NFL Playoff Predictions 2013: Teams Set for an Early Postseason Exit
The winner of Sunday night's win-or-go-home divisional battle between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins won't be long for the 2013 postseason.
After all, 12 teams make the NFL playoffs every January, but only one can win the Super Bowl. Both the Cowboys and Redskins are flawed in their own ways, and weaknesses that will ultimately be exploited on a bigger stage by better teams if they are make the playoffs this winter.
But neither team is a lock for the postseason.
So, here are some guaranteed playoff teams with similar weaknesses, set for an early exit this January.
Indy will play its first playoff game on the road this January, where the Colts finished a mediocre 4-4 this season.
Plus, only two of the Colts' 10 wins this season (not including Week 17's result) have come against winning teams. To make matters worse, Indy hasn't beaten a winning team since Oct. 7.
The Colts are also suspect on the most important side of the ball—defense. Indy ranks 22nd in the league in points allowed (24.7) and 26th in yards allowed (375.7) coming into Week 17. Offensively, Indy ranks a little better, but far from good enough.
In the end, the Colts are going to go as far as Andrew Luck takes them this January. And given the lack of support he'll receive from Indy's 22nd-ranked running game and its lackluster defense, Luck won't be able to lead them very far against the AFC's best.
Don't get me wrong, Seattle is a very scary team. But sometimes even the scariest of squads wind up going home early.
The real reason I like Pete Carroll's surging Seahawks to lose in their first playoff game this winter is because of the strong likelihood that they will be playing on the road on Wild Card Weekend. And though I'd never pick against Seattle at CenturyLink Field (especially after what happened to the Green Bay Packers there), the Seahawks don't impress me so much away from home.
All five of Seattle's losses this season have come on the road, which means that the Seahawks must prove they can bring the 12th Man on the road with them this January before I can fully trust them.
How far will Houston go this postseason?
Although neither of the two top teams in the NFL coming into Week 17, the Atlanta Falcons nor Houston Texans, impress me, the Texans are the one team I have absolutely no faith in after the last three weeks.
Houston went from 11-1 to 12-3 in three weeks, and has many doubting it regardless of whether it wraps up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Texans were the first top seed to go down this January.
The biggest reason why is the transformation that has taken place on the defensive side of the ball for Houston. Once a top-five defense, the Texans' stoppers now rank ninth in yards allowed (327.1) and eighth in points allowed (20.2) coming into Week 17.
Forget about Arian Foster and the seventh-ranked running game, because the Texans won't win a single playoff game in 2013 before fixing what ails them on the defensive side of the ball.
NFC Playoff Picture
|No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (13-2) Clinched NFC South & Home-Field Advantage|
|No. 2 Seed Green Bay Packers (11-4) Clinched NFC North|
|No. 3 Seed San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) Lead NFC West; Clinched Playoff Berth|
|No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (9-6) Lead NFC East|
|Wild Card Leaders|
|No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (10-5); Clinched Playoff Berth|
|No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (9-6)|
|In the Hunt|
|Chicago Bears (9-6)|
|Dallas Cowboys (8-7)|
|New York Giants (8-7)|
AFC Playoff Picture
|No. 1 Seed Houston Texans (12-3) Clinched AFC South|
|No. 2 Seed Denver Broncos (12-3) Clinched AFC West|
|No. 3 Seed New England Patriots (11-4) Clinched AFC East|
| No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (10-5) Clinched AFC North|
|Wild Card Leaders|
|No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (10-5); Clinched Playoff Berth|
|No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (9-6); Clinched Playoff Berth|
Atlanta: vs. Tampa Bay
San Francisco: vs. Arizona
Green Bay: at Minnesota
Washington: vs. Dallas
Seattle: vs. St. Louis
Minnesota: vs. Green Bay
Chicago: vs. Detroit
Dallas: at Washington
New York: vs. Philadelphia
Houston: at Indianapolis
Denver: vs. Kansas City
New England: vs. Miami
Baltimore: at Cincinnati
Indianapolis: vs. Houston
Cincinnati: vs. Baltimore
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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