Consider these curious stats about this weekend's slate of games and beyond:
- According to NFL Media Relations, since the NFL moved to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, No. 1 seeds in the NFC are 19-4 (.826) in the Divisional Playoffs. In the AFC, the No. 1 seed has compiled a 13-10 (.565) record. However since 2007 the NFC No. 1 seed is just 2–4 while the AFC top dog is just 3–3.
- Also if it seems like the Patriots always get a first-round bye, you’re onto something. Since the 12-team playoff system began in 1990, New England has made the playoffs 14 times and have been afforded a first-week bye an NFL-high nine times, to best the Steelers and 49ers (eight byes since 1990) by one.
- Tom Brady needs just three touchdown tosses to surpass Brett Favre (44) and tie Joe Montana for the most in NFL Postseason history at 45. Of his current crop of receivers, Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman (two each) have accounted for four of Brady’s 42 scoring throws.
- Brady is already the NFL’s alltime postseason leader in passing yards but likely needs to outlast Peyton Manning in these playoffs to keep the distinction. Manning trails Brady by 270 yards with both men ready for their first action of 2014.
- Manning hasn’t won an outdoor postseason game since his Colts defeated the Ravens 15-6 on January 13, 2007 in Baltimore. Here’s the difference a roof makes:
Indoors: 10 games, 6 wins, 4 losses, 321.9 yards per game, 21 TDs, 8 INTs, 66.7% completions
Outdoors: 10 games, 3 wins, 7 losses, 247.0 yards per game, 11 TDs, 13 INTs, 59.7% completions
- Carolina’s Cam Newton will be making his first career playoff appearance at home against the Niners. He is the only quarterback left standing in these playoffs who has never won a playoff game. The signalcaller with the longest drought of playoff wins? Manning whose last postseason victory was a 30-17 home win against the Jets in the 2009-10 AFC Championship Game on January 24, 2010. In all, 18 different quarterbacks—including Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and T.J. Yates—have led their teams to playoff wins since Manning’s last.
- Brady will surely be looking for these matchups: Colts defensive backs Antoine Bethea and Vontae Davis were thrown at a combined 129 times during the regular season and allowed a combined 14 touchdowns, a rate of a touchdown for every 9.2 throws, easily the worst of any teammates remaining in the playoffs.
- Three Super Bowl winning quarterbacks—Brady, Manning and Drew Brees—remain while only two Super Bowl-winning coaches—Bill Belichick and Sean Payton still have a chance at a title. Belichick and Denver’s John Fox (Panthers 2003-04) are the only elite eight coaches who have tasted defeat in the Super Bowl.
- A win against the Colts would put Belichick into a tie with former Colts and Dolphins legend Don Shula, with 19 career playoff victories as a head coach. That’s second only to the 20 Tom Landry won with the Dallas Cowboys. (Since one of his wins came with Cleveland, Belichick needs three to tie Landry for most playoff wins for a single team)
- All eight of the teams still alive in the playoffs have reached their respective Conference title games in the past decade, with the Chargers having the longest wait since the 2004-05 season. The Patriots and 49ers are the only remaining members of the NFL’s 2012-13 Final Four.
- Three of the remaining teams—the Panthers, Chargers and Seahawks—have never won the Super Bowl. Among the other five, the Patriots are in the middle in terms of most recent championship, with their 2004-05 title coming more recently than the 49ers (1994-95) and Broncos (1998-99) but not as recently as the Colts (2006-07) and Saints (2009-10).
The author is solely responsible for the content.
He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.