NFL Playoffs 2013: Bold Predictions for Wild-Card Round
Get ready for some playoff upsets.
The NFL playoffs are going to start off with a bang. There is a strong slate of games to kick the postseason festivities off, and don't be surprised to see more than one lower seed advance.
I've got three lower-seeded teams advancing.
Seahawks Will Take Down Washington
What a fun matchup this is. Russell Wilson vs. Robert Griffin III in a battle of amazingly-talented rookie quarterbacks.
However, it is Wilson who has a vastly superior supporting cast. Both quarterbacks enjoy strong running games, but it is on the defensive side of the ball where the Seahawks will win this game.
The Seahawks haven't allowed more than 17 points in a game since Week 12. They are strong against both the run and the pass. The Redskins will not be able to survive with a steady diet of Alfred Morris in this one. They will need balance, but with the Seahawks' physical corners, Griffin is going to have a hard time finding open receivers.
Seahawks win, 24-17
Colts Keep on Surprising
Chuck Pagano made a triumphant return to the sidelines on Sunday as the Colts took down the Ravens. Now he will make a triumphant return to Baltimore where he spent last season as a defensive coordinator.
The Ravens are sinking. They have lost four of their last five, and there is not one area of the game where they are excelling.
The Ravens are 17th in sack percentage, and the best way to slow Andrew Luck down is to exploit the Colts' weak offensive line. With the Ravens struggling to generate pressure, Luck will pick them apart.
The Colts defense is certainly vulnerable, and the Ravens have cranked up the run game the last two weeks, but the Colts will be able to keep pace on the scoreboard, and this game will be close in the fourth. I'm taking Luck over Joe Flacco late in a game any day of the week.
Colts win, 27-24
The Bengals defense started off slow, but it has morphed into a force to close the season. Over the last eight games, the Bengals have allowed an average of just 12.8 points per game.
Cincinnati might not even need an offensive touchdown in this one. Check out this stat: In each of the last three weeks, the Bengals defense has scored a touchdown. In the last 10 quarters, the Texans have managed just one touchdown.
This once powerful Texans offense has turned anemic, and a lot of that starts with the offensive line. The front five have been the key to Texas' well-balanced offense, and that same group has been responsible for the slump.
Matt Schaub has been sacked 10 times in the last three games after being sacked just 17 times in the previous 13. This is bad news for Schaub this week as the Bengals can rush the passer. Defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson have combined for 24 sacks on the season.
They will pitch a tent in the Texans' backfield, and that will spur the Bengals to victory.
Bengals win, 20-13.
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