In the wildcard round last season, all four road teams won. It isn’t unusual to see a lower seed win in the wildcard round, as often you have the stronger team being on the road against a weak division winner. That was probably the case when we saw KC beat Houston and Green Bay win in Washington last year; in addition, the Steelers upset the Bengals and Seahawks beat the Vikings.
Since then? Not a single road team has won a playoff game. The four teams with bye last year — Carolina, Arizona, New England, and Denver — all won in the division round of the playoffs. Then the #1 seeded Broncos and Panthers won, too, marking six straight home wins. We skip the Super Bowl, although for trivia fans, the champion Broncos were in fact the designated home team.
In the first round of the playoffs this year, all four home teams won. The “weak division winner” Texans were aided by a QB injury and beat the Raiders, while the 4 seed in the NFC (the Packers) rode a hot end-of-year streak to beat the Giants. In addition, Seattle and Pittsburgh won as 3 seeds.
Then, yesterday, the 1 seeded Patriots and 2 seeded Falcons beat the Texans and Seahawks, respectively. That runs the streak up to 12 straight wins by home teams in the playoffs. That’s easily the most in NFL history.
In addition, if we include last year’s Super Bowl, that means the last 8 playoff games have been decided by at least 13 points.
There had never even been six straight games decided by at least 13 points, so this is also an NFL playoff record.