NFL teams playing this weekend have a tough road to Miami for the Super Bowl.
How difficult is it for teams seeded Nos. 3-6?
Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was introduced, it has happened only 12 times and none since the 2012 Ravens. Meanwhile, teams with a first-round bye have reached the Super Bowl 46 times in that span. Only two No. 3 seeds, seven No. 4s, one No. 5 and two No. 6s have advanced.
That’s bad news for the Patriots (12-4), Saints (13-3), Texans (11-5), Eagles (9-7),
Bills (10-6), Seahawks (11-5), Titans (9-7) and Vikings (10-6).
There’s even more reason to think the teams playing wild-card weekend won’t make it to February.
Since the league instituted a seeding system in 1975, the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds have reached the Super Bowl 71 times, while all other seeds have gotten there 17 times. Only 10 of the 44 champions in that span were seeded Nos. 3-6.
The Ravens (14-2), Chiefs (12-4), 49ers (13-3) and Packers (13-3) are resting this week and waiting for an opponent in the divisional round.
BILLS (10-6) at TEXANS (10-6)
When: 3:35 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 7, ESPN.
Last meeting: Texans beat Bills 20-13, Oct. 14, 2018.
Last week: Bills lost to Jets 13-6; Texans lost to Titans 35-14.
Did you know? Bills are in playoffs for second time in three seasons. ... Buffalo’s 10 wins are most since 1999. ... Bills have lost last five playoff games and haven’t won postseason game since 1995. ... Buffalo was 1-4 against playoff teams this season. ... WR John Brown has 1,060 yards receiving for Buffalo’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2015. ... QB Josh Allen has 3,089 yards passing for most by Buffalo player since Ryan Fitzpatrick had 3,400 in 2012. ... Buffalo allowed 40 sacks this season, fewest since 39 in 2014. ... CB Tre’Davious White tied for NFL lead with six interceptions. ... Buffalo’s 44 sacks are most since team had 54 in 2014. ... Buffalo’s 259 points allowed were fewest since team gave up 284 in 2004. ... Bills allowed 15 touchdown passes this season, which tied for second-fewest in NFL. ... Houston hasn’t won a playoff game since wild-card win over Raiders in 2016 season. ... Texans reached 10 wins for fourth time in franchise history. ... Houston is 3-5 in playoffs. ... DE J.J. Watt is scheduled to return after sitting out last eight games with torn pectoral muscle. ... QB Deshaun Watson tied career best with 26 touchdown passes. ... LB Zach Cunningham led team with career-high 137 tackles. ... RB Carlos Hyde ran for career-high 1,070 yards in first season in Houston. ... Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins is healthy after dealing with illness for two weeks.
TITANS (9-7) at PATRIOTS (12-4)
When: 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 2.
Last meeting: Titans beat Patriots 34-10, Nov. 11, 2018.
Last week: Titans beat Texans 35-14; Patriots lost to Dolphins 27-24.
Did you know? Titans won seven of final 10 games to earn second playoff berth in three seasons, first under second-year coach Mike Vrabel. … Titans ranked fourth in AFC with 25.1 points per game, team’s highest mark since 2003 (27.2). ... Titans Pro Bowl RB Derrick Henry led NFL in rushing with 1,540 yards in 15 games, fourth-most rushing yards in franchise history. ... Titans QB Ryan Tannehill led NFL with career-best 117.5 passer rating. Tannehill also led league averaging 9.6 yards per pass. … Patriots playing in first wild-card game since 2009 (lost 33-14 to Ravens). New England is 2-1 in wild-card games under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady but has never made it to Super Bowl in wild-card years. ... Patriots have been to Super Bowl in four of last five years, including victory against Rams last year. ... New England’s defense allowed 275.9 yards per game, fewest by Patriots team since 1977 (259.9). Also allowed league-low 14.1 points per game, fewest in NFL since 2008 Steelers (13.9). ... Patriots had plus-21 turnover differential during regular season, best in NFL … Brady is NFL’s postseason leader in games (40), passes (1,589), completions (1,005), yards passing (11,179) and touchdown passes (73). … WR Jul-ian Edelman’s 115 postseason receptions are second behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (151). Edelman (1,412) also ranks second behind Rice (2,245) in career postseason receiving yards.
VIKINGS (10-6) at SAINTS (13-3)
When: 12:05 p.m. Sunday, Fox-32.
Last meeting: Saints beat Vikings 30-20, Oct. 28, 2018.
Last week: Vikings lost to Bears 21-19;
Saints beat Panthers 42-10.
Did you know? Vikings won previous postseason meeting 29-24 on Jan. 14, 2018, in divisional-round game that ended with 61-yard touchdown catch by Stefon Diggs as time expired, known as “Minneapolis Miracle.” ... QB Kirk Cousins had 26 touchdown passes against six interceptions in 2019. He’s only quarterback with 25 or more touchdown passes in each of last five seasons. ... RB Dalvin Cook makes playoff debut. Cook had 127 rushing yards in only career game against Saints in 2017. He had six touchdown runs in eight road games in 2019. ... Diggs had career-high 1,130 yards receiving in 2019. … Saints QB Drew Brees completed 74.3 percent of passes in 2019, second-highest single-season mark in NFL history behind his own NFL record of 74.4 percent last season. Brees is NFL all-time leader in yards passing with 77,416 and touchdown passes with 547. He has 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in last four outings. ... RB Alvin Kamara had 1,330 scrimmage yards (797 rushing, 533 receiving) in 2019, became third player, joining Abner Haynes and Herschel Walker, with at least 500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in each of first three seasons. ... WR Michael Thomas led NFL with single-season record 149 receptions and had career-high 1,725 yards receiving. ... Thomas had at least 10 catches in nine games, most in single season in NFL history.
SEAHAWKS (11-5) at EAGLES (9-7)
When: 3:40 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 5.
Last meeting: Seahawks beat Eagles 17-9, Nov. 24, 2019.
Last week: Seahawks lost to 49ers 26-21; Eagles beat Giants 34-17.
Did you know? QB Russell Wilson is 4-0 vs. Eagles. ... Seahawks in postseason for eighth time in Pete Carroll’s 10 seasons. … Last season was only time Seahawks failed to win at least one playoff game under Carroll. ... Seahawks had franchise-best 7-1 road mark this season. ... Seattle fourth in NFL in rushing (137.5 yards). ... Wilson threw for 4,110 yards in regular season, second most in career. Five interceptions a career low. ... In final seven games of regular season, Wilson has 90.7 passer rating and topped 100 only once. Wilson had 118.2 rating through first nine games. ... Wilson sacked season-high six times in first meeting with Eagles. ... RB Marshawn Lynch made season debut last week after 14 months off. He rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries. … S Quandre Diggs (high ankle sprain) expected to play after missing last two games. ... Eagles won last four games to secure NFC East title, third playoff appearance in coach Doug Pederson’s four seasons. ... At 25-9, Eagles have second-best home record in NFL under Pederson. ... QB Carson Wentz set for first career playoff start. ... Wentz set franchise record with 4,039 yards passing. Wentz has thrown touchdown pass in 19 straight games, longest active streak in league. ... Offense converted 45.4 percent of third downs, fourth-best in NFL, and ranked third in time of possession (32:56).