NFL Playoff Predictions: Analyzing Super Bowl Chances for the 4 Top Seeds

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions: Analyzing Super Bowl Chances for the 4 Top Seeds

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    If the playoffs started today, then the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos would be the top seeds in the AFC while the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers would get the first-round bye in the NFC. 

    Of course, there is a whole week of football left to play before the final seeds are set, but these four teams look like a good bet to be very competitive in January.

    They might even end up being the final top four squads!

    But for right now the Texans, Broncos, Falcons and Packers are the teams that will be watching Wild Card Weekend from their respective city before entering the postseason.

    So what are the chances that any of these top teams win the Super Bowl?

    Let’s take a look at each team's odds using some fun rankings! 

4. Houston Texans

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    The Texans are by all means a Super Bowl favorite, but when paired up against other top seeds from the NFC and AFC, they pale in comparison. 

    Houston has a Pro Bowl caliber running back, quarterback, tight end and wide receiver in addition to a smash-mouth defense. 

    Everything seems to be going right for the new pride of Texas. Still problems lay under the surface. Brian Cushing is still out but injuries don’t define a team, especially one as deep as the Texans. 

    For whatever reason Gary Kubiak’s squad has dropped two of their past three games, including a 42-14 stinker loss versus the Patriots

    That isn’t a good trend to be riding into the playoffs. This is a great team. No one is denying that. 

    But teams that get hot in December usually fare well in January and February. Just ask the New York Giants or Green Bay Packers. 

    A rusty and out of tune Texans squad will get its bell rung by an equally talented but streaking opponent. 

    If Houston can get Arian Foster back and get back on track, then it will become dangerous again. 

3. Green Bay Packers

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    Yes, this team is 11-4 but has only dropped games against three playoff teams and one team still in postseason contention (New York Giants). 

    Furthermore, the Green Bay Packers have won nine of their last 10 with no signs of slowing down. Just ask the Tennessee Titans, who Aaron Rodgers and company just laid 55 points on. 

    After that performance, it is clear this experienced team is ready and hungry for the playoffs. 

    The Packers are playing like one of the best teams in the NFL right now, and that is not good news for the other playoff-bound squads in the NFC. 

    The defense is looking better and better every game, and if Ryan Grant plays like he did this week (80 yards and two touchdowns), then the Pack may have found a running game just in time for January. 

    We all know how much damage Green Bay can do when it find its groove, and if this hot streak continues, expect a familiar team in a familiar place. 

    Rodgers will stop at nothing to get his team to New Orleans and I have no reason to doubt him. 

2. Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons are the great unknown in the NFL.

    They look like mammoths of the regular season with a blazing 13-2 record and dropping only games in-division. 

    But, Matt Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs and Atlanta needs to get over that hump to even have a shot at the big game. 

    It will. 

    Matty Ice is enjoying his best season ever, posting career numbers in completions (394), completion percentage (69%), yards (4,481), touchdowns (31) and quarterback rating (100.2). This isn’t any average year. 

    The trifecta of receivers in Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez have absolutely helped those numbers with 1,309, 1,142 and 889 receiving yards, respectively. Combined, they have 25 touchdowns and really enhance the passing game as well as complimenting the double -rushing attack of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers.

    The defense isn’t legendary, but it doesn’t have to be. Stephen Nicholas and his squad is doing everything right to help Atlanta win games and continue a magical season that will hopefully end in New Orleans. 

1. Denver Broncos

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    Remember when I talked about getting hot at the right time?

    The Denver Broncos are the epitome of that philosophy. They are winners of their last 10 straight games and look in tip-top shape heading into January.  

    The defense looks better than during last year’s magical run and Peyton Manning has taken this offense to completely unforeseen highs. 

    John Fox’s squad is firing on all cylinders at just the right time. A quick look at their team stats will back up that fact. The Broncos are ranked second in defending the run, 18th in running, eighth in defending the pass and sixth in passing yards. 

    The chemistry between Manning and his new receivers is pretty decent but when it becomes great this team will become even better, if that is possible. 

    Right now, the Broncos are the team to beat in the AFC and the whole NFL. 

    The Mile High City is about to experience a ride like none other on the back of its prized free-agent acquisition.