The NFL's regular season is always exciting, but it doesn't hold a candle to postseason action.
Wild Card Weekend brings four exciting and competitive matchups to the table.
In the AFC, the Houston Texans will try to right the ship against the scorching-hot Cincinnati Bengals, while the Baltimore Ravens will attempt to stymie Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFC will feature a clash of NFC North rivals as the Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings. Also, the Seattle Seahawks will try to continue their late-season dominance by scoring a win over the NFC East representative.
You don't want to miss one second of these games, and here's where to watch them.
*Schedule courtesy of NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal
*All times ET
|Houston Texans||Cincinnati Bengals||1/5/13||4:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Green Bay Packers||Minnesota Vikings||1/5/13||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Baltimore Ravens||Indianapolis Colts||1/6/13||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Washington Redskins||Seattle Seahawks||1/6/13||4.30 p.m.|
Now that you know where and when to watch, let's make a few predictions about the games.
1. Chuckstrong Magic Will Continue
The Colts will walk into M&T Bank Stadium and score a victory over the Ravens on Wild Card Weekend.
It almost feels inevitable at this point.
Baltimore is tough at home, but it also lost two of its final three home games and four of its final five games overall. This team is reeling on both sides of the ball, and it's facing a team that has won five of its last six games.
Part of the Colts success just doesn't make sense. Andrew Luck's veteran-like poise has been incredible, but this is still mostly the same group that won two games a season ago.
This sort of turnaround just doesn't happen often.
Call it whatever you want, but this team has everything on its side.
Luck will move the ball versus the Ravens' flawed defense, and the Indianapolis defense will make just enough big plays to creep into Joe Flacco's head. Experience will be on Baltimore's side, but confidence and momentum go a long way this time of year.
Look for the Colts to play one more game (at least) before their crazy run comes to a close.
2. Texans Will Struggle
Houston will defeat the Bengals, but it's not going to be easy.
One or two big plays could take the outcome in a different direction, but I like the Texans to delay disappointment for another week.
Everything about this matchup screams Bengals' win, but the Texans have to wake up sooner or later. This team has to get over the hump this season.
If not now, when?
Cincinnati has the skill players to test the Texans defense on the outside. Houston's defense has struggled with its interior presence, but the Bengals won't be able to exploit that as much as they would like.
That could be their downfall.
If the Bengals had a capable north-south runner, I would like their chances more, but Houston will pin its ears back and attack Andy Dalton.
Cincinnati's defense is underrated and possibly has the best interior lineman in the game in Geno Atkins, but Matt Schaub will make just enough plays to get the job done.
Houston has looked dreadful in almost every game down the stretch, but it will bounce back for a huge win in the Wild Card Round.
3. Each NFC Division Winner Will Advance
I like Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to find a way to defeat the Seahawks. The rookie duo is playing well and really has nothing to lose.
Defensively, Washington will make enough plays to stifle Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' underrated attack.
If this game was at CenturyLink Field, I would go with Pete Carroll's squad, but it's not.
Seattle closed the year with a stunning run, but a playoff road trip can be a shock to an inexperienced team.
For that reason, Seattle's magical run won't extend past the first weekend.
The other NFC game will feature a rematch from Week 17, as the Packers and Vikings wage war once again. Green Bay will get the better of its NFC North rival this time around.
The Packers remember being eliminated earlier than expected last season, and that has to taste bitter. Minnesota is a tough squad, and Adrian Peterson will be a handful once again, but it won't be enough to deny Aaron Rodgers from earning a playoff win.
Look for both favorites to advance past Wild Card Weekend. Each game should be extremely competitive, but this is where the road ends for Seattle and Minnesota.
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