Beating a team three times not as hard as it sounds

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Beating a team three times in one season is hard to do. Unless it isn’t.

One of the conventional wisdoms about the difficulty of dominating opponents you see on a regular basis doesn’t hold up to actual math, which is good news for people worried about the Saints after they swept the Panthers in the regular season and have to face them in the wild card round Sunday.

Via ESPN.com, since the 1970 merger, 20 teams have had to face a divisional opponent in the playoffs after beating them twice in the regular season. Thirteen of those teams won the third matchup (65 percent).

So while it might not necessarily mean anything to the Saints and the Panthers this year, perhaps it will at least kill a cliche.

The last team to lose in such a situation was the 2007 Cowboys, who beat the Giants twice in the regular season but lost in the divisional round, as the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.

18 responses to “Beating a team three times not as hard as it sounds

  1. If Cam continues to throw balls that his receivers can’t reach, there’s no way that Carolina advances. I don’t know if his shoulder is still bothering him, but he’s definitely lost what little throwing touch he has the last couple of games.

  2. Rdog says:
    January 2, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I predict the Panthers to win anyways
    __________________________________

    Well given your well known impressive credentials as an anonymous poster to an internet comments section should we all now bet the house on it? Or should we wait until you post ‘book it’ before we fully commit?

  3. But, you are looking at just one subset, that of teams that have already beaten the other team twice and then faced them in the playoffs. If you included all times that two teams have met three times (which would include a regular season split), and then looked at how many times a team had won all three, your percentage of either team winning all three would be much lower. Statistics can be manipulated to show many different results, depending on how you pick your sample group.

  4. Does anyone else remember the year Jacksonville went 14-2 in the regular season with their only losses being to Tennessee? I do. They met Tennessee again in the AFC Championship and was bested 34-17.

    I don’t really have a point, I just remember being really upset about it as a kid.

  5. Here’s hoping for 1999 all over again. That season the Titans not only enjoyed a 3-game sweep of the Jaguars (including the AFC Championship), they were the only team the Jags lost to all year. That was the post-season Jeff Fisher joked that EverBank Field was the Titans’ “other home field”

    Six years later, I attended a Titans game in Jacksonville and their fans still weren’t over it. Three times during that game, the stadium broke out into thunderous “Fish-er sucks! Fish-er Sucks” chants. … I immediately texted a fellow fan in Nashville and explained, “Fisher is an even bigger rock star here than he is in Nashville. They HATE the guy.”

  6. commentawaitingdeletion says:

    January 2, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Well given your well known impressive credentials as an anonymous poster to an internet comments section should we all now bet the house on it? Or should we wait until you post ‘book it’ before we fully commit?
    ——————————————————
    Chill out, man – I’m just giving a simple prediction. I have no rooting interest or financial interest in this game. This is a comment section where we can make comments. I was commenting that I simply think the Panthers will win. You obviously think otherwise. That’s fine. You’re in the majority.

  7. Saints are best team in NFC will go to Philadelphia and bet them regardless of the weather just like 2013. Then will go to NFC CG in Min or LA and beat them.

  8. I think it’s only hard to beat a team three times if the teams are evenly matched, and the teams tend not to be evenly matched if one team has already won twice. I’m reminded of 2004 when the Packers beat the Vikings twice, each time by a score of 34-31, and both games went down to the wire. When they met in the playoffs, the Vikings won 31-17.

    This year, the Saints beat the Panthers pretty handily both times so I would expect the Saints to be likely to win a third time.

  9. I remember years ago the Chiefs beat the Raiders 3 times in 1 season, including beating them the last week of regular season and 1st week of playoffs.

  10. twinfan24 says:
    January 2, 2018 at 11:01 am
    But, you are looking at just one subset, that of teams that have already beaten the other team twice and then faced them in the playoffs. If you included all times that two teams have met three times (which would include a regular season split), and then looked at how many times a team had won all three, your percentage of either team winning all three would be much lower. Statistics can be manipulated to show many different results, depending on how you pick your sample group.
    ========================

    Huh? If two teams split the regular season, by definition one team cant beat the other team 3 times. The whole point is that people often say “beating a team 3 times is hard”. Anything other than one team winning the first 2 games is irrelevant. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that 0% of teams that split the regular season were able to beat their opponent 3 times

  11. As a Panther fan, I did not want to see the Saints again. After it was clear that we were screwing the pooch in Atlanta on Sunday, I was pulling for the Saints to go ahead and win to avoid this third game.

    If the Panthers play like they have the past two weeks, then this one could be over by half time.

    Having said that, it is not like the Saints tore it up last week either against a team with nothing really to play for so I think there is concern for both teams.

  12. Saints will not lose at home. Say what you will, but divisional rivals always play each other harder than other teams. Falcons and Panthers both barely beat the Bucs. Sick of other fans acting like they have it all figured out. Let’s just let the games play out which is why they are played in the first place.

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