NFL Playoff Picture: 4 Teams No One Wants to Face in January

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IDecember 23, 2012

NFL Playoff Picture: 4 Teams No One Wants to Face in January

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    There are a handful of teams the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos do not want to play in the playoffs. 

    They're traditionally known as sleepers or dark horses, and they have the personnel to make deep runs in January. 

    Remember, the 2010 Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed in the NFC, and the 2007 New York Giants did the same. 

    It can happen.

Washington Redskins

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    With Robert Griffin III under center, the Washington Redskins are super scary. 

    RG3's pinpoint precision from the pocket, threat of the downfield bomb and scrambling ability from the read-option that also features 1,000-yard rusher Alfred defense wants to deal with Mike Shanahan's unit. 

    Only the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots average more touchdowns per drive than the Redskins according to Football Outsiders, and we all know teams can advance deep into the playoffs with a dynamic offense and a relatively porous secondary. 

    That's exactly what Washington has. 

    A quarterback like Griffin III can lead his team on a magical postseason run. 

    Teams won't be happy to see the Redskins in January. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    The Seahawks are the most frightening sleeper in the entire NFL playoffs. 

    Russell Wilson runs the read-option as well as Robert Griffin III and is silky smooth from the pocket and on rollouts. 

    Along with that, Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL's third-ranked rushing offense and is extremely tough to bring to the turf. 

    But Seattle's defense is actually its strong suit. The front seven is exceptionally formidable, and they've allowed the third-fewest points per drive in 2012. 

    Heading into Week 16, they've sacked the opposing quarterback 35 times, which is tied for 11th in the league. 

    In the secondary, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are ultra aggressive and have the big frames to physically overmatch wide receivers. 

    Pete Carroll has quite the complete team up there in Seattle. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    Andrew Luck is another rookie quarterback who has taken his team to new, unexpected heights in 2012. 

    As we know, strong play from the signal-caller can have an exponentially positive influence on a team, and the No. 1 overall pick exudes leadership and has shown tremendous aerial precision in his premiere NFL campaign. 

    While the Indianapolis offensive line and secondary certainly won't intimidate anyone, Luck's offense and comeback success this year will undoubtedly be in the back of the minds of their playoff opponent. 

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Vikings have surprised everyone by being in position to make the NFC playoffs, and they've done so with and improved defense and an epic season from Adrian Peterson

    AP is essentially the sole reason no team wants to play Minnesota in January. 

    No defender wants the responsibility of bringing Peterson to the turf, and the cold weather makes that task even less inviting.