NFL Wild Card Schedule 2013: Dates, Times, AFC and NFC Matchup Preview

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NFL Wild Card Schedule 2013: Dates, Times, AFC and NFC Matchup Preview
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The NFL’s Wild Card Weekend is the most exciting, action packed, two-day football frenzy of the year. There are four games between eight of the league’s best teams, with the winner advancing and the loser going home.

What more could you possibly want?

Let’s take a look at when and where you can watch all these games, plus a short preview for each which includes an injury report, betting line, prediction and much more.

 

Wild Card Weekend Schedule

*Schedule courtesy of NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal

*All times ET

HOME

AWAY

Date

Time

TV 

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.

FOX

 

Previews

*Point spreads courtesy of ScoresAndOdds.com, injury reports via ESPN.com and CBSSports.com

 

Texans vs. Bengals

Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

Betting Line: Texans -4.5

 

Key Injuries

Jason Allen, CB, Bengals, Hamstring, Missed Week 17

Terrence Newman, CB, Bengals, Groin, Missed Week 17

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals, Hamstring, Left Week 17

 

Key Matchup: J.J. Watt vs. Andy Dalton

While Watt never achieved the sack record in the regular season—falling two short of Michael Strahan’s all-time mark—it should only give him motivation to relentlessly attack the Bengals signal-caller.

Which team will advance?

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Whoever wins this matchup—either Dalton and his O-line or Watt and his D-line—will give their team a huge advantage in the game.

 

Prediction: Bengals 24 – Texans 21

The surging Bengals will get revenge on a team that KO’d them in last year’s postseason. Cincy is one of the more complete squads in the playoffs and should be able to soundly handle the slumping Texans.

 

Packers vs. Vikings

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.

Betting Line: Packers -8

 

Key Injuries

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers, Ankle, Missed Week 17

Charles Woodson, S, Packers, Collarbone, Missed Week 17

 

Key Matchup: Adrian Peterson vs. Packers defense

It didn’t matter how many Packers were in the box in the season finale, as All Day was running with an absolute mission and could not be stopped.

Which side will win the battle between AP and the Packers D?

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Unfortunately, he fell nine yards short of completing his goal of passing Eric Dickerson’s single-season record but was rewarded with a postseason appearance for his Vikings.

Coach Leslie Frazier continues to dial up running play after running play for AP, and he’ll have to put a bit more trust in QB Christian Ponder for this NFC North Wild Card showdown.

 

Prediction: Packers 38 – Vikings 28

While the Vikings story is nice, the Packers are too good to drop games to the same opponent in consecutive weeks. We expect Aaron Rodgers to handle his business and help the Pack jump out to an insurmountable lead.

 

Ravens vs. Colts

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.

Betting Line: Ravens -6.5

 

Key Injuries

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens, Shoulder, Missed Week 17

Ray Lewis, LB, Ravens, Triceps, Missed Week 17

Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens, Biceps, Missed Week 17

 

Delone Carter, RB, Colts, Ankle, Missed Week 17

Antonio Johnson, NT, Colts, Ankle, Missed Week 17

Cory Redding, DE, Colts, Quadriceps, Missed Week 17

 

Key Matchup: Ravens secondary vs. Colts receivers

One of the biggest reasons for Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck’s success is his excellent receiving corps, including speedsters like T.Y. Hilton and veteran Reggie Wayne.

It’s a huge problem for Baltimore’s creaky, slower group of defensive backs, and there’s going to be times when the WRs slip behind them and get open for big plays.

Don’t sleep on Indy airing it out early and often.

Which team will cover?

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Prediction: Colts 21 – Ravens 17

We’re not going against the surging Chuckstrong Colts in this Wild Card matchup, as they have momentum on their side and are clicking at the perfect time.

The Ravens backed into the postseason and barely won the weak AFC North, so don’t be surprised when they face an early exit.

 

Redskins vs. Seahawks

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Where: FedExField, Landover, Md.

Betting Line: Seahawks -2.5

 

Key Injuries

No major injuries to report

 

Key Matchup: Seahawks defense vs. Redskins read-option attack

Between Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, the ‘Skins have a potent attack that can confuse defenses and allows for adjustments on the fly to maximize yardage. They used it to great effect in Week 17 to claim the NFC East title, watching Morris run for 200 yards and three touchdowns, with Griffin adding 63 more yards and a score.

Full NFL Playoff Predictions Through the Super Bowl

It won’t be as easy against a stout Seattle front seven and oversized secondary, but Washington has shown amazing resilience throughout the 2012 campaign.

 

Prediction: Redskins 17 – Seahawks 14

If this game were played in Seattle, we’d say Seahawks all day, but the fact remains that the NFC’s No. 5 seed has to travel all the way to the opposite coast to take on the ‘Skins.

For that reason, we don’t believe Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and the rest of ‘Hawks have what it takes to get it done away from CenturyLink Field.

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