NFL Playoff Scenarios: Most Tantalizing Matchup Possibilities for 1st Round

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IDecember 23, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

This is the time of year when visions of playoff matchups dance in my head. 

As things stand now, there are roughly a million possibilities and scenarios for the NFL playoffs, but there are a select few that stand out as the best matchups. 

Sticking to reasonable possibilities, here is how the ultimate first round would shape up. 



Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

The Fail Mary, part two! While the debacle that happened in Seattle earlier in the season, when Green Bay was robbed of a game with a terrible call in the end zone by the replacement officials, never needs to be seen again, I would like these two teams to settle the score with a more believable answer. 

This game would be fun to see if one of the teams could land a blow like Juan Manuel Marquez did to Manny Pacquiao and provide a definitive answer as to the rightful winner. 

The Packers faithful would be at their boisterous best for this one as they let the fury of their frustration from the botched call rain down on the Seahawks. It would be a great environment, and both teams would be going all out. Oh, it would also feature one of the league's best passing attacks against one if its best pass defenses.


Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins

I don't have any traditional rooting interest in the NFC East, but I'm pulling for the Redskins this year—simply so I can see Robert Griffin III in the playoffs.

The rookie brings so much added excitement to the game, and he certainly doesn't seem to shy away from the kind of bright lights the playoffs would bring.

The Vikings would be a fun matchup for them. For starters, Adrian Peterson is must-see TV right now. He is flat unstoppable.

It would also create for some interesting decision-making on that side of the ball. The Redskins defense has struggled mightily against the pass and has been better against the run. Would the Vikings just try to pound it down their throats anyway? 



Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos

How fun and improbable would this be? Peyton Manning going against the franchise he resurrected but then ditched him when they had a shot at taking Andrew Luck in this past year's draft? 

Manning is essentially running the same offense in Denver as he did in Indianapolis. Yes, he has different names for his many audibles, but it would be fun to see if the Indianapolis defense could pick up on little things that would tip them off. 

Meanwhile, this would give Andrew Luck a chance to upstage the legend whose shoes he is trying to fill. 


Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

It's the Ravens and the Steelers! What else needs to be said? 

Well, I guess a lot. This year something should be added to the rivalry. It's not like either of these teams have looked like the monstrous versions of their recent past, and neither is playing particularly good football right now.

Still, these two teams seem to bring out the baddest and the best in each other. 

This season has been no different. The Steelers and Ravens have already played twice. They split the season series, and each game was decided by three points. 



 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 (10-4) 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)



 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 North; Clinched Playoff Berth


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


 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
 Miami Dolphins (6-8)




Atlanta: vs. Detroit, vs. Chicago

San Francisco: at Seattle, vs. Arizona

Green Bay: vs. Tennessee, at Minnesota

Washington: at Philadelphia, vs. Dallas

Seattle: vs. San Francisco, vs. St. Louis

Minnesota: at Houston, vs. Green Bay

Chicago: at Arizona, vs. Detroit

Dallas: vs. New Orleans, at Washington

New York: at Baltimore, vs. Philadelphia

St. Louis: at Tampa Bay, at Seattle

New Orleans: at Dallas, vs. Carolina



Houston: vs. Minnesota, at Indianapolis

Denver: vs. Cleveland, vs. Kansas City

New England: at Jacksonville, vs. Miami

Baltimore: vs. New York Giants, at Cincinnati

Indianapolis: at Kansas City, vs. Houston

Cincinnati: at Pittsburgh, vs. Baltimore

Pittsburgh: vs. Cincinnati, vs. Cleveland

Miami: vs. Buffalo, at New England


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