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Inside the Numbers: Giants vs. No. 1 seeds

LAWRENCE-TAYLOR
New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor runs after recovering a 49ers fumble in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game to help win the game 15-13 in San Francisco on Jan. 20, 1991. 49ers in photo are quarterback Steve Young (8), Jesse Sapolu (61), and Guy McIntyre (62). (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Predicting the outcome of an NFL postseason game based on past results is always a dicey proposition, particularly when the games used in the forecasting stretch back 32 years. But one historical index will be in the Giants' favor tomorrow night in Philadelphia.

The sixth-seeded Giants will visit the top-seeded Eagles with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Since the playoffs were expanded to 12 teams in each conference in 1990, the Giants are an NFL-best 6-0 against No. 1 seeds. They beat the top seeds in both conferences in each of their last three Super Bowl-winning seasons:

Table inside Article
GameOpp.Result
1990 NFC ChampionshipSFGiants, 15-13
Super Bowl XXVBUFGiants, 20-19
2007 Divisional PlayoffDALGiants, 21-17
Super Bowl XLIINEGiants, 17-14
2011 Divisional PlayoffGBGiants, 37-20
Super Bowl XLVINEGiants, 21-17

View rare photos of the Giants' Divisional Round playoff games through the years.

The Giants have the best winning percentage vs. No. 1 seeds since 1990 (minimum two games):

  • Giants: 6-0
  • Buccaneers: 4-1
  • Cowboys: 2-1
  • Patriots: 7-4

*Six consecutive playoff victories vs. top seeds is the longest such winning streak by any team since the NFL began seeding playoff teams in 1975.

  • Giants: 6 (1990-Active)
  • Patriots: 5 (2001-2007)
  • Buccaneers: 4 (2002-Active)
  • 49ers: 3 (1988-1989)

All four of those teams won multiple Super Bowls during their span (10 combined).

*The Eagles, who won a franchise-record 14 regular-season games, are a No. 1 seed for the fifth time. They lost the conference championship game in 2002 and 2003, lost the Super Bowl in 2004, and won the Super Bowl in 2017.

*The NFC's top seed was defeated in the divisional round or the conference title game in three of the last four seasons. Green Bay lost a divisional playoff game to San Francisco last year and the NFC Championship Game to Tampa Bay in 2020. New Orleans lost the title game to the Rams in 2018. The following season, San Francisco lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

*The Giants lost both regular-season games against the Eagles, including the season finale in Philadelphia 12 days ago. Since 1970, 24 teams have gone 0-2 against an opponent and met that team a third time in the postseason. Those teams are 9-15 in the third game, including 6-12 on the road. The most recent of those games was San Francisco's win over the Seahawks last week in the wild card round. One of the winners were the 2007 Giants, who lost twice to Dallas in the regular season but defeated the Cowboys in the second round of the playoffs in Texas Stadium.

*The Giants are 6-2 in road playoff games over the last 20 seasons, a .750 winning percentage that is the best by any team during span (minimum 5 games).

*Over the last two postseasons, road teams are 0-6 against division opponents (0-3 in 2021 and 0-3 last weekend).

*The Giants and Eagles split four previous playoff matchups. The Giants won a 1981 wild card game and a 2000 divisional round game, while Philadelphia won a 2006 wild card game and a 2008 division playoff. The 1981 and 2006 games were played in Philadelphia. The Giants outscored the Eagles in those four games, 78-77.

*This will be the Giants' seventh postseason game against an NFC East opponent since 1970. They are 2-2 vs. Philadelphia and 1-0 against both Dallas and Washington.

*The NFC East is the first division since the 2002 realignment with three teams in the divisional round.

*Brian Daboll is the first rookie head coach to lead his team to the divisional round since Cleveland's Kevin Stefanski in 2020 and could become the first to reach a conference championship game since Green Bay's Matt LaFleur in 2019.

*Daboll can become the first Giants rookie head coach to win two postseason games. The last NFL first-year head coaches to win their first two games were Indianapolis' Jim Caldwell and the Jets' Rex Ryan in 2009.

*Last week in Minnesota, Daniel Jones became the sixth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career postseason start in a Giants uniform. He was the fourth to win his debut.

Table inside Article
NAMEDATERATINGRESULT
Scott Brunner12/27/8194.0W, 27-21
Phil Simms12/23/8485.3W, 16-13
Jeff Hostetler1/13/91117.8W, 31-3
Danny Kanell12/27/9780.1L, 23-22
Eli Manning1/8/0635.0L, 23-0
Daniel Jones1/15/23114.1W, 31-24

*Jones led the team with 78 yards rushing against Minnesota. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first quarterback since at least 1950 to lead the Giants in rushing in a postseason game.

*Jones' 17 carries were the second-most by a Giants quarterback in a postseason game, behind Ed Danowski's 20 on Dec 9, 1934. Danowski held the former yardage record with 59 in that 1934 NFL Championship Game. Jones was the first NFL quarterback with at least 17 postseason rushing attempts since Baltimore's Lamar Jackson had 20 on Jan. 11, 2020, vs. Tennessee.

*It took just one game for Jones to establish the Giants' quarterback rushing record for a single postseason. Hostetler held the record with 64 in 1990.

*Elias considers Jones the Giants' career postseason rushing recordholder. The only possible quarterback with more is Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans with 92.

Leemans played in four postseason games with the Giants:

  • 1938: 43 yards
  • 1939: 22 yards
  • 1941: 52 yards
  • 1943: minus-25 yards

Leemans had two pass attempts in 1938 and four in 1939, but Danowski was the team's primary quarterback.

*Jones is the first quarterback in NFL postseason history with 300+ passing yards (301), two touchdown passes and 70+ rushing yards.

*Jones is the third quarterback in postseason history to record 375+ offensive yards and win their first playoff start, joining the Rams' Kurt Warner in 1999 and the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick in 2012.

*Saquon Barkley scored on runs of 28 and two yards against the Vikings, the first time he rushed for two touchdowns in a game since Dec. 15, 2019, vs. Miami (on runs of one and 10 yards.

*Barkley rushed for 53 yards on nine carries and added 56 yards on five receptions. He is the first starting running back in the Super Bowl era to have 100+ scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns on fewer than 15 touches in a single playoff game. He is also the first Giants back with 50+ receiving yards and two touchdowns in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

*Daniel Bellinger scored on a nine-yard pass from Jones against the Vikings and is just the third Giants rookie tight end with a postseason touchdown reception. The others were Mark Bavaro on Dec. 29, 1985, and Jeremy Shockey on Jan. 5, 2003, both against San Francisco.

*Darius Slayton had one carry for three yards. He is the first Giants wide receiver with a rushing attempt in a postseason game since Ike Hilliard (minus-1 yard) and Amani Toomer (six yards) each had one vs. Philadelphia on Jan. 7, 2021.

*The Giants' 53.8 third-down conversion percentage (7-for-13) in Minnesota was their highest in a postseason game since Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991, when they converted 56.3% of their opportunities (9-for-16) against Buffalo.

View photos from the Giants' 31-24 Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

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