Notes, stats and nuggets on the NFL playoffs.
• You wonder why people love the NFL and the fact that “anyone can win it all?” Last Saturday, both defending conference champions (New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts) lost on the same day. This past weekend, both No. 1 seeds (Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots) in their respective conferences lost.
• Last week we pointed out that of the eight remaining playoff teams, seven were ranked in the top eight in fewest points allowed (the Seattle Seahawks were 25th). Amazingly, the combined point totals of the four games played this weekend were 55, 69, 59 and 49, a combined total of 232 points -- an average of 58 points per game and 29 points per team.
• For what it's worth: during the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens won at Pittsburgh, the Green Bay Packers lost at Atlanta, the Seahawks won at Chicago and the New York Jets lost at New England. All four results were reversed this weekend.
• With the Patriots’ loss on Sunday to New York, the team(s) with the best win-loss record in the NFL during the regular season will not win the Super Bowl for the seventh consecutive year and the 12th time in the last 14 seasons. The last team with the NFL's best win-loss record to win the Super Bowl the same season were the 2003 Patriots.
• More Patriots: Bill Belichick’s team has gone undefeated at home two straight years and in both instances, were eliminated at home in their first playoff game.
• Another postseason and another big showing for the lower seeds. Both title games will feature No. 6's (Packers and Jets) vs No. 2's (Bears and Steelers), the second time in three postseasons that both No. 6 seeds have reached the title game. In 2008, the No. 6 Ravens lost at Pittsburgh in the AFC title game and the No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles lost at Arizona in the NFC title game.
NFC Champions, Since 2001
• Recent history says the Packers win next week's NFC Championship Game and advance to their fifth Super Bowl. The previous nine seasons, nine different teams have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl. Since the Bears made the trip four years ago, "logic" says it's Green Bay's turn. Meanwhile, a Steelers win would keep an interesting trend going in the other conference. Since 2001, only New England (four), Pittsburgh (two), Indianapolis (two) and Oakland (one) have represented the AFC in the Big Game.
• By the way, remember that little factoid about the Super Bowl history about the last team or teams to lose during the season usually wind up in the Super Bowl? Not much attention was paid to an undefeated season this year because we were out of undefeated teams very early in 2010.