These stats show just how important the No. 1 seed is for Eagles

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These stats show just how important the No. 1 seed is for Eagles

As the Eagles warmed up before their game against the Rams two weeks ago, the big screen atop L.A. Memorial Coliseum showed Cam Newton running 62 yards down to the 8-yard-line in the Panthers' game against the Vikings in Charlotte.

It may have been one of the biggest plays of the year for the Eagles.

That 62-yard-run set up the winning touchdown with a minute left in the Panthers' win over the Vikings, a win that gives the Eagles a tiebreaker over the Vikings.

Largely because of Newton's long run, the Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC this weekend, either with a Vikings loss to the Packers Saturday or a win over the Raiders Monday.

If not, they'll get two more chances the last weekend of the season.

All of which leads to this question: How important is the No. 1 seed?

It guarantees nothing. But looking at NFL playoff history, it sure does give teams a huge advantage.

Let's take a look:

Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was introduced, No. 1 seeds have reached the Super Bowl 28 times — 13 times from the AFC and 15 times from the NFC.

So that's 28 of 54 No. 1 seeds, or 52 percent.

During the same 26-year span, only 15 No. 2 seeds have made it to the Super Bowl — eight from the AFC and seven from the NFC.

That's 28 percent. 

So historically, you have about close to twice as good a chance to get to the Super Bowl as a No. 1 seed than as a No. 2 seed.

Once you get there, the difference is minimal.

No. 1 seeds since 1990 are 13-15 in the Super Bowl, a 46 percent winning percentage, which is really not that much higher than No. 2 seeds, who are 6-9, a .400 winning percentage. 

Only three No. 1 seeds from the NFC have won the Super Bowl in the last 20 years — the Rams in 1999, the Saints in 2009 and the Seahawks in 2013. The last NFC No. 2 seed to win the Super Bowl was the 2002 Buccaneers, who beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at the Vet to get there.

The No. 1 seed in the AFC has won five Super Bowls since 1990 but won just two from 1990 through 2013 before winning the last three. No. 2 seeds out of the AFC have won just three Super Bowls since 1990.

Here's a look at the Super Bowl won-lost records by seed since the playoff field expanded in 1990.  

No. 1 seed: 13-15

No. 2 seed: 6-8

No. 3 seed: 1-1

No. 4 seed: 4-3

No. 5 seed: 1-0

No. 6 seed: 2-0

It’s been eight years since a No. 2 seed won the Super Bowl. That was the Steelers beating the No. 4 seed Cards in 2008. The last No. 2 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in a Super Bowl was the 2004 Patriots over the Eagles. The last NFC No. 2 to beat a No. 1 in a Super Bowl was Tampa, which beat the AFC’s top-seeded Raiders in 2002.

Matter of fact, since 1993, as many No. 4 seeds have won a Super Bowl as No. 2 seeds (four), despite having to play one more game to get there.

The home team is 8-0 over the last four years in the Championship Game round and 68-32 in the 50 years since the AFL-NFL merger. Upsets have been rare the last decade, with the higher seed winning 15 of 20 NFC Championship Games since 2006.

The only times the home teams lost both conference championship games since the merger were 1992 and 1996.

Teams seeded third and lower have reached the Super Bowl just 14 times but interestingly have a 9-5 record in those 14 Super Bowls.

In NFL history, teams playing at home are 87-51 in the wild-card round (.630), 149-61 in the conference semifinal round (.710) and 92-46 (.667) in the conference championship round.

Overall, that's 328-158, a .675 winning percentage.

How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

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How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

When you think about the best wide receivers in the NFL today, names like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins come to mind and rightfully so, but the Minnesota Vikings have a pair of wideouts who have given opposing secondaries fits.

This season, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been the perfect complement to each other. Thielen finished the regular season with 91 receptions (eighth-best in the league), 1276 yards (fifth-best) and his 20 catches for 20 or more yards tied for fifth-best overall. As for Diggs, he finished with 64 receptions for 849 yards.

Together, Thielen and Diggs accounted for 54 percent of the Vikings' receiving yards this season. They also combined for 12 touchdowns. In the Vikes' miraculous playoff win over the New Orleans Saints, they accounted for 66 percent of the passing game. They have been the safety valves for Case Keenum all season long.

Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has the rare luxury of lining up either one of them on the inside or outside on any given play. Both are excellent route runners — whether it's doing deep or intermediate routes or crossing routes, and both are excellent blockers.

So how should Jim Schwartz defend against these two? Some believe help over the top on Thielen and playing single coverage on Diggs is the way to go. We may see that concept occasionally in the NFC Championship Game but I have a feeling Schwartz will come up with some variation we have not seen before. The Eagles are not going to completely shut these two down, but their damage can be minimized. Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and the other DBs will put in a full day’s work shadowing these two.

Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

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Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

As the Eagles practiced on Thursday afternoon, just a few days before hosting the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stood next to owner Jeff Lurie and watched the team he created. 

Of the 53 members on the Eagles' roster heading into this championship game, 25 weren't on the active roster last season. Roseman had a very busy offseason, molding the Eagles into a Super Bowl contender. 

For his efforts, the 42-year-old Roseman, who began with the Eagles as an intern in 2000, has been named the NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. 

Roseman helped turn over a roster that went 7-9 last season into a team that went 13-3, earning the first-overall seed in the NFC. He built the team with enough depth to survive major injuries to Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis. 

Never afraid to make a trade, Roseman came back from his time away from football operations more aggressive than ever. He claims his year away from GM duties while Chip Kelly took over was both humbling and eye-opening. 

For this season, Roseman traded 25 spots in the third round to bring in veteran defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, traded away Jordan Matthews and a pick to bring in cornerback Ronald Darby and pulled the trigger on a midseason move to bring in Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi. 

In free agency, he signed Alshon Jeffery, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Nick Foles, Patrick Robinson and Chance Warmack. He brought in several of those players on one-year prove-it deals, and for the most part, the team has gotten more than their money's worth out of them. 

He also helped hire VP of player personnel Joe Douglas to revamp the scouting department. That hire of a top personnel man was one of the conditions when Lurie reinstated Roseman to power following Kelly's dismissal. 

Roseman and Douglas spearheaded drafting a class that included Derek Barnett in the first round, an injured Sidney Jones in the second and some other contributors in the next five rounds. 

Aside from just bringing players in, Roseman has been able to manipulate the salary cap better than anyone in the league. It's been a strength of his since his arrival in Philly, so that should be no surprise. 

You could actually argue that Roseman's 2016 was more impressive. That's when he laid the groundwork for this playoff season by moving up and drafting Carson Wentz. But 2017 is when it all came together.