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Food for thought for Championship Sunday

Championship Sunday is great football because the losers go home and the winners move on to the Super Bowl. No second chances, no ties, just two football games with everything on the line. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you sit down for a Sunday of football action as the Chargers play the Patriots and the Giants play the Packers ...

  1. The San Diego Chargers will travel east three time zones to take on the Patriots. That happened 17 times in the regular season with the Chargers, Seahawks, Raiders, 49ers and Cardinals (Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone but does not use Daylight Savings Time). The combined record of the teams traveling from the Pacific Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone was 3-14. Surprisingly, the Raiders traveled to Miami and won. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Chargers, meanwhile, came east twice and lost to New England and Jacksonville, although they did beat Indianapolis in the playoffs last week. West-to-east travel across the country is not a good thing for most football teams.
  1. Let's take a look at the history of where each of the four teams were seeded this year and the history of success on Championship Sunday since 1990. The Giants are the NFC's No. 5 seed, and history says this is the biggest mountain to climb of the four teams left in the playoffs. A fifth seed in the NFC has only made it to the championship round once in the past 17 years, and it didn't win. In other words, no fifth seed has ever gone to the Super Bowl. The Chargers are the No. 3 AFC seed. The No. 3 seed has gone to the championship game twice and split. The 2006 Colts were the only No. 3 seed to win the Super Bowl. The Packers are the NFC's No. 2 seed. The second seed in the NFC has made it to the championship game eight times and won five of those games. In fact, the No. 2 seed in the NFC has won two of its five Super Bowl appearances. The Patriots are a No. 1 seed in the AFC. The No. 1 seed has gone to the conference championship 10 times and won six. But the AFC's No. 1 seed has only won two Super Bowls.
  1. Home cooking, when it comes to Brett Favre and Tom Brady, will be a key on Sunday. When these two quarterbacks have played a playoff game at home they are a combined 16-2. While Brady has won all eight of his home playoff games, Favre is 8-2 at Lambeau in the postseason.
  1. Take a look at what San Diego is trying to accomplish. The Chargers started out the season 1-3 and put themselves in a deep hole. How deep? Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, 370 teams have started out 1-3 or worse. Only 29 teams (7.8 percent) rallied to make the playoffs. Only five of those 29 teams made it to the conference championship game (1.4 percent). And only one team made it to the Super Bowl (0.3 percent). Well, at least it has been done before, and that makes it possible.
  1. If it comes down to a field goal at Lambeau Field, cross your fingers if you're a Giants fan. There have been 15 playoff games at the famous home of the Green Bay Packers and opposing teams have attempted eight field goals from at least 40 yards in those 15 games. They were all missed.
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