History on AFC No. 1 Seeds This Century

History on AFC No. 1 Seeds This Century
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Ravens have achieved every NFL team’s regular-season objectives. They have won their division, the AFC North, and they’ve locked up the AFC No. 1 seed, which means the road to the Super Bowl for the AFC goes through Baltimore.

Now, the 13-4 Ravens are hunting for the biggest NFL prize, the Super Bowl.

To that end, BetMaryland.com got in a Maryland sports betting mindset and examined what history tells about being the top seed in the AFC.

Several advantages come with being the No. 1 seed.  For starters, the Ravens will get a bye week to rest a bit and game plan in anticipation of a next-round opponent. And, of course, the Ravens will enjoy the benefit of playing in M&T Bank Stadium. Interestingly, in 2023, the Ravens forged a better record on the road (7-1) than at home (6-3). Still, head coach John Harbaugh’s squad is grateful to be playing in front of an enthusiastic and supportive home crowd.

In looking at past performances of AFC No. 1 seeds starting with the 2000-01 season, the history is encouraging. 

Utilizing NFL.com, BetMaryland.com – your source for Maryland sports betting promos - looked at how NFL teams fared in the playoffs taking into account their seeding and focusing on the AFC. Since 2000-01, obviously there have been 23 No. 1 seeds in the conference. 

Of that number, 15 of the 23 No. 1 seeds (65.2%) have won their Divisional Round game. As a footnote, the NFL Playoffs were altered to include a No. 7 seed in 2020-21, which slightly alters the data.

Performance of AFC No. 1 Seeds (Since 2000)

SituationNumber of TeamsPercentage
Winning Divisional Round15 of 2365.2%
Winning Conference Championship12 of 2352.2%
Losing Super Bowl8 of 2334.8%
Winning Super Bowl4 of 2317.4%

This information is compiled by BetMaryland.com and is not available on Maryland sportsbook apps.

This Just In: It’s Good to Be the No. 1 Seed

Our research speaks well for the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds. Once the No. 1 seeds cleared the first hurdle of the Divisional Round, they won the Conference Championship more than half the time.  So, of the initial 23 No. 1 seeds, 12 (or 52.2%) advanced to the Super Bowl. And of that number, four went on to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, including late year’s champion, the Kansas City Chiefs.

The franchise history of the Ravens winning their two Super Bowls following the 2012 season and the 2000 campaign saw them start both of those playoff quests as No. 4 seeds. 

In 2012, the Ravens were 10-6 in the regular season and edged Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North. They also happened to lose four of their last five regular-season games. But quarterback Joe Flacco went on a four-game heater in the playoffs – only one of those games was at home – with Baltimore finally beating San Francisco, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII.

In 2000, when Baltimore had one of the all-time great defenses, the Ravens were 12-4 and finished in second place in the AFC Central Division (Tennessee finished first). That made the Ravens the No. 4 seed as a Wild Card. However, they allowed a total of just 23 points in four postseason games and won Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants, 34-7.

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Bill Ordine

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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