Through six games of the postseason, the highest seeded team (the home team) has won each game. This happened despite two of those teams – Denver in the wild card round and San Francisco Saturday – being home underdogs.
Anyone familiar with gambling knows that at least one upset happens in the wild card round and, while less frequently, at least one upset happens in the divisional round. According to the outfit in Vegas, both have happened – road favorites Pittsburgh and New Orleans have both lost – but we find ourselves on the verge of history Sunday.
Since the current format of two wild card teams and six playoff teams per conference was instituted in 1990, there has never been an instance in which all eight home teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs have all won. All that stands between that happening are two prohibitive favorites – the 15-1 Packers at home against the New York Giants and Baltimore at home against a beaten and bruised Houston Texans team.
The Packers got a scare from the Giants, but, thanks to a couple of bombs in the waning seconds by Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay came away with a 38-35 win that kept them unbeaten and began the chatter of the Packers going the entire season undefeated.
The Giants have history on their side. In his last game as a Packer, the final pass Brett Favre threw in his illustrious Green Bay career was an overtime pick six in 2007 that sent the Giants to the Super Bowl (where they would upset an undefeated Patriots team) and the Packers to questioning whether to stick with the old gunslinger or go with an unproven Rodgers as their main man in the offense. One Super Bowl title later, the Packers aren't lamenting their decision, but the irony of history repeating itself may add some pressure to the Packers' run for a repeat championship.
The Ravens have the opportunity to erase the demons that have dogged their franchise for the last several years. Baltimore has become accustomed to having to win on the road, but, having exorcized the Pittsburgh demon that has plagued it in recent seasons, the Ravens have their own fate in their hands. Granted, it will entail winning today and having to go on the road to New England in order to get back to the Super Bowl, but the Texans may pose a more formidable challenge than many might think. After hammering the Bengals last weekend, it's clear they aren't intimidated by the violence inherent to the AFC North.
Will we see history made today with Packers and Ravens wins to keep the "all chalk" playoffs intact? Vikings fans rooting against the Pack hope not … and most could care less if the Ravens win or lose.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.