Will the fourth time be the charm?
Statistically speaking, the odds certainly favor that being the case.
Since the NFL expanded its playoff format to 12 teams in 1990, the home team has won 74 percent of the time in the divisional round of the playoffs. That’s one in four.
The Seahawks are 0-3 on the road in the divisional round of the playoffs.
That means they’re due, right? That’s the hope here in Seattle at least.
And there’s a pretty simple answer why home teams have been so successful in this round. First, the teams that earn one of the top two seeds in the conference have the best records, which means they’re pretty good. Second, those teams with the top two seeds get a bye through the first round of the playoffs, meaning they’ve had one week to rest, recoup and prepare. Finally, those teams with the top two seeds in the playoffs are playing at home in front of crowds that are often fervent. At least those crowds that aren’t in Atlanta.
And while that’s a steep hill, it’s not an impossible one, and in fact it’s becoming more frequent.
From 1990 through 2004 – a span of 15 seasons – home teams were 49-11 in the divisional round of the playoffs, a winning percentage of .817. Over the past 11 seasons, however, home teams are 28-16 in this round of the playoffs, a winning percentage of .636.
So while the numbers aren’t exactly on Seattle’s side, an upset wouldn’t be all that shocking, either.