Thursday 22 February 2018 / 06:00 PM

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

FROM “WORST TO FIRST”: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES and JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS both advanced to the Conference Championship Games 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.

The last two teams that went from “worst-to-first” in their divisions to earn a Super Bowl berth were 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 the Super Bowl since 2003:

SEASONTEAMRECORDPRIOR SEASON RECORDADVANCED TO
2003Carolina11-57-9Super Bowl XXXVIII
2009New Orleans13-38-8Won Super Bowl XLIV
2017Jacksonville10-63-13???
2017Philadelphia13-37-9???

 

Three of the remaining four clubs – the Eagles and MINNESOTA VIKINGS in the NFC and the Jaguars in the AFC – missed the postseason in 2016, marking the fifth time since 1990 – and the first since 2008 – that three teams advanced to the Championship Game after missing the postseason in the previous year.

The seasons which had three teams advance to the Conference Championship Game after missing the postseason in the previous season since 1990:

SEASONTEAMS TO ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIOHSHIP GAME WHO MISSED PLAYOFFS IN PREVIOUS SEASON
19963 (Carolina, Jacksonville, New England)
19993 (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee)
20003 (Baltimore, New York Giants, Oakland)
20083 (Arizona, Baltimore, Philadelphia)
20173 (Jacksonville, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

OVER 100: Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES completed 23 of 30 passes (76.7 percent) for 246 yards and a 100.1 passer rating in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over Atlanta in the Divisional Playoffs.

Foles, who faces Minnesota on Sunday night, can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to record a passer rating of at least 100 in each of his first three postseason starts.

The quarterbacks with the most starts with a passer rating of at least 100 to begin postseason career:

PLAYERTEAMSEASON(S)GAMES WITH 100+ PASSER RATING
Troy Aikman^Dallas1992-935
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay2009-103
Tony EasonNew England19853
Joe TheismannWashington19823
Nick FolesPhiladelphia2013, 20172*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

DANGEROUS JAGUARS: The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS defeated Pittsburgh, the No. 2 seed in the AFC, 45-42 in the Divisional Playoffs to advance to their third AFC Championship game in franchise history.

Jacksonville, who plays at No. 1 seed New England on Sunday, can become the 11th team to defeat the top two seeds from their own conference in the same postseason since 1990 when the current playoff format was adopted.

The teams to defeat the top two seeds from their own conference in the same postseason since 1990:

YEARTEAMCONFERENCE
1992BuffaloAFC
1997DenverAFC
1999TennesseeAFC
2000BaltimoreAFC
2003CarolinaNFC
2005PittsburghAFC
2007New York GiantsNFC
2010Green BayNFC
2011New York GiantsNFC
2012BaltimoreAFC
2017Jacksonville*AFC
*Play at No. 1 seed New England on Sunday

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

RUMBLING ROOKIE: Jacksonville rookie running back LEONARD FOURNETTE rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 45-42 victory over Pittsburgh in the Divisional Playoffs.

With one rushing touchdown on Sunday against New England, Fournette can tie the postseason record for the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie.

The rookies with the most rushing touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRUSH TDS
Jamal LewisBaltimore20004
William FloydSan Francisco19944
Tony Dorsett^Dallas19774
Norm StandleeChicago19414
Leonard FournetteJacksonville20173*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

PROLIFIC PASSER: New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 35 of 53 passes (66 percent) for 337 yards and three touchdowns for a 102.5 passer rating in the Patriots’ 35-14 win against Tennessee in the Divisional Playoffs.

Brady, who faces Jacksonville on Sunday, can become the first quarterback in postseason history to record four consecutive games with at least 300 yards and multiple touchdown passes.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive postseason games with 300+ yards and 2+ touchdown passes:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSCONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF GAMES WITH 300+ YARDS & 2+ TDs
Tom BradyNew England2016-173*
Matt RyanAtlanta2013, 20163
Drew BreesNew Orleans2010-113
Jim Kelly^Buffalo1989-903
Dan Fouts^San Diego1980-813
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

TOUCHDOWN MACHINE: New England running back JAMES WHITE recorded two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Patriots’ win against Tennessee in the Divisional Playoffs.

White, who had three touchdowns in SB LI, needs two touchdowns to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (seven) and LARRY FITZGERALD (seven) for the most combined rushing and receiving touchdowns over a three-game span in postseason history.

The players with the most combined rushing and receiving touchdowns in a three-game span in postseason history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)SEASONSMOST RUSH & REC. TDS IN 3-GAME SPAN IN PLAYOFF HISTORY
Larry FitzgeraldArizona2008-097
Emmitt Smith^Dallas1995-967
Many tied6
James WhiteNew England2016-175*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

BRING IT HOME: The MINNESOTA VIKINGS defeated New Orleans 29-24 to advance to their 10th NFL/NFC Championship game in franchise history.

With a win against Philadelphia on Sunday, the Vikings will become the first team to play in a Super Bowl in the team’s home stadium and the fifth team to play in a Super Bowl that was hosted in their home state.

The teams to play in a Super Bowl hosted in their home state:

SUPER BOWLDATEWINNERLOSERSITE
XXXVIIJanuary 26, 2003Tampa BayOaklandSan Diego, CA
XIXJanuary 20, 1985San FranciscoMiamiStanford, CA
XIVJanuary 20, 1980PittsburghLA RamsPasadena, CA
XIJanuary 9, 1977OaklandMinnesotaPasadena, CA

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