The number one seed in the NFL playoffs in recent seasons

Mon, Jan 16, 2023
by CapperTek

The 2022/23 NFL season has reached its climax and the playoffs are now upon us. In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs are the highest-seeded team after recording 14-3 in the regular season. As such, OddsChecker, which compares NFL odds and free bets, has made Patrick Mahomes and co. the favorites for Super Bowl success this term. 


Their record could have been matched by the Buffalo Bills. However, their penultimate game of the season was canceled courtesy of a serious injury suffered by Damar Hamlin. In the NFC, the top seeds are the Philadelphia Eagles. They have the same record as the aforementioned Chiefs, and both sides pass directly to the divisional finals, bypassing the wildcard round. 


Being the top seed in the NFL playoffs comes with a lot of pressure. It means you have the best record and the best chance of securing a Super Bowl victory. But with that success comes an immense amount of pressure to perform at the highest level.


In the last few years, the following teams have experienced the unique challenge of bearing the number one seed in the NFL playoffs:


2016 - New England Patriots

In 2016, the New England Patriots had the best record in the NFL with a 14-2 mark. They led the NFL in points per game, allowing the fewest points in defense, and also had the third-most total yards per game.


Spurred on by the brilliant Brady, the Boston-based outfits would convert their number-one status into success. Tom Brady and Co. went on to win the Super Bowl. They defeated the Houston Texans in the divisional round before beating the Pittsburgh Steelers to seal the conference championship. That set up a date with Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI, a tie which the Patriots would win by a score of 34-28. 


2017 - New England Patriots

In 2017, the New England Patriots were once again the top seed in the NFL playoffs, this time holding a 13-3 record. Led by Brady and a lethal offense, the Patriots were incredibly efficient on offense, scoring the second-most points per game and leading the league with the most total yards.


This time around, however, they were unable to convert their top-dog status into a second consecutive championship. They were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, who picked up a first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. 


2018 - New Orleans Saints

The 2018 season was the year of the Saints. With Drew Brees under center, the Saints had the league’s best record with a 13-3 mark. They had the third-most points per game on offense and allowed the fewest points per game on defense.


The Saints were, however, unable to reach the Super Bowl. They did progress past the divisional round, but were beaten in the conference championship game by the Patriots. 


2019 - Baltimore Ravens

Led by their dynamic quarterback, Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens finished the 2019 season with a 14-2 record. Their offense was the best in the NFL with the most total yards per game, and their defense was second-best in terms of points allowed per game.


The Ravens’ postseason campaign, however, couldn’t have gone any worse. They didn't even make it to the SuperBowl, and were dumped out in the divisional round by the Tennessee Titans. 


2020 - Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs were the number one seed in the 2020 season, finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record. Led by Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs led the NFL in total yards per game and were second in points scored per game.


Mahomes led his side to victories over the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills to reach the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season. The Chiefs were aiming to become the first team since the Patriots in the early 2000s to successfully retain the Lombardi Trophy. Tom Brady would have something to say about that. In his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, he led the Florida-based outfit to its first Super Bowl success in 18 years, on home turf nonetheless, denying the Chiefs their trophy.