NFL Playoff Bracket 2013: Potential Divisional-Round Battles We Most Want to See

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 1, 2013

SEATTLE, WA. - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass the ball during the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 23, 2012 in Seattle,Wa. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The NFL wild-card round presents plenty of intriguing action—oh hello, Adrian Peterson versus Aaron Rodgers Part Two and DangeRuss versus Robert Griffin III—but do not be afraid to look forward to the divisional round.

Because there, the potential for a seemingly endless amount of dream matchups awaits.

Let's take a look at the best ones. 

Note: For a complete look at the playoff schedule, check here. A look at the playoff bracket can be found here, courtesy of CBS Sports.  


Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

At first glance, this matchup does not really scream intrigue, but there are quietly several must-see matchups.

A.J. Green vs. Aqib Talib presents a crucial one-on-one battle when the Bengals have the ball, but the real appeal of this potential contest is on the other side of the gridiron.

New England's balanced, dominant offense against Cincinnati's defense, which has given up 12.75 points per game over its last eight represents the epitome of  "unstoppable force against immovable object."

This would be a truly underrated war in the trenches. 


Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos

USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones sums up how pretty much everyone outside of Cincinnati and Baltimore—both of the teams that would have to lose for this matchup to happen—feels about this potential contest:

If there are football Gods, Indy will end up with a playoff game against Peyton Manning in Denver.

— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) December 30, 2012

The preseason was riddled with three things (OK, six if you count Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow and Tim Tebow):

First, the shocking news of Manning being released by the Colts. Second, the endless speculation about where the veteran QB would land and how quickly he would return to form. Finally, the building up of rookie Andrew Luck as the "next Peyton Manning."

After all of that, it just feels as though we have always been destined for this moment. 

Luck, who has lived up to all of the lofty expectations, bringing the new Peyton-less Colts into Denver to take on the Broncos, who, led by the vintage Peyton Manning, are the hottest team in the NFL.

Football Gods would indeed be smart to make this happen. 


Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

Say hello to what is quickly becoming arguably the best rivalry in the NFL that no one is talking about, as this season alone has been enough to take this heated clash to new heights.

Back in Week 7, both teams met in San Francisco for the always-beautiful Thursday Night Football. It certainly was not what you would call an instant classic, but it was an aggressive back-and-forth struggle as the 49ers came out on top, 13-7. 

Seattle, of course, got a bit of revenge two weeks ago when it embarrassed San Fran by nearly 30 at home. 

Now, the Niners desperately want a rubber match, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh hate each other and both teams have electric young quarterbacks, hard-nosed running games and tough, physical defenses. 

In order for this epic battle to come to fruition, the 'Hawks would not only have to beat Washington this weekend, but Minnesota would have to knock off Green Bay for the second week in a row.