- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The No. 1 seeds in the NFL playoffs should have the best records in the conference championship games. They are the teams who are always guaranteed to play at home if they make it this far.
But, for some reason, it's actually the fourth seeds who have been nearly unbeatable in conference championship games. Since the current seeding system was introduced in 1999, the No. 4 seeds are 6-1 (.857) in conference championships, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The top seeds are 21-10 (.677), which is the second-best record in conference championship games.
The Ravens are hoping they're the latest fourth seed to advance to the Super Bowl when they play at New England on Sunday. The 1992 Bills, 1997 Broncos, 1999 Tennessee Titans, 2000 Ravens, 2008 Cardinals and 2011 Giants all won in the conference championship games as the No. 4 seed. The only fourth seed to lose in this round was the 2006 Patriots, who fell to the Colts.
Three No. 4 seeds went on to win the Super Bowl: the 1997 Broncos, who beat Green Bay, 31-24; the 2000 Ravens, who routed the Giants, 34-7; and the 2011 Giants, who edged the Patriots, 21-17.