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9 eye-opening stats heading into NFL Divisional Playoffs

NFL Divisional Playoffs
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Divisional Playoffs are right around the corner with eight teams battling for just four spots in the conference championship games next week. The best teams in football take the field on Saturday and Sunday, which means we get to spotlight some absurd stats from the 2022 season.

It won’t come as a surprise that many of the statistics entering the NFL Divisional Playoffs support Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes winning MVP. However, there are plenty of other numbers that need to be highlighted so some unheralded stars and teams around the league can receive some overdue recognition.

As we preview every game got Saturday and Sunday’s NFL Divisional Playoffs slate, there are plenty of statistics that football fans should keep in mind before kickoff.

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NFL Divisional Playoff stats: Numbers to know

Let’s dive into the statistics football fans should know that will influence matchups in the NFL Divisional Playoffs and determine what teams advance to the AFC and NFC Championship Games.

113.5 – Patrick Mahomes’ QB rating vs blitz

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Blitzing Patrick Mahomes is never a good idea. He posted a 135.8 passer rating when blitzed in 2020 followed by a 114.4 QB rating in 2021. In this past regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback tore defenses apart when they sent an extra pass rusher. Mahomes led the NFL in touchdowns (15) and TD-INT rate (15-3) with the fourth-highest passing yards (1,231) vs the blitz. In fact, Mahomes is a worse quarterback (102.6 QB rating, 26-9 TD-INT) when not blitzed.

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0 – Sacks and QB hits allowed by Lane Johnson in 2022

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. A three-time All-Pro selection, including first-team honors in 2022, Johnson literally sealed the edge on the right side of Philadelphia’s offensive line, He didn’t allow a single sack or quarterback hit in 551 pass-block snaps, something no NFL player has done (minimum 500 snaps) in more than a decade. Even if he isn’t fully healthy, playing through a torn adductor, he is a difference-maker.

355 – Receiving yards by Gabriel Davis in last three playoff games

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Gabriel Davis is becoming the NFL’s version of Mr. October. As the Buffalo Bills head into the NFL Divisional Playoffs, it’s a safe bet that Davis will make at least one big play. In his last three postseason games, the 6-foot-2 speedster has erupted for 355 receiving yards. If that’s not enough to warrant consideration for a nickname, he also scored six touchdowns. Davis has already tied Julio Jones and Plaxico Burress among the all-time leaders in playoff receiving touchdowns. Still just 23 years old, he could tie Hall of Famers Michael Irvin, James Lofton and Cris Carter (eight) in short order. Depending on how long he stays in Buffalo, Larry Fitzgerald (10) might be in trouble.

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34.8 – San Francisco 49ers’ PPG since Brock Purdy became starting QB

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury, just about everyone wrote off the San Francisco 49ers as a bonafide threat to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Brock Purdy was an unknown, recognized more for being Mr. Irrelevant than anything else. Now, he is leading arguably the best team in the NFC as they host a critical game in the NFL Divisional Playoffs.

Incredibly, San Francisco is averaging 34.8 points per game since he became the starter. While it’s only a six-game stretch, it would make them the highest-scoring team in the NFL (29.2 PPG, Kansas City Chiefs). One other notable stat, San Francisco boasts a 46.2% third-down conversion rate with Purdy as its starting quarterback.

-5 – Worst turnover margin ever by a winning team in a playoff game

Syndication: USA TODAY
Corey Perrine / USA TODAY NETWORK

Not only did the Jacksonville Jaguars pull off one of the largest comebacks in NFL playoff history, but they also set their own record along the way. The Jaguars set the record for the worst turnover margin (-5) ever by a winning playoff team. If that’s not enough, they became just the 16th team with a -5 turnover margin to win a game in NFL history (16-325 record all time).

70 – Sacks by the Philadelphia Eagles defense

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2022 and it nearly made history in the process. The Eagles became just the fourth team in NFL history to record 70-plus sacks in a season, joining the ’87 Chicago Bears (70 in 15 games), ’89 Minnesota Vikings (71 sacks in 16 games) and ’84 Bears (72 sacks in 16 games).

Furthermore, Philadelphia set the NFL record with four players recording double-digit sacks in a season. Haason Reddick (16), Javon Hargrave (11), Brandon Graham (11) and Josh Sweat (11) led the way. Incredibly, the Eagles pass rush could be even stronger in the NFL Divisional Playoffs thanks to the return of Robert Quinn.

81% – Daniel Jones’ On-Target throw rate

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s officially a breakout season for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. In Sunday’s Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Jones became just the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw two touchdowns, rush for 70-plus yards and throw for 200-plus yards in a postseason game. However, we are focusing on what Jones did in the regular season.

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New York’s emerging star led the NFL in On-Target rate (81%), becoming one of the most accurate passers in football this season. Taking things one step further, he posted the third-highest QB rating (119.4) on throws 20-plus yards downfield. Brian Daboll certainly deserves a lot of credit, but Jones is causing legitimate problems for NFL defenses with both his legs and arm this season.

115.3 – Joe Burrow’s fourth-quarter QB rating

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The comparisons to Tom Brady don’t always feel that absurd. After carrying the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl last season, Joe Burrow is once again rolling into the NFL Divisional Playoffs. There are a number of stats worth highlighting, but the microscope here is focused on his output in crunch time.

Not only did Burrow lead all starting quarterbacks in fourth-quarter passer rating (115.3), but he was also one of the most effective passers in the final 15 minutes. He completed 70.2% (2nd in the NFL) of his 131 pass attempts with 11 touchdown passes and a league-high 8.4% touchdown rate.

48 – Pressures by Chris Jones in the last 10 games

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is left out of the conversation of the best players in the NFL far too often. The 28-year-old earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2022, giving him four All-Pro selections since 2018. In a league with so many dominant forces on the defensive line, Jones separated himself with some absurd play to close out the regular season.

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In his final 10 games, the 6-foot-6 defensive tackle recorded 48 pressures. Interior disruption is the best way to disrupt opposing quarterbacks and no one has done it better than Jones since November. If the 48 pressures aren’t enough to entice you, he also recorded 21 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks during that stretch. He’s going to be an unblockable force in the NFL Divisional Playoffs.

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus, ESPN and Pro Football Reference