As of the end of week 15 of 2016 season, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants have a chance of facing off in the playoffs. The Giants have dealt the Cowboys their only 2 losses of the season so far. Teams that are in the same division play each other 2 times during the regular season. So to beat a team 3 times, they must also meet in the playoffs. I'm wondering how many times has a team beaten a division rival 3 times in the same season in the NFL?

2 Answers 2


They always say that it is hard to beat the same team three times in one season. However, it happens periodically. Since 1950, it has happened 17 times:

  • Just for good measure, do you have a source? Did you compile these yourself??? If so, from where? That way it can be validated since it's a pretty complex list. But good answer Dec 24, 2016 at 9:53
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    @JeopardyTempest My source is each Wikipedia link; you can click on them and see the schedule for each team that year. I found a couple of partial lists online by Googling and filled them in with research from Wikipedia.
    – Ben Miller
    Dec 24, 2016 at 14:40
  • I'd like to know how hard it actually is. It happened 17 times out of how many opportunities? How many times has a team defeated another team twice and then met a third time in the playoffs? Nov 26, 2019 at 20:16
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    Fun fact for the 1999 titans vs jaguars: The jaguars got beaten 3 times throughout the whole season. And all 3 were to the titans! Feb 2, 2022 at 21:37

I wanted to supplement Ben Miller's answer with some information on how difficult it actually is to defeat a team 3 times in one season. It is often said that it is very difficult for an NFL team to beat another team 3 times in one season, but it turns out that is not true.

According to an ESPN article, from 1970 through 2019, teams that swept an opponent during the regular season and then faced them again in the playoffs won the playoff game 67% of the time:

I don't buy the old adage that "it's tough to beat a team three times," because since 1970 teams that beat a team twice in the regular season and saw them again in the playoffs are 14-7 in the rematch.

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