By JERRY TAPP
How many points will a team need to score to win the AFC or NFC title game?
We’re down to the final three games of the NFL season: In the AFC, the New England Patriots will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs; in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints will host the Los Angeles Rams. The winners will square off in the Super Bowl.
Since the NFC-AFC merger back in 1970, it appears that if a team scored 20 or more points in a conference championship game, they had a pretty good chance of winning the game and advancing to the Super Bowl.
Since 1970, teams that scored 20 or more points were 82-25 (.766 winning percentage) in the conference title game. In the AFC Championship Games since ’70, teams that scored 20 or more were 43-11 (.796) while NFC teams playing in the title game were 39-14 (.736) when they scored 20+ points in the title contest.
Here’s a breakdown of record of teams in each conference championship game based on the number of points they scored in the contest.
Points scored AFC NFC Total
0-9 0-10 1-16 1-26 .037
10-19 5-27 8-18 13-45 .224
20-29 26-9 21-14 47-23 .671
30-39 12-2 14-0 26-2 .929
40 or more points 5-0 4-0 9-0 1.000
As you can see, only two teams that scored 30 or more points in a championship game since 1970 lost the title game: Indianapolis defeated the New England Patriots 38-34 in 2006 and the Denver beat Cleveland in a 1987 season title game, 38-33.
The only team to win a conference title game by scoring fewer than 10 points were the Rams in 1979; they defeated Tampa Bay 9-0.
Following are 10 stats you may not know concerning the AFC and NFC Championship Games since the 1970 merger:
Most appearances: AFC (Pittsburgh, 16), NFC (San Francisco, 15)
Most wins: AFC (New England, 10), NFC (Dallas, 8)
Most losses: AFC (Pittsburgh, 8), NFC (San Francisco, 9)
Last title: AFC (NY Jets, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Kansas City have never won an AFC Championship Game; Miami has the longest drought of teams that have previously won a title since 1970: they last won in 1984/ NFC (Detroit has never won an NFC Championship Game since 1970; Minnesota has the longest drought of teams that have previously won a title since 1970… they last won in 1976.
Most home games: AFC (Pittsburgh, 11), NFC (San Francisco, 9)
Most home wins: AFC (New England, 7), NFC (Washington, 5)
Most home losses: AFC (Pittsburgh, 5), NFC (San Francisco, 5)
Most away games: AFC (New England & the Raiders, 6 each), NFC (Dallas, 9)
Most away wins: AFC (New Englland, 3), NFC (Dallas, 4)
Most away losses: AFC (Raiders, 5), NFC (Dallas and Minnesota, 5 each)
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