5

The Philadelphia Eagles hosted and beat the Atalanta Falcons on NFC's Divisional playoffs round of the 2017-18 NFL season. The eagles became the first top seed team since the 70's to host a playoff game as an underdog. The Eagles were considered the underdogs mainly because their starting Quarterback Carson Wentz had a season ending leg injury a month earlier and the team did not perform as well with the backup QB Nick Foles.

How many times the top seed of an NFL conference started their first postseason game as an underdog in the history of the NFL?

4

There have only been 7 times in NFL history that a home team in the divisional round was an underdog (source: Pro Football Reference). Here is a list of the games:

1979-80 #2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4.5-point underdogs to Philadelphia Eagles. Won Game
1981-82 #2 Miami Dolphins, 2.5-point underdogs to San Diego Chargers. Lost Game
1982-83 #2 Miami Dolphins, 1.5-point underdogs to San Diego Chargers. Won Game
1996-97 #2 Carolina Panthers, 3.5-point underdogs to Dallas Cowboys. Won Game
2011-12 #2 San Francisco 49ers, 3.5-point underdogs to New Orleans Saints. Won Game
2013-14 #2 Carolina Panthers, 1.0-point underdogs to San Francisco 49ers. Lost Game
2017-18 #1 Philadelphia Eagles, 2.5-point underdogs to Atlanta Falcons. Won Game

It appears that they were all the #2 seed, beside the Eagles.

Here is a list of the #1 seeds who were underdogs in a hosted game. They all occurred in Conference Championship Games:

1978-79 #1 LA Rams, 3.5-point underdogs to Dallas Cowboys, NFC Championship. Lost Game
1981-82 #1 San Francisco 49ers, 3.0-point underdogs to Dallas Cowboys, NFC Championship. Won Game
1982-83 #1 Washington Redskins, 2.0-point underdogs to Dallas Cowboys, NFC Championship. Won Game
1988-89 #1 Chicago Bears, 2.0-point underdogs to San Francisco 49ers, NFC Championship. Lost Game
1997-98 #1 San Francisco 49ers, 1.5-point underdogs to Green Bay Packers, NFC Championship. Lost Game
2000-01 #1 NY Giants, 1.0-point underdogs to Minnesota Vikings, NFC Championship. Won Game
2004-05 #1 Pittsburgh Steelers, 3.0-point underdogs to New England Patriots, AFC Championship. Lost Game
2012-13 #1 Atlanta Falcons, 4.5-point underdogs to San Francisco 49ers, NFC Championship. Lost Game
2015-16 #1 Denver Broncos, 3.0-point underdogs to New England Patriots, AFC Championship. Won Game
2017-18 #1 Philadelphia Eagles, 3.0-point underdogs to Minnesota Vikings, NFC Championship. Won Game (By a lot!)

Source: Pro Football Reference. Just went through and checked which ones were the #1 seed in their conference.

  • "point dogs"? (we are not all american...) – Rolazaro Azeveires Jan 20 '18 at 1:52
  • 1
    I left out some hyphens and abbreviated "underdog" to dog. When I write "3.5 point dogs" I meant "3.5-point underdogs", meaning that the team was picked by bettors to lose the game by 3.5 points. For reference in American Football, a field goal is 3 points and a touchdown is ~7. I'll go through and make it clearer! – Pawr Jan 20 '18 at 2:03

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