NFL Playoff Scenarios 2013: Why Top Seeds Should Be Worried

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIDecember 24, 2012

Matt Ryan and the Falcons currently have the best record in the NFL.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons currently have the best record in the NFL.Leon Halip/Getty Images

The NFL playoff scenarios have been lowered to a few and all four top seeds should worry about the possibilities.

The standings currently have the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos as the top seeds.

However, each team has certain teams that they don't want to face in the playoffs, as well as their own issues to address.


Atlanta Falcons

The lack of a running game is a concern for the Falcons, which is unfortunate since it was once the best part of their offense. The Falcons rank 28th in the league with 88.8 yards per game and have shown struggles in 3rd-and-short situations.

Then there's the defense that is 23rd in passing yards allowed per game (243.7) and 21st in rushing yards (121.8).

Atlanta has some obvious issues on the defensive side of the ball, although the defense has intercepted the ball 19 times.

The Falcons have won seven games by seven points or less with a schedule that wasn't exactly the toughest in the league.

Playoffs are another story for this franchise. They have made the playoffs for the fourth time in Matt Ryan's tenure, but haven't won a playoff game. While they can't control that through the regular season, it's something that will hang over the team's head until they do so.

The possibilities are endless for the Falcons as to who they will play.

To pick up their first playoff win with Ryan as quarterback, the NFC East winner would likely give them the best chance.


Green Bay Packers

The Packers currently sit in the No. 2 slot in the NFC, although they still have to beat Minnesota Sunday to secure that spot. 

Although Randall Cobb's injury likely won't keep him out in the playoffs, it does raise a few questions. Do the Packers continue using him in the return game or do they have him focus on the slot position?

Green Bay can't afford another injury to Cobb, especially considering he's the team's leading receiver.

Then, there's the lack of a running game. Green Bay is averaging 108.7 yards per game on the ground, with no real No. 1 back.

Two of the Packers' losses came to the two NFC West teams in the playoffs. While most don't count the loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Packer offense still couldn't get going in that game.


Houston Texans

The Texans got demolished by the New England Patriots, and shouldn't be considered favorites to make it to the Super Bowl.

Houston has lost two of its last three against the Patriots and Vikings, looking lost in both games.

While any of the AFC opponents would be beatable for the Texans (outside of New England), Houston is not clicking as a team right now. Matt Schaub is averaging 219.5 yards in his last four games with Arian Foster also struggling to get going.

If a team is going to have success in the playoffs, they have to be clicking at the right time. Houston is not doing that.


Denver Broncos

The Broncos may be the least vulnerable of the top seeds, but there are still some areas the team should worry about. 

For starters, if the standings hold up, the Broncos would likely play the Patriots in the divisional round.

While the matchup was back in Week 5, the Patriots were able to handle the Broncos, even with a bad day from Tom Brady.

Denver has won 10-straight games and is doing everything right heading into the playoffs.

However, one has to wonder if it can overcome a weak division and shine when it counts. San Diego, Kansas City and Oakland won't be waiting for the Broncos.