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Saturday, January 07, 2006


The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday and Sunday, January 7-8, with Wild Card Weekend. On Saturday, the Washington Redskins play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ABC, 4:30 PM ET) and the Jacksonville Jaguars visit the New England Patriots (ABC, 8:00 PM ET). Wild Card Weekend continues Sunday with the Carolina Panthers at the New York Giants
(FOX, 1:00 PM ET) and the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to face the Cincinnati Bengals (CBS, 4:30 PM ET).

The following week, the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC and Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC host the Divisional Playoffs. The Colts and Seahawks own homefield advantage for the Conference Championship Games (January 22) if they win their Divisional games. The conference champions advance to Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 5.


Six of the past eight Super Bowl champions have returned to the playoffs this year and are among the 12 clubs vying to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy on February 5. Those teams are: Denver (twice), New England (thrice) and Tampa Bay.

Each of the 12 teams vying for a trip to Super Bowl XL has won at least 10 games – only the third time (2000, 2003) since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990 that the entire playoff field accomplished the feat.

The 2005 playoff participants own a combined record of 138-54 (.719), the best winning percentage since the 1977 postseason field posted a .732 mark (82-30).


The New York Giants will participate in the playoffs for the 27th time, tying the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams for the most playoff seasons in NFL history.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play in their 43rd playoff game Sunday afternoon, tying the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams for the second most postseason games ever. Only the Cowboys (54) have played more than the Steelers.

The New England Patriots are one win away from the longest playoff winning streak in NFL history. New England has won nine consecutive playoff games, tied with the VINCE LOMBARDI-led Green Bay Packers (1961-62, 1965-67).

Following is a list of this year’s 12 playoff teams and their postseason records:


Carolina Panthers 4 2 .667
New England Patriots 16 10 .615
Washington Redskins 22 15 .595
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 18 .571
Denver Broncos 16 14 .533
Jacksonville Jaguars 4 4 .500
Chicago Bears 14 15 .483
Indianapolis Colts 13 15 .464
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 7 .462
New York Giants 16 21 .432
Cincinnati Bengals 5 7 .417
Seattle Seahawks 3 7 .300



Washington Redskins 5 0 1.000
Carolina Panthers 1 0 1.000
Cincinnati Bengals 1 0 1.000
New York Giants 4 2 .667
Jacksonville Jaguars 2 1 .667
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 2 .600
New England Patriots 2 2 .500
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers 1 3 .250


Denver Broncos 7 3 .700
Indianapolis Colts 4 6 .400
Chicago Bears 3 6 .333
Seattle Seahawks 1 2 .333


HOME SWEET HOME -- MAYBE: While homefield advantage throughout the playoffs is a coveted prize, it has been no guarantee of a trip to the Super Bowl. And like so much about the NFL, an unpredictable result is seemingly the only predictable outcome.

Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, only 15 of 30 (50 percent) No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Super Bowl with eight No. 1s being crowned NFL champions (27 percent).

A look at how the No. 1 seeds have fared since 1990:

1990 Buffalo Lost Super Bowl XXV San Francisco Lost NFC
1991 Buffalo Lost Super Bowl XXVI Washington Won Super Bowl XXVI
1992 Pittsburgh Lost Divisional San Francisco Lost NFC
1993 Buffalo Lost Super Bowl XXVIII Dallas Won Super Bowl XXVIII
1994 Pittsburgh Lost AFC Championship San Francisco Won Super Bowl XXIX
1995 Kansas City Lost Divisional Dallas Won Super Bowl XXX
196 Denver Lost Divisional Green Bay Won Super Bowl XXXI
1997 Kansas City Lost Divisional San Francisco Lost NFC
1998 Denver Won Super Bowl XXXIII Minnesota Lost NFC
1999 Jacksonville Lost AFC Championship St. Louis Won Super Bowl XXXIV
2000 Tennessee Lost Divisional New York
Lost Super Bowl XXXV
2001 Pittsburgh Lost AFC Championship St. Louis Lost Super Bowl XXXVI
2002 Oakland Lost Super Bowl XXXVII Philadelphia Lost NFC
2003 New England Won Super Bowl XXXVIII Philadelphia Lost NFC
2004 Pittsburgh Lost AFC Championship Philadelphia Lost Super Bowl XXXIX

UNDEFEATED AT HOME: The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are the only two NFL teams to finish the 2005 season with undefeated home records.
Since 1995, 21 clubs have sent their fans home happy throughout the season, finishing with 8-0 records at home.

However, only nine of those clubs have earned a trip to the Super Bowl, further proving that in the NFL, you just never know.

The teams (since 1995) to finish with 8-0 records at home and their final season result:

1995 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1996 Carolina Panthers 12-4 Lost NFC Championship
1996 Denver Broncos 13-3 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1996 Green Bay Packers 13-3 Won Super Bowl XXXI
1997 Denver Broncos 12-4 Won Super Bowl XXXII
1997 Green Bay Packers 13-3 Lost Super Bowl XXXII
1997 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1997 San Francisco 49ers 13-3 Lost NFC Championship
1998 Atlanta Falcons 14-2 Lost Super Bowl XXXIII
1998 Denver Broncos 14-2 Won Super Bowl XXXIII
1998 Minnesota Vikings 15-1 Lost NFC Championship
1998 San Francisco 49ers 12-4 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1999 Tennessee Titans 13-3 Lost Super Bowl XXXIV
1999 St. Louis Rams 13-3 Won Super Bowl XXXIV
2002 Green Bay Packers 12-4 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2003 Kansas City Chiefs 13-3 Lost Divisional Playoffs
2003 New England Patriots 14-2 Won Super Bowl XXXVIII
2003 St. Louis Rams 12-4 Lost Divisional Playoffs
2003 Seattle Seahawks 10-6 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2004 New England Patriots 14-2 Won Super Bowl XXXIX
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers 15-1 Lost AFC Championship

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