When the Falcons (#1 seed) host the 49ers (#2 seed) on Sunday it will be the 23rd time that the top two seeds in a conference meet in a Conference Championship Game since the NFL expanded to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, but it will be only the fourth such meeting in the last eight seasons (Bears vs. Saints in 2006, Saints vs. Vikings in 2009, Patriots vs. Ravens in 2011). The top seed is 14-8 vs. the #2 seed in Conference Championship Games over that span.
The weekend’s playoff results left the Ravens with the highest postseason winning percentage in NFL history. The leaders: Ravens, 12-7 (.632); Packers, 30-18 (.625); Steelers, 33-21 (.611); 49ers, 27-18 (.600); Patriots, 24-16 (.600); Panthers, 6-4 (.600).
The Ravens’ postseason won-lost record breaks down like this: 3-2 (.600), 8-5 (.615) on the road, and 1-0 in Super Bowls. The Ravens and the Chiefs are the only teams in NFL history that have a higher postseason winning percentage in road games than in home games. (The Chiefs’ franchise is 2-5 (.286) at home, 5-8 (.385) on the road, and 1-1 in Super Bowls.)
The Patriots will host the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game with the winner heading to New Orleans. New England was 3-3 after six games this season. In the Super Bowl era, five other teams have hosted a Conference Championship Game after losing at least three of their first six games:
|Philadelphia||2003||3-3||Carolina||lost 14- 3|
|New England||1996||3-3||Jacksonville||won 20- 6|
|Cleveland||1968||3-3||Baltimore||lost 34- 0|
|Buffalo||1966||3-3||Kansas City||lost 31- 7|
Bill Belichick has never lost a postseason game to a team that his club did not face during that same regular season. Belichick’s teams have an 8–0 record in playoff games against “first-time opponents,” compared to a 9–7 mark against opponents that his team had faced during the season (1–3 since their first Super Bowl loss to the Giants).
Davey Johnson won the National League Manager of the Year award, beating out Dusty Baker and Bruce Bochy in the voting.
Johnson, who is 69 years old, is the second-oldest winner of the award in either league. The oldest was Jack McKeon, who won the award at age 72 with the 2003 Marlins.
- This is Johnson’s second Manager of the Year award, having earned the same honor in the American League with the 1997 Orioles.
- His wins, 15 years apart, represents the longest span of time between Manager of the Year awards.
- The previous longest span was 14 years for Jim Leyland, who won in 1992 with Pittsburgh and next in 2006 with Detroit.