Sunday 21 January 2018 / 11:06 AM

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

FROM “WORST TO FIRST”: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES and JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS both advanced to the Divisional Playoffs after completing “worst-to-first” turnarounds this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

In the previous 14 seasons, four teams that went from “worst-to-first” in their divisions have advanced to the conference championship game and two earned Super Bowl berths – the 2003 Carolina Panthers (Super Bowl XXXVIII) and the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who won Super Bowl XLIV.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions and advance to at least the conference championship game since 2003:

SEASONTEAMRECORDPRIOR SEASON RECORDADVANCED TO
2003Carolina11-57-9Super Bowl XXXVIII
2004Atlanta11-55-11NFC Championship
2006New Orleans10-63-13NFC Championship
2009New Orleans13-38-8Won Super Bowl XLIV
     
2017Jacksonville10-63-13???
2017Philadelphia13-37-9???

 

Five of the remaining eight clubs – the Eagles, Saints and Vikings in the NFC and the Jaguars and Titans in the AFC – missed the postseason in 2016, marking the fifth time since 1990 – and the first since 2000 – that five teams advanced to the Divisional Playoffs after missing the postseason in the previous year.

The seasons which had five teams advance to the Divisional Playoffs after missing the postseason in the previous season since 1990:

SEASONTEAMS TO ADVANCE TO DIVISIONAL ROUND WHO MISSED PLAYOFFS IN PREVIOUS SEASON
19905 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, Washington)
19925 (Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
19995 (Indianapolis, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
20005 (Baltimore, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
20175 (Jacksonville, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)

 

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

TOP BILLING: New England’s BILL BELICHICK has appeared in 36 postseason games as a head coach and has 26 career playoff wins, the most wins all-time by a head coach.

Belichick, who coaches against Tennessee on Saturday night, will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers TOM LANDRY (36) and DON SHULA (36) for the most postseason games as a head coach in league history.

The most postseason games as a head coach in NFL history:

HEAD COACHTEAM(S)PLAYOFF GAMES 
Bill BelichickCleveland, New England36 
Tom Landry^Dallas36 
Don Shula^Baltimore Colts, Miami36 
Joe Gibbs^Washington24 
Mike HolmgrenGreen Bay, Seattle24 
Chuck Noll^Pittsburgh24 
Andy ReidPhiladelphia, Kansas City24 
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

WHEN IT COUNTS: New England quarterback TOM BRADY has 25 career postseason victories, the most playoff wins all-time by a starting quarterback, while Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is tied for sixth with 13 career postseason wins.

Roethlisberger, who plays against Jacksonville on Sunday, can tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW and JOHN ELWAY and PEYTON MANNING for the third-most playoff victories by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Brady can also extend his NFL record on Saturday.

The starting quarterbacks with the most career playoff wins in NFL history:

QUARTERBACKTEAM(S)PLAYOFF WINS 
Tom BradyNew England 25 
Joe Montana^San Francisco, Kansas City16 
Terry Bradshaw^Pittsburgh14 
John Elway^Denver14 
Peyton ManningIndianapolis, Denver14 
Brett Favre^Green Bay, Minnesota13 
Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh13 
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: New England’s TOM BRADY (40 years, 163 days old on Saturday) and Tennessee’s MARCUS MARIOTA (24 years, 75 days old) will face off in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday.

Brady and Mariota have an age difference of 16 years and 88 days, the largest age difference between opposing starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history.

The largest age differences between opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game:

DATEOLDEST (TEAM)YOUNGEST (TEAM)AGE DIFFERENCERESULT 
January 13, 2018Tom Brady (New England)Marcus Mariota (Tennessee)16 years, 88 days??? 
December 28, 1991Steve DeBerg (Kansas City)Todd Marinovich (LA Raiders)15 years, 166 daysKansas City, 10-6 
December 31, 1972Earl Morrall (Miami)Terry Bradshaw^ (Pittsburgh)14 years, 108 daysMiami, 21-17 
January 3, 2009Kurt Warner^ (Arizona)Matt Ryan (Atlanta)13 years, 329 daysArizona, 30-24 
December 24, 1972Earl Morrall (Miami)Mike Phipps (Cleveland)13 years, 186 daysMiami, 20-14 
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

MATTY ICE IN THE POSTSEASON: Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN completed 21 of 30 passes (70 percent) for 218 yards and a touchdown for a 101.8 passer rating in the Falcons’ 26-13 win at the Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card Weekend.

Ryan, who plays at Philadelphia on Saturday, has recorded a passer rating of at least 100 in five consecutive postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (eight) has a longer such streak.

The most consecutive postseason games with a 100+ passer rating:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSCONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF GAMES WITH 100+ RATING
Joe Montana^San Francisco1988-19908
Matt RyanAtlanta2012, 2016-17 5*
Joe FlaccoBaltimore2012, 20145
Troy Aikman^Dallas1992-935
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Ryan has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in five consecutive postseason games and can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer TROY AIKMAN (six) for the longest streak in postseason annals.

The most consecutive postseason games with a 70+ completion percentage:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSCONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 70+ COMP. PCT.
Troy Aikman^Dallas1992-946
Matt RyanAtlanta2012, 2016-17 5*
Warren Moon^Houston Oilers1991-934
Joe Montana^San Francisco1989-19904
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer 

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

BIG-GAME BREES: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns for a 115.2 passer rating in the Saints’ 31-26 Wild Card Weekend win over Carolina.

Brees, who plays at Minnesota on Sunday, has thrown for at least 375 yards in four career postseason games and can tie PEYTON MANNING (five) for the most such games in NFL history.

The players with the most career postseason games with at least 375 passing yards:

PLAYERTEAM(S)PLAYOFF GAMES WITH 375+ PASS YARDS
Peyton ManningIndianapolis, Denver5
Drew BreesNew Orleans4
Kurt Warner^St. Louis, Arizona4
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

HUSTLING HENRY: Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 22-21 win at Kansas City on Wild Card Weekend. Henry, who will appear in his second career postseason game on Saturday, can join some elite company with another strong performance.

The players with the most rushing yards in their first two postseason games:

PLAYERTEAMSEASON(S)RUSHING YARDS 
Le’Veon BellPittsburgh2016337 
Arian FosterHouston2011285 
Duane ThomasDallas1970278 
Terrell Davis^Denver1996-97275 
Eddie GeorgeTennessee1999268 
     
Derrick HenryTennessee2017 156* 
*Entering second game

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

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