20 fun facts for the NFL divisional playoffs
JAN 10, 2013 12:38p ET
1. If Matt Ryan or Peyton Manning can earn victories this weekend, they'll become their franchise's fifth starting quarterback to win a playoff game in the Super Bowl era. In that span, the 49ers already boast five starting QBs with postseason triumphs since 1966 (John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Alex Smith) -- with Colin Kaepernick primed to be No. 6.
2. This one has garnered plenty of attention this week: If the Patriots knock off the Texans, Tom Brady (16-6 playoff record) would eclipse Joe Montana (his boyhood idol) for the most postseason victories by a starting quarterback. Incidentally, Terry Bradshaw and John Elway share third place (14 wins).
3. In the Super Bowl era, only five clubs with records of 14-2 or better fell in the divisional playoff round: The 1986 Bears (lost to N.Y. Giants), 2005 Colts (lost to Steelers), 2006 Chargers (lost to Patriots), 2010 Patriots (lost to the N.Y. Jets) and 2011 Packers (lost to Giants).
4. This year's Patriots became the 12th team since the NFL-AFL merger (1970) to post a seasonal differential of 14 points or more. Of the previous 11 clubs, only the 1973 Rams (lost to the Cowboys) and 1975 Vikings (lost to the Cowboys) failed to reach their conference title games.
5. Baltimore's Ray Rice (1,621 total yards, 10 TDs) hasn't found the end zone in his last three playoff games. That's an odd drought for someone who scored four total touchdowns in the four previous postseason outings.
6. In the Aaron Rodgers era (as a starter), the Packers are averaging 34 points in road postseason games. In that span, he amassed 303 yards passing and 2.8 touchdowns per outing.
7. Roddy White's three-game track record against the Seahawks (since 2007) amounts to six catches, 68 yards and 0.7 touchdowns per outing. His three-game track record during the NFL playoffs bears similar results: 7.3 catches, 64 yards and 0.7 TDs.
8. Broncos QB Peyton Manning has accounted for 5,389 yards passing and 32 total touchdowns (three rushing) in 19 playoff games. In that span, he tallied per-outing averages of 284 yards passing and 1.7 touchdowns.
9. Food for thought: Manning has never won a playoff game when finishing the regular season with a 13-3 record (0-2).
10. Strange but true: Joe Flacco is the only starting quarterback left in the playoffs to register multiple touchdowns in each of his last three postseason games.
11. Tom Brady has never lost a playoff game when completing 30 or more passes.
12. Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 100-plus yards in his last five games -- the longest streak of his burgeoning career.
13. During the regular season, neither the 49ers (0-3) nor Patriots (0-4) earned victories when failing to collectively rush for 100 yards.
14. Since the NFL-AFL merger (1970), only two clubs have advanced to a conference championship when scoring less than 10 points in the divisional round -- the 1970 Cowboys (5-0 over the Lions) and 1997 Steelers (7-6 over the Patriots).
15. On the flip side, only six post-merger clubs have lost in the divisional round when collecting 30 or more points -- the 2002 Steelers (31 points), 2003 Chiefs (31), 2011 49ers (32), 1990 Dolphins (34), 1999 Vikings (37) and 1981 Dolphins (38).
16. Counting last week, the Seahawks have played in 12 playoff games since 2001. In that span, Seattle scored 20 or more points 11 times -- with the lone exception coming in a 21-10 loss to Pittsburgh (and the refs?) in Super Bowl XL.
17. Thanks to Arian Foster (1,641 total yards, 17 TDs in 2012), the Texans have collectively rushed for 130-plus yards in all three playoff outings.
18. In their 46-year history, the Falcons are 0-2 in playoff games when holding the conference's No. 1 seed (1980 and 2010 seasons).
19. Peyton Manning posted his lowest passing total of the season (204 yards) in the Broncos' Week 15 road rout of the Ravens (this week's opponent).
20. How great was Randy Moss in his heyday? Of the NFL's top 25 receivers in all-time yardage and/or touchdowns, only Larry Fitzgerald (nine), Jerry Rice (eight) and Moss (eight) racked up eight or more TDs in their first seven playoff games.
James Lofton, Jimmy Smith, Fred Biletnikoff (seven TDs in their first seven games) and Andre Reed, Hines Ward and Steve Smith (six TDs) take secondary honors.
One last thing: I couldn't find any definitive postseason box scores for the immortal Don Hutson ( 99 career touchdowns), the Hall of Famer who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns nine times in 11 amazing seasons with Green Bay (1935-45). But I'm reasonably certain he didn't make the Moss/Fitz/Rice cut.
For Hutson's sake, it's a shame the wild-card round didn't exist before World War II and baby boomers.