the 49ers beat the New York Giants 44-3.
5. Carolina receiver Steve Smith scored his 10th career playoff TD against the 49ers. He is the active leader in career playoff TDs. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice holds the NFL record for most playoff touchdowns with 22.
6. The Panthers were held scoreless in the second half by the 49ers. In NFL playoff history, teams held without a point in the second half are only 11-112 (.089 winning percentage). The Panthers are now 5-35 (.125 winning percentage) when they are held scoreless in the second half of any game.
7. New Orleans placekicker Shayne Graham missed a pair of field goal attempts for the Saints in their loss to Seattle. Since 2000, teams are only 40-51 in the playoffs if their kicker misses one or more field goal attempts. Denver’s Matt Prater missed a field goal in their win over San Diego, while the Nick Novak missed a FG attempt for the losing Chargers.
8. Marshawn Lynch was a major factor for the Seahawks in their win. He had 28 rushing attempts in the game. The Seahawks are now 22-6 when Lynch has at least 20 or more rushing attempts in a game, and they are now 9-0 if he has 25 or more carries. In their history, Seattle is 67-10 in all games if they get one running back 25 or more carries in a game.
9. The Patriots scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns in their win over the Indy. Teams that have scored 14 or more points in the first quarter of a playoff games in the Super Bowl era are 64-15. Playoff teams that score 17 or more points in the first quarter are 16-0 since 1966. The Patriots have a 49-8 record in games where they score 14 or more points in the first quarter; they have now won 25 of their last 27 with 14-plus points in the initial 15 minutes.
10. Andrew Luck became the seventh QB in the Super Bowl era to throw seven or more interceptions in a playoff season (he had three versus the Chiefs and four against the Patriots). Jim Kelly had nine interceptions during the 1991 post-season; Richard Todd had eight in the 1982 playoffs. Other QBs with seven picks in a single post-season: Drew Bledose, 1996; Brett Favre, 2001; Ron Jaworski, 1980; and Peyton Manning, 2006.
11. San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick had a rushing TD in Sunday’s game. The 49ers are 9-1-1 in games when Kaepernick has a rushing TD. His only loss? Last year’s Super Bowl.
12. Pats receiver Wes Welker had a receiving TD in their win over Indy. Welker’s teams are 38-6 in games where he finds the end zone.
13. San Diego rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen had six catches for 142 yards with two TDs against the Broncos. He became the 13th rookie receiver to have a 100-yard receiving day in the post-season. His 142 yards ties him for the second-most receiving yards by a first-year player in the playoffs. He also became only the second rookie receiver to have two TD catches in a playoff contest. The other was Willie Green for Detroit on January 5, 1992.
14. Seattle’s 23-15 win over New Orleans was the first time that was the game-ending score for an NFL playoff game. It was the ninth time the 23-15 score ended an NFL game.
15. Both San Diego and New Orleans were scoreless after three quarters of play. Playoff teams are 1-47 in games where they haven’t scored through three quarters of play. The only win? December 24, 1978 when the Atlanta Falcons scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to defeat Philadelphia, 14-13.
16. New England’s 43-22 win over Indianapolis was the first time a 43-22 score ended any NFL game in history.
17. Patriots’ QB Tom Brady did not have a passing TD in their win over the Colts. The Pats are 16-13 in games when Brady does not have a TD pass, but the team is 4-0 in playoff games when Brady goes without a TD pass.
18. Forty-Niners receiver Anquan Boldin had over 100 yards receiving in the game versus the Panthers. It was his fourth 100-yard receiving game in the playoffs in the last three years, tying him with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for most 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs in the past three seasons. Only five players have had three of more games with 100-plus yards receiving in a playoff game in the last three years; three of the five are from the 49ers… Michael Crabtree also has three such games.
19. At least one home team lost on divisional weekend (home team Carolina lost this past weekend to the 49ers). At least one home team has lost on divisional weekend every year since 2005. The last year when all the home teams won on divisional playoff weekend was 2004 when home teams New England, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Philadelphia all were victorius at home.
20. San Diego QB Philip Rivers was sacked four times in their loss to Denver. The Chargers are now 29-106-4 (.223 winning percentage) when they allow four or more sacks in a game since 1966.
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