NFL Playoffs 2012-13: Highlighting the Toughest Places to Play This Postseason

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23:  Fans observe the opening kick off as the Houston Texans face the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Texans defeated the Broncos 31-25.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks boast the best home-field advantage in all of football, but there's a very strong chance that they won't be able to benefit from it in these upcoming NFL playoffs.

Seattle is in line to earn an NFC Wild Card berth this winter, and that would mean the Seahawks would have to begin their playoff journey on the road on Wild Card Weekend, where they finished just 3-5 in 2012.

Some other dominant home teams will be much luckier than Seattle this January. Here, we'll highlight the toughest places to play this postseason.


Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.

The mystique of Lambeau Field come playoff time is well known, and for good reason. The Packers have always been a force playing on the Frozen Tundra, especially in 2012.

After losing at home to the San Francisco 49ers in its season opener, Green Bay won its last seven home games this season to finish 7-1 at Lambeau during the regular year.

Not only is Green Bay prone to inclement weather in January, but the packed stadium and unforgiving chill can swallow opponents whole once momentum gets away from them.

Lambeau may not be as feared a venue as it once was during the Vince Lombardi-Bart Starr era, but something about 70,000-plus screaming Cheeseheads is unnerving. 


Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.

Forget about Mile High, the Denver Broncos don't lose anywhere these days, as they're currently on a 10-game winning streak coming into their season finale vs. Kansas City. However if there's one place no team wants to face off against the Broncos this January, it's Sports Authority Field in Denver, where the Broncos have won six straight coming into Week 17.

Denver proved just last January how hard it is to win at Mile High in the postseason, topping the Pittsburgh Steelers there in overtime on Wild Card Weekend.

The cold and the noise present enough issues for opponents, but once you factor in the thin air, that's when Denver's home-field advantage really begins to kick in.

With a win over the Chiefs in Week 17, the Broncos will secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, meaning one of the other five AFC playoff teams would have to win at Mile High in order to prevent Peyton Manning from getting back to the big game.


Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

The road to Super Bowl XLVII in the NFC will go through Atlanta this January, as the Falcons boast the conference's best record and the No. 1 seed coming into the playoffs. 

Sure, the Falcons dropped their most recent home game in the NFC divisional round in 2010 to the Green Bay Packers. But Atlanta surrendered 35 unanswered points in less than 20 minutes in that game—something that rarely, if ever, happens in the playoffs. 

The Falcons won their first seven home games this season and had won 11 straight inside the Georgia Dome coming into their meaningless Week 17 matchup with rival Tampa Bay. 

Although the Georgia Dome doesn't boast the threat of wind, snow, rain or ice, it does offer plenty of raucous Falcons fans.


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