NFL Playoff Predictions 2012-13: Projecting Which Teams Earn Wild-Card Spots

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 17, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 09:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 talks with Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game against the San Diego Chargers on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Predicting who will make the 2012-13 NFL playoffs is supposed to become easier as the season progresses.

However, thanks to teams like the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, it only continues to get more difficult.

Here’s who will lock up each of the wild-card seeds.


AFC – 5th Seed: Indianapolis Colts

Right now, Indy is 9-5. It would have to lose out to miss the postseason. With the Kansas City Chiefs on the schedule next week, that isn’t happening.

The Colts will most likely lose to the Houston Texans again in Week 17 (unless Houston chooses to rest its starters, of course), but the Cincinnati Bengals are unlikely to win out and steal the fifth seed with the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers as their final two opponents.


AFC – 6th Seed: Pittsburgh Steelers

Yes, Pittsburgh has just lost two straight games and three out of its last four. Nevertheless, if the Steelers win out, they’re still in.

Cincinnati and the Cleveland Browns are the two teams standing between them and the playoffs. Pittsburgh already beat the Bengals earlier this season and the Browns needed eight turnovers to knock off a Charlie Batch-led Steelers squad.

Unlike the Bengals, Pittsburgh knows how to win in December.


NFC – 5th Seed: Seattle Seahawks

If the Seahawks weren’t stopping scrubs, their last two efforts would have earned them the title of the NFL’s hottest team. Even if it was just against the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, Seattle still outscored its last two opponents by a grand total of 91 points. It would be absolutely shocking if Pete Carroll and company somehow missed the playoffs.

Sure, it will be difficult to defeat the dominant San Francisco 49ers next week. However, in a must-win Week 17 game at home against the St. Louis Rams, the Hawks will come out on top.


NFC – 6th Seed: New York Giants

Yes, New York was just embarrassed 34-0 by the Atlanta Falcons. Not only should you expect the Washington Redskins to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys to clinch the NFC East, though, but the Giants should be favored to make the postseason as well.

Last season, New York was upset by the lowly Rex Grossman-led Skins by the score of 23-10. It still fought its way into the playoffs and won the Super Bowl.

Against the slumping Eagles and Baltimore Ravens, the Giants will be fine.



 No. 1 Seed Houston Texans (12-2) Clinched AFC South
 No. 2 Seed Denver Broncos (11-3) Clinched AFC West
 No. 3 Seed New England Patriots (10-4) Clinched AFC East
 No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Lead AFC South; Clinched Playoff Berth


 No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (9-5)
 No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)


 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
 New York Jets (6-7)
 Miami Dolphins (6-8)



 No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (12-2) Clinched NFC South
 No. 2 Seed San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) Lead NFC West; Clinched Playoff Berth
 No. 3 Seed Green Bay Packers (9-4) Clinched NFC North
 No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (8-6) Lead NFC East


 No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
 No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (8-6)


 Chicago Bears (8-6)
 Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
 New York Giants (8-6)
 St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)
 New Orleans Saints (6-8)


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.