The 2014 season edition of the AFC and NFC championship games will take place on Sunday when the Packers travel to Seattle and the Patriots host the Colts.
Green Bay, Indianapolis and New England are no strangers to these title games, while the Seahawks are fast becoming perennial championship contenders after their Super Bowl win last year.
Ten different NFL franchises have not made an appearance in a conference championship game this century. Three of those 10 teams played in the playoffs this season — Cincinnati, Dallas and Detroit – but none of the three advanced to the title contest.
Here is the last time each NFL franchise made an appearance in a conference championship game.
1991: Detroit, Washington
1993: Buffalo, Kansas City
2001: St. Louis Rams
2002: Oakland, Tampa Bay, Tennessee
2007: San Diego
2008: Arizona, Philadelphia
2009: Minnesota, New Orleans
2010: Chicago, New York Jets, Pittsburgh
2011: New York Giants
2012: Atlanta, Baltimore
2013: Denver, San Francisco
2014: Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England, Seattle
Here’s a few more stats about the conference championship games since 1970 (the NFL-AFL merger).
- Five AFC teams have not won a conference championship since 1970 (Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City and New York Jets), while only one NFC team has not won an NFC title since the merger (Detroit).
- San Francisco and Pittsburgh are tied with the most championship game appearances since 1970, 15. They are followed by Dallas (14), New England and Oakland (11), St. Louis/L.A. Rams and Denver (9), Minnesota (8), Indianapolis and Miami (7), Green Bay, Philadelphia and Washington (6).
- The Steelers have hosted the most conference title games since 1970 with 11. They are followed by San Francisco (9), Denver, Miami and New England (6), Dallas, Oakland, Washington (5).
- The Cowboys have won the most conference championship games on the road since 1970 with four. New England and the New York Giants have each won three, while Baltimore, Denver, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and San Francisco have each own two.
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For the first time in franchise history the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs in three straight seasons (2011, 2012, 2013). Going into the 2013 season, there were five franchises — including the Bengals — that had never made the playoffs in three straight seasons
This season’s 12 playoff teams consist of seven teams that played in the playoffs in 2012 and five that did not.
Here’s a look at this year’s 12 playoff teams, their recent playoff appearance history and the last time they made the NFL playoffs in three straight years.
2013 playoff repeaters
Green Bay: Their fifth straight playoff appearance.
New England: Fifth straight playoff appearance.
Cincinnati: Third consecutive playoff appearance. This is their first time making the playoffs in three straight seasons.
Denver: Third consecutive playoff appearance. The last time they made the playoffs in three straight years was 2003-05.
San Francisco: Third straight year in the playoffs. Last time they made the playoffs in three straight seasons was 1996-98.
Indianapolis: Their second straight playoff appearance.. The last time they made the playoffs in three straight years was 2008-10.
Seattle: Second straight playoff appearance. Last time they made the playoffs in three straight seasons was 2005-07.
2013 playoff teams that did not make playoffs in 2012
Carolina: This is their first playoff appearance since 2008. They have never made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Kansas City: This is their first playoff appearance since 2010. The last time they made the playoffs in three straight seasons was 1993-95.
San Diego: First playoff appearance since 2009. The last time they made the playoffs in three straight years was 2007-09.
Philadelphia: This is their first playoff game since 2010. The last time they made the playoffs in three straight seasons was 2008-10.
New Orleans: First playoff contest since 2011. Last time they made the playoffs ion three consecutive years was 2009-11.
As mentioned above, there are now four franchises which have never made the NFL playoffs in three consecutive years. Those franchises are: Arizona, Carolina, Houston and the New York Jets.
Here’s a look at the remaining 17 franchises and the last time each of them made the NFL playoffs in three consecutive seasons (starting with the team that has had the longest wait):
Team, last time they made playoffs in three straight years
St. Louis: 1999-2001
Tampa Bay: 2000-02
N.Y. Giants: 2009-11
With the Seattle Seahawks looking to wrap up home field advantage in the NFC playoffs this weekend, the San Francisco 49ers trying to hold on to a Wild Card spot, the Arizona Cardinals one win from a 10-win season, and the St. Louis Rams just two games under .500 with two games to play, it’s not out of the question to look at the NFC West as the best division in the NFL this season.
In 2002, the NFL went to a four-division format in each conference with four teams in each division. In the 11 years since, only three times have the four teams in a division won a combined 4o or more games in a season. In 2007, the four NFC East teams combined for 40 wins; in 2008, the four NFC South teams won 40 games. Also in 2007, the four AFC South teams won 42 games (Indianapolis, 13; Jacksonville, 11; Tennessee, 10; and Houston, eight) most since the new format was instituted back in 2002.
There’s a good chance that the NFC West this year will not only join the other three 40-win divisions, but they might match the 42 wins of the 2007 AFC South. These four teams currently have a combined 37 wins going into Week #16 games (Seattle, 12; San Francisco, 10; Arizona, nine; and St. Louis, six).
Here’s a quick look at the combined wins of each of the eight NFL divisions.
