NFL history shows momentum isn’t everything heading into playoffs

Jan 5, 2016, 5:04 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2016, 8:14 am
Minnesota has won three straight games entering the postseason, but that might not mean much. (AP)...
Minnesota has won three straight games entering the postseason, but that might not mean much. (AP)
(AP)

Momentum is a big subject in the NFL this time of year.

Specifically, who’s got it going into the playoffs. No team in the NFC has built more over the past month than the Washington Epithets, who have won four in a row. Seattle’s first-round opponent, Minnesota, is right behind with three straight wins. Kansas City has the longest streak of any team in either conference with 10 consecutive victories.

How Super Bowl champions have played entering the postseason: 2002-2014
Season Champion Streak Dec. W/L
2014 Patriots Lost 1 3-1
2013 Seahawks Won 1 3-2
2012 Ravens Lost 1 1-4
2011 Giants Won 2 3-2
2010 Packers Won 2 3-2
2009 Saints Lost 3 2-3
2008 Steelers Won 1 3-1
2007 Giants Lost 1 3-2
2006 Colts Won 1 2-3
2005 Steelers Won 4 4-1
2004 Patriots Won 2 4-1
2003 Patriots Won 12 4-0
2002 Bucs Won 1 3-2

Except it’s not about racking up wins heading into the playoffs, it’s about racking up wins in the playoffs. History provides a pretty good lesson in that regard.

Over the previous 11 seasons, there have been 17 teams that entered the playoffs having won five or more games in a row. That includes last year’s Seahawks, who won their final six regular-season games. Not one of those 17 teams won the Super Bowl.

In fact, take it a step further and you can say it’s more likely for a team riding a significant win streak to lose its first playoff game than to reach the Super Bowl.

Of those 17 teams that had won five or more games entering the postseason, seven lost their first game in the playoffs while just three reached the Super Bowl.

Danny and Gallant Show

Wyman & Bob

Danny ONeil

Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Seahawks have uncertainty with a player ‘holding in,’ but it’s not Quandre Diggs

While Quandre Diggs appears to be the third Seahawks player to "hold-in" during training camp, Danny O'Neil writes that it's Duane Brown whose future is up in the air.
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

AZ Good AZ it Gets

SPONSORED – Phoenix was the place where the rest of the country found out that Seattle fans took their enthusiasm on the road with them. That was 2013. It’s also the place where I discovered how restorative a desert vacation can be. That was 2015. Let’s start with the screaming. That’s what caught everyone’s attention […]
1 year ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Mariners aren’t handing the spotlight over to Seahawks just yet

This is the time of year that Seattle tends to shift its focus to the gridiron, but the Mariners are still commanding attention.
1 year ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: When Seahawks decide not to extend players, they’re rarely wrong

If you think the Seahawks must sign Duane Brown to an extension, when's the last time they opted against re-signing someone and it came back to bite them?
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Oh, LA, LA!

Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager. There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than […]
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Star in a Lone Star Adventure

Week 14, Dec. 12: Seattle at Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 10 a.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Enchiladas and greatness. That’s what I think of in Texas. The enchiladas are pretty straightforward. They’re so delicious at El Tiempo Cantina that it’s hard to take a bite without closing my eyes. There are three locations though the one […]
1 year ago
NFL history shows momentum isn’t everything heading into playoffs