Every team that qualified for the NFL playoffs won at least 10 games during the regular season, and no team won more than 13. Given that small gap, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a team (or two) playing on Wild Card Weekend reach the Super Bowl.
The lack of a truly dominant team also means every squad features at least a couple of flaws. The teams that best mask those weaknesses will be the ones that end up playing for the Lombardi Trophy in early February.
Knowing that, let's take a look at the three most dangerous teams playing during the first weekend of playoff action. They all have the potential to make deep runs in the postseason.
1. Green Bay Packers
The NFL continues to be ruled by high-powered passing attacks. No team playing on Wild Card Weekend features a better one than the Packers, who are paced by Aaron Rodgers and his league-leading 108 passer rating.
Even though they are forced to have an immediate rematch with the Minnesota Vikings, it's hard not to like Rodgers' chances at home against Christian Ponder. He also has far more weapons at his disposal than the inconsistent Vikings quarterback.
On defense, the Packers have actually made major strides since last season's playoff disappointment. The unit knows it must contain Adrian Peterson to survive the opener. It should be able to do that, and then it's off to the races for Green Bay.
2. Houston Texans
The biggest hurdle the Texans will have to overcome is the disappointment of losing out on a bye. On the flip side, the late slide has removed a vast majority of the pressure from their shoulders and should allow them to fly under the radar moving forward.
Based on talent alone, Houston is still one of the most complete teams in the league. The Texans rank seventh in both total offense and total defense. It also helps that they have an explosive playmaker on both sides of the ball—namely Arian Foster and J.J. Watt.
Their journey starts against the Cincinnati Bengals in a rematch from last season's first round, which saw Houston come out on top. Cincinnati's strength of victory is the lowest of any playoff team (.381, via ESPN) and the Texans are strong at home, so Houston should cruise.
3. Seattle Seahawks
No team in the NFL had a higher strength of victory than the Seahawks (.534). That includes victories over the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and the aforementioned Packers. They can beat elite teams.
Russell Wilson has been overshadowed by fellow rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, his counterpart on Sunday, but his numbers are equally impressive. He's supported by a strong running game led by Marshawn Lynch, one of the hardest runners in the league.
Along with their growing offense, the Seahawks rank fourth in total defense. Having two reliable pass-rushers in Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin is also an advantage in the postseason. A lack of success on the road is a major question mark, but they can eliminate it by knocking off the Redskins.
|NFC DIVISION CHAMPIONS|
| No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (13-3) NFC South champions|
| No. 2 Seed San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) NFC West champions|
| No. 3 Seed Green Bay Packers (11-5) NFC North champions|
| No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (10-6) NFC East champions|
|NFC WILD CARD|
| No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (11-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (10-6)|
|AFC DIVISION CHAMPIONS|
| No. 1 Seed Denver Broncos (13-3), AFC West champions|
| No. 2 Seed New England Patriots (12-4) AFC East champions|
| No. 3 Seed Houston Texans (12-4) AFC South champions|
| No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (10-6) AFC North champions|
|AFC WILD CARD|
|No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (11-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)|