The 2013 NFL playoffs bring plenty of interesting story lines. Three rookie quarterbacks and three second-year quarterbacks tip-toe into the big dance. Then we have veterans with the names Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. No Eli Manning or Tony Romo. No Jay Cutler or Michael Vick.
Who wins each game? Let's take a look. Winning team is predicted in bold-italics.
Wild Card Round
(6) Cincinnati Bengals at (3) Houston Texans
A rematch of last year's Wild Card Game. It boggles my mind that the Texans are even part of this round. They have turned ice-cold, with losses in three of the last four games after starting the season 11-1.
While Cincinnati should be confident heading into this game riding a three-game winning streak, I don't see them winning in Houston.
Texans win 31-20.
(5) Indianapolis Colts at (4) Baltimore Ravens
Chuckstrong! Sorry, #Chuckstrong is what I meant. The Colts are hot, the Ravens are not. Simple as that. I see Andrew Luck winning his first playoff game and Joe Flacco's career in Baltimore in serious danger after this weekend.
Colts win 27-23.
(5) Seattle Seahawks at (4) Washington Redskins
The Redskins have struck the world by surprise, winning seven straight to win the NFC East for the first time since 1999. Seattle has also played well of late, winning its last five games.
The only issue here is that Seattle isn't playing at home. It didn't lose at home all year and won't get a chance to host any playoff games in Seattle.
I like Robert Griffin III beating Russell Wilson 28-24 in a close, hard-fought battle.
(6) Minnesota Vikings at (3) Green Bay Packers
These two teams will meet for the second consecutive week. Yes, we will see a lot of Adrian Peterson, but the game is at Lambeau Field. That's all I needed to know. Randall Cobb will likely be playing, and the Packers will send Minnesota home.
Packers win 33-24.
(3) Houston Texans at (2) New England Patriots
A repeat matchup of Week 14. I don't see anything different happening. The Patriots are too much for the Texans. Houston has no answer for Tom Brady, as evidenced by the rout we saw a few weeks back.
Patriots win 38-21.
(5) Indianapolis Colts at (1) Denver Broncos
Wow. Peyton Manning will get to play his former team in the playoffs. What an emotional game it will be, especially for Colts fans, who will fall a game short of the AFC Championship after losing to the Broncos.
Denver is riding an 11-game winning streak and is easily the hottest team in the NFL. The bus won't stop here.
Broncos win 38-24.
(4) Washington Redskins at (1) Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta will finally win a playoff game. The Falcons are hot right now, just like the Broncos. They will keep their season alive with a nice win against the Redskins and RGIII.
Falcons win 31-24.
(3) Green Bay Packers at (2) San Francisco 49ers
I just don't see the Packers winning in San Francisco. It just won't happen. They couldn't even beat the Niners at Lambeau to open up their year.
Kaepernick will win his first-ever playoff game and take the Niners to the NFC championship game. Niners win 34-24.
(2) New England Patriots at (1) Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady, for old time's sake. Manning will get the best of Brady here though, and the Broncos will head to the Super Bowl for the first time since John Elway was under center.
Riding a 13-game winning streak will certainly be a momentum-booster, don't you think?
Broncos win 37-31.
(2) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Atlanta Falcons
I just really like Atlanta and the way that they are playing right now. I really feel they have the tools to break down the 49ers defense. I think it will be a close game, but Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez will be too much for San Francisco to keep up with.
Falcons win 30-27.
Super Bowl XLVII
(1) Atlanta Falcons vs (1) Denver Broncos
This will be a rematch of Week 2, where the Falcons beat the Broncos 27-21. It's all good for Denver though, as Peyton Manning was just adjusting to his new team. Now that he's in his comfort zone and his defense is playing extremely well, it will be nearly impossible to stop him.
It is the Broncos' year in 2013, and they will defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-27 to win Super Bowl XLVII.
Super Bowl Champion