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    NFL Trends Conference Titles (01/20/16)

    By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
    powered by Trend Machine



    There is incredible power in understanding history. Though not predictive in nature, understanding how teams, players, leagues and markets have reacted to various scenarios for over 36 years and more than 9,000 games - as is the case with the information available in the Trend Machine for the NFL - is a tremendous supplement to any analysis of an upcoming matchup.

    Each week we will provide trends for the upcoming NFL games, some will be team specific, others situational – how often a team covers against-the-spread after covering three games in a row.

    NFL Conference Championship – Situational Trends

    This is the first time since the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in both the AFC and NFC advanced to their Conference Championship games. In the last five postseasons that this has occurred (2004-05, 2002-03, 1998-99, 1994-95 and 1991-92), the top overall seeds went 6-4 straight-up and 5-5 against-the-spread.

    • Games Matching this Criteria: Panthers (-3) vs. Cardinals and Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    All-time in Conference Championship games, home underdogs are 5-8 straight-up and 5-7-1 against-the-spread.

    • Games Matching this Criteria: Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    If your team is favored in the Conference Championship it will likely win. All-time, favorites in the conference title games have gone 52-22 straight-up and 42-31-1 against-the-spread.

    • Games Matching this Criteria: Patriots (-3) vs. Broncos and Panthers (-3) vs. Cardinals.

    Additional Notes
    Since 1990, when the NFL Playoffs expanded to 12 teams, there have been 32 Conference Championship games that were rematches from the regular season. In those games, the winner of the last regular season meeting (there were inter-division rematches where the teams had played each other twice in the regular season) went 20-12 straight-up in the Conference Championship game.

    In those same games, when a team won the regular season matchup and then was an underdog in the Conference Championship game, the dog went 10-1 against-the-spread.

    • Games Matching this Criteria: Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots.

    NFL Trends – Conference Championship
    (Note: In our date “All-time” goes back to 1978 or when the team joined the league.)



    Teams Spread Trend
    AZ +3 at CAR This is just the second game all season that Arizona has been an underdog. The Cardinals won the previous game (Week 10 vs. Seattle).
    Carson Palmer starting for the Cardinals on the road is 13-5 straight-up and 14-4 against-the-spread.
    The Cardinals as road underdogs in the playoffs are 4-5 straight-up and 5-4 against-the-spread.
    Arizona won and covered in its only Conference Championship appearance (2009 vs. Philadelphia).
    CAR -3 vs. AZ Carolina is 9-0 straight-up at home this year and has gone 7-2 against-the-spread in those games.
    All-time in the playoffs, the Panthers at home are 4-2 straight-up and against-the-spread.
    All-time in Conference Championship games, Carolina has been on the road and an underdog each time.
    In those games the Panthers went 1-2 straight-up and against-the-spread.
    DEN +3 vs. NE Peyton Manning has never been an underdog in the playoffs with the Broncos but he is 5-5 straight-up and ATS in the regular getting points with Denver.
    Manning as an underdog in the postseason has gone 2-3 straight-up and 2-3 against-the-spread.
    In his career, as a home underdog, Manning has gone 11-8 straight-up and against-the-spread.
    Manning is 2-1 straight-up and against-the-spread vs. Tom Brady in championship games.
    NE -3 at DEN This is the Patriots fifth straight AFC title game: New England went 2-2 straight-up and 1-3 ATS in the previous four games.
    Tom Brady and New England have been in nine previous Conference Championships, the Pats went 6-3 straight-up and 4-5 ATS in those games.
    Brady has only been a true road favorite (not counting Super Bowls) in the playoffs once, he won and covered that game (2005 at Steelers).
    Brady is 11-5 straight-up vs. Peyton Manning and 9-6-1 against-the-spread vs. his rival.

    Additional Manning vs. Brady Trends



    In the playoffs, Manning and Brady have faced each other four times. Each has won two games. Each has covered twice as well.

    Brady holds the all-time head-to-head record but Manning has gotten the better of him in Conference Championship games going 2-1 straight-up.

    For as often as these two quarterbacks play, neither has beaten the other on the road since 2007.

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