AFC, NFC title game notes

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

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:

SEASON TEAM RECORD PRIOR SEASON RECORD ADVANCED TO
2003 Carolina 11-5 7-9 Super Bowl XXXVIII
2009 New Orleans 13-3 8-8 Won Super Bowl XLIV
         
2017 Jacksonville 10-6 3-13 ???
2017 Philadelphia 13-3 7-9 ???

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:

SEASON TEAMS TO ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIOHSHIP GAME WHO MISSED PLAYOFFS IN PREVIOUS SEASON
1996 3 (Carolina, Jacksonville, New England)
1999 3 (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee)
2000 3 (Baltimore, New York Giants, Oakland)
2008 3 (Arizona, Baltimore, Philadelphia)
2017 3 (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:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON(S) GAMES WITH 100+ PASSER RATING
Troy Aikman^ Dallas 1992-93 5
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay 2009-10 3
Tony Eason New England 1985 3
Joe Theismann Washington 1982 3
       
Nick Foles Philadelphia 2013, 2017 2*
*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:

YEAR TEAM CONFERENCE
1992 Buffalo AFC
1997 Denver AFC
1999 Tennessee AFC
2000 Baltimore AFC
2003 Carolina NFC
2005 Pittsburgh AFC
2007 New York Giants NFC
2010 Green Bay NFC
2011 New York Giants NFC
2012 Baltimore AFC
     
2017 Jacksonville* 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:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON RUSH TDS  
Jamal Lewis Baltimore 2000 4  
William Floyd San Francisco 1994 4  
Tony Dorsett^ Dallas 1977 4  
Norm Standlee Chicago 1941 4  
         
Leonard Fournette Jacksonville 2017 3*  
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

PROLIFIC PASSERNew 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:

PLAYER TEAM SEASONS CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF GAMES WITH 300+ YARDS & 2+ TDs
Tom Brady New England 2016-17 3*
Matt Ryan Atlanta 2013, 2016 3
Drew Brees New Orleans 2010-11 3
Jim Kelly^ Buffalo 1989-90 3
Dan Fouts^ San Diego 1980-81 3
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES —

TOUCHDOWN MACHINENew 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:

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS MOST RUSH & REC. TDS IN 3-GAME SPAN IN PLAYOFF HISTORY
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 2008-09 7
Emmitt Smith^ Dallas 1995-96 7
Many tied     6
       
James White New England 2016-17 5*
*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 BOWL DATE WINNER LOSER SITE
XXXVII January 26, 2003 Tampa Bay Oakland San Diego, CA
XIX January 20, 1985 San Francisco Miami Stanford, CA
XIV January 20, 1980 Pittsburgh LA Rams Pasadena, CA
XI January 9, 1977 Oakland Minnesota Pasadena, CA
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