NFL Playoff Bracket 2013: Super Bowl Odds for All 12 Teams
The 2013 NFL playoffs are finally upon us after an unpredictable regular season that included the improbable comebacks of both Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. While Manning led the Denver Broncos to the top seed in the AFC, Peterson was the driving force in the Minnesota Vikings' last-second win over the Green Bay Packers.
With the playoff bracket officially set, the attention turns to the coming weeks as the road to New Orleans begins.
Who are the favorites to be playing come February? Here are the Super Bowl odds for every playoff team.
12. Minnesota Vikings
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The Minnesota Vikings looked impressive in their 37-34 victory over the Green Bay Packers. While Adrian Peterson led the way, Christian Ponder was the difference maker with his efficient play and his big throws late in the fourth quarter.
However, Ponder will need to make more of an impact for the Vikings to build a playoff run, and there is not enough evidence to see an improvement.
The lack of a major threat vertically has been a concern since Percy Harvin was placed on IR with injury. Peterson may continue his impressive season, but it will be a tough task for Ponder to play better on the road against the rival Packers.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
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Under Marvin Lewis, the Bengals are entering the playoffs for the second straight season. The biggest reason has been their underrated defense, who have the most underrated player in the league in Geno Atkins.
The biggest concern will be the play of second-year starter Andy Dalton in the playoffs. Dalton has shown improvement in his sophomore campaign, but he has not been the most effective when All-Pro receiver A.J. Green is taken out of the game.
Cincinnati hasn't beaten any of the AFC's elite when their starters actually played in a game. It's hard to trust him until anything changes.
10. Indianapolis Colts
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The Indianapolis Colts' run to 11 wins under rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has been the biggest surprise among the current playoff teams in 2012.
In fact, the team's performance this season been astounding, especially due to the circumstances concerning the health of head coach Chuck Pagano.
It's tough to see the Colts running the table, as the entire postseason will likely be on the road, starting in Baltimore against the Ravens.
Nonetheless, the Colts' impressive domination of the Houston Texans makes the Colts a legitimate threat in January.
9. Washington Redskins
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The Washington Redskins carry a seven-game winning streak into the playoffs as division champions, as Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris continue to lead the way for the surging offense.
Despite Griffin III being limited due to a knee injury, he continues to show enough explosiveness to make him a threat in all of the option formations that the Redskins run. However, how effective can he be against the young and fast defenses that exist in the NFC?
Also, can the Redskins defense build on their success from the win over Dallas, or will their inability to contain the top-tier quarterbacks in the conference stop their winning streak?
8. Houston Texans
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Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Houston Texans have fallen from grace, as two straight losses have not only led to the loss of the top seed, but also to playing on Wild Card Weekend.
Matt Schaub has not played with the same confidence since the disappointing defeat at New England.
Meanwhile, the once-dominant Texans defense continues to be bullied by opposing offenses in all phases of the game. J.J. Watt hasn't been as effective compared to early in the season.
A first-round exit in the playoffs shouldn't be shocking due to their recent play.
7. Seattle Seahawks
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The Seattle Seahawks has displayed their potential with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson leading the way in 2012. Their ability to run the football well with Wilson and Marshawn Lynch has been crucial, while the young defense has quietly matured into one of the league's best.
However, the path to New Orleans is bound to come on the road, where Seattle has shown signs of vulnerability and inconsistency.
Wilson has been impressive, but can the rookie win multiple playoff games on the road in back-to-back weeks? We need to see it to believe it.
6. Baltimore Ravens
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The Baltimore Ravens gave their starters a rest in Week 17 with the hope of another long playoff run. Clearly, the experience is there on both sides of the football.
Ray Lewis is expected to return for the first time since Week 6, while Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata look to utilize their rest for a stretch run.
Ultimately, the Ravens will go as far as Joe Flacco can take them. He was nearly flawless against the New York Giants, but was that performance a one-time situation for the Ravens signal-caller?
The odds are against a Baltimore team filled with injuries, but the talent and experience is there to challenge the AFC's elite.
5. Green Bay Packers
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The Green Bay Packers displayed everything that is both exciting and disappointing about this team in their loss to the Vikings.
Aaron Rodgers continues to be surrounded by a plethora of receivers who give the Packers offense an opportunity to win in the playoffs each week.
However, the defense appears to be a unit that, for a second straight season, cannot avoid injuries to their veteran starters.
Can Aaron Rodgers carry the Packers to New Orleans? It appears he will have to.
4. San Francisco 49ers
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The San Francisco 49ers secured a first-round bye, which certainly comes in handy for a team who has proved to be vulnerable in recent weeks
Colin Kaepernick is the obvious difference maker for the 49ers, who turned to him over Alex Smith midseason. The wide array of talent on the offense leaves Kaepernick with no excuses not to perform at a high level, especially in front of their own crowd for at least one game.
However, the defense has not recovered from the loss of Justin Smith. The uncertainty of his availability to be near full strength is a concern, especially since the lack of pass rush has been evident against the Seahawks and Patriots.
While the 49ers have the talent to cap off a run to a championship, the questions that exist with this team could lead to a one and done in the postseason.
3. Atlanta Falcons
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The Atlanta Falcons clinched home field in the NFC for the second time in three seasons, but will they finally step up when it matters in the postseason?
To say the least, Matt Ryan has flourished with his talented receivers in Dirk Koetter's new offensive game plan.
The Falcons defense made major strides defensively under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who continues to display his ability to coach defenses effectively.
Despite the success, the concerns about the Falcons' ability to execute in the postseason still exist. With the postseason running through Atlanta, they control their own destiny on the path to the Super Bowl.
2. New England Patriots
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Despite the inconsistency surrounding the Patriots this season, they appear to be on a crash course with the Denver Broncos towards the AFC title game.
Tom Brady has the best group of offensive talent in the NFL, and the return of Rob Gronkowski is crucial for this unit's success.
The defense has also made improvements from a year ago, as their ability to force turnovers makes them a formidable unit.
If the road goes through Denver, the Patriots will need to overcome their struggles on the road to reach the Super Bowl. However, it's tough to ever go against Tom Brady.
1. Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos successfully clinched home field throughout the playoffs after ending the season on an impressive 11-game winning streak.
Peyton Manning has built great chemistry with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas in recent weeks, which bodes well for their chances.
Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil lead a veteran defense that has improved over the course of the season and can make an ultimate difference in this team reaching New Orleans.
If an AFC title game comes down to a showdown with New England, can Manning edge Brady in what is sure to be one for the ages?