NFL Playoff Predictions 2013: Which Bubble Teams Will Sneak into Postseason

Alex HallCorrespondent IIIDecember 16, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13:   Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball as  DeMeco Ryans #59 of the Philadelphia Eagles defends on December 13, 2012 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The NFL playoff picture is not exactly crystal clear when looking at the wild-card scenarios. With so many 7-6 and 6-7 teams in both conferences, it's going to be a battle to the end.

Don't stress, though; here are the four bubble teams that will fill out the NFC and AFC wild-card spots.




Cincinnati Bengals

The AFC North is probably the toughest division to predict in the NFL right now. The Ravens, Steelers and Bengals all have divisional games the rest of the season.

It's not an easy prediction to make, but the Bengals have the easier road to the Wild Card than Pittsburgh. Baltimore, meanwhile, should take the division.

The Steelers would have to beat the Dallas Cowboys on the road with a rusty Ben Roethlisberger and then defeat the Bengals in Week 16. While Pittsburgh will have home-field advantage in that second contest, a loss to Dallas could swing morale for that game.

The Steelers game on Dec. 23 will be a very important matchup for both teams, but I see the Bengals pulling it off. Finishing the season with the Ravens won't be easy, but they have lost two in a row.


Indianapolis Colts

The Colts don't have the easiest schedule ahead, considering they still have to play Houston twice. However, they have a nice buffer thanks to their 9-4 record.

Indianapolis has the ability to split its two games with the AFC South leader, but even going 1-2 down the stretch with just a win over Kansas City should be enough.

The Colts aren't going to lose to the Chiefs, and dropping both games to the Texans doesn't hurt their playoff chances unless the Steelers run the table. Indy has a far better road and likelihood to take the Wild Card or even AFC South division than the Steelers do to a wild-card berth. 




Washington Redskins

Even without Robert Griffin III in Week 15 and maybe longer, the 'Skins will sneak into the postseason. Kirk Cousins proved that he can lead the team in Week 14, even if it wasn't in a full four quarters of work.

Washington won't be able to take home the NFC East title nor will it defeat Dallas in Week 17. Then again, the 'Skins don't need to do either to reach the playoffs. All they have to do is beat the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles in two straight weeks.

With the New York Giants facing the Falcons and Ravens in those same two weeks, Dallas and Washington can jump into first and second place in the division if both capitalize. If the Giants sit at 9-7 at the end of the season along with the Redskins, Washington would win the tiebreaker based on division wins.

There's a lot of moving parts that need to fall right for the Redskins to get this spot, but that doesn't mean it wont happen.


Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks do have two NFC West showdowns before this regular season wraps up, but that shouldn't stop a postseason berth for the team.

Seattle currently sits at 8-5 and faces Buffalo, San Francisco and St. Louis to finish out the regular season. While the 49ers will be a tough game to win, it is at home where the Seahawks are the toughest to beat.

Even without a win against San Fran, though, the Seahawks just need to defeat two teams that they will be favored to beat. The Bills and Rams combine for a 11-14-1 record on the 2012 season, which is just three more wins than the Seahawks have recorded this year.

Seattle is a team that has an impressive rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson and a stout defense to back his offense up. This team can go far, and thanks to a rather easy schedule, it will have the chance to do so in the postseason this year.