NFC West, 37
AFC West, 33
AFC East, 29
NFC South, 28
AFC North, 27
NFC North, 26
NFC East, 23
AFC South, 20
Interesting stat: Since 2002, the eventual Super Bowl champion has come from the division with the most combined wins three times… in 2002 (Tampa Bay), 2003 (New England) and 2004 (New England). Of the three divisions that had a combined 40 or more wins since 2002, only once, the NFC East in 2007, had a team win the Super Bowl, the New York Giants.
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Week 13 had two games go into overtime: The Vikings beat the Bears 23-20, and the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Buffalo Bills 34-31. For the Falcons, it was their first overtime win on the road since September 26, 2010.
Through games of December 1, there have been 13 overtime games in the NFL this season. One ended in a tie, and the home team has won nine of the other 12 OT contests.
In 2012, there 21 regular-season overtime games in the NFL. Of those 21, the home team won 11 of them. There was also an overtime game in the playoffs; that was won by the away team (Baltimore) as they knocked the Denver Broncos out of the playoffs on their home field on a Justin Tucker 47-yard field goal in double overtime.
One of the more interesting overtime games last season was on December 2. The Seattle Seahawks were on the road facing the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks won the game 23-17 in Chicago in overtime. It was the first victory in a five-game winning streak that propelled the Seahawks to an 11-win season and a spot in the playoffs.
But another reason that game was noteworthy was that it was the first overtime win on the road for the Seahawks in almost 10 years. Prior to that win in Chicago, the last time Seattle won an overtime game on the road was December 29, 2002 when they beat the Chargers 31-28 in an overtime game in San Diego.
The current longest drought for a road overtime win belongs to the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has not won an overtime game on the road since December 2, 2001.
With that in mind, here is the last time each team won an overtime game on the road.
Last overtime game won on the road, team
10-23-2003: New England
11-27-2005: St. Louis
10-29-2007: Green Bay
12-9-2007: San Diego
9-14-2008: San Francisco
1-22-2012: New York Giants
9-23-2012: Kansas City
9-23-2012: New York Jets
11-18-2012: Tampa Bay
12-23-2012: New Orleans
Of the three teams that have this season won OT games on the road, two of those road OT victories came at the expense of the Buffalo Bills (both Cincinnati and Atlanta beat Buffalo in OT on the Bills’ home field). The Bills became the 11th team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to have lost two overtime games at home in a season. Following are those teams:
Lost two overtime games at home in a season
2003: Tampa Bay
2002: Minnesota, Oakland
1993: New England
1987: New England
1983: Green Bay, Houston Oilers, Tampa Bay
1979: New England
With four weeks left in the 2013 NFL regular season, there is more and more conversation about the playoffs and which teams will not only make the playoffs, but which teams might have home field advantage throughout the duration of the post-season.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that having the home field is a benefit during the season and also in the playoffs. For the record, from the 2010 season through Week #13 of this year, home teams have won .572 of the games with road teams at .428, a difference of .144. (In the last three NFL playoffs, home teams have an 18-12 record, a .600 winning percentage.)
For some teams, however, the difference between their regular season home and road winning percentage is much greater than the league average of .144 since 2010. The Arizona Cardinals since 2010 are 19-11 (.633) at home and 6-24 (.200) on the road. That .433 difference is the largest of all NFL teams in that time period.
After looking at the records below, you will notice that:
* Two teams, Philadelphia and Washington, have actually played better on the road than at home since 2010. Only two teams, New England (.700) and Philadelphia (.600) have won 60 percent or more of their regular season road games since 2010.
Here’s a look at each NFL teams winning percentage at home and on the road since 2010.
Difference, Team (Home win pct/Road win pct)
+.433 Arizona (.633/.200)
+.400 Baltimore (.867/.467)
+.334 Seattle (.767/.433)
+.317 Green Bay (.850/.533)
+.250 Minnesota (.500/.250)
+.247 Cleveland (.419/.172)
+.245 Buffalo (.452/.207)
+.233 Indianapolis (.633/.400)
+.217 San Francisco (.750/.533)
+.200 New England (.900/.700)
+.200 New Orleans (.767/.567)
+.200 New York Jets (.600/.400)
+.166 Atlanta (.733/.567)
+.150 St. Louis (.433/.283)
+.142 Pittsburgh (.690/.548)
+.134 Oakland (.467/.333)
+.133 San Diego (.552/.419)
+ .102 Kansas City (.516/.414)
+.100 Chicago (.633/.533)
+.100 Dallas (.533/.433)
+.100 Denver (.633/.533)
+.100 Detroit (.500/.400)
+.100 New York Giants (.600/.500)
+.087 Jacksonville (.345/.258)
+.068 Cincinnati (.552/.484)
+.067 Tennessee (.467/.400)
+.066 Carolina (.433/.367)
+.033 Houston (.516/.483)
+.000 Miami (.433/.433)
+.000 Tampa Bay (.400/.400)
-.066 Washington (.367/.433)
-.233 Philadelphia (.367/.600)
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