NFL Playoff Schedule 2013: Breaking Down AFC's Wild-Card Matchups

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

Dec 30 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) smiles while on the sidelines during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Houston 28-16. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

There will be a lot of clapping and cheering when the NFL playoffs come around this weekend, kicked off by the Cincinnati Bengals taking on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

But that's not the only high-octane AFC wild-card matchup in store for us. The Baltimore Ravens will host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, as well.

Here's a look at the AFC's wild-card matchups, complete with schedule information.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

When: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

The Texans may have more talent than the Bengals, but both teams appear to be headed in different directions leading up to the playoffs.

While the Texans have lost three of their last four games, the Bengals have won seven of their last eight contests. That includes defeating the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

While Houston's pass defense will undeniably be a tough task for Cincinnati's offensive line, I could see the Bengals pulling this off in a low-scoring game.

The Bengals haven't allowed more than 20 points to any opponent since Week 9, holding the high-scoring Giants to 13 points in Week 10.

Arian Foster will find some room to run, but it's not a good time for Matt Schaub to be struggling going up against Cincy's tough pass defense.

Prediction: Bengals 23, Texans 20

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens 

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

When: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

The Colts just dropped 28 points on the Texans, with Andrew Luck once again leading them to a come-from-behind victory. Of course, that happened at home.

The Colts are 7-1 at home this season, but they are 4-4 in away games. The includes a 29-17 loss to the Texans in Week 15, a 59-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 11, a 35-9 loss to the New York Jets in Week 6 and a 41-21 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

That also includes narrow wins over the bottom-feeding Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs.

What Luck has done as a rookie quarterback this season has been remarkable, but he's thrown 13 interceptions to 11 touchdowns in eight away games this season, and I just don't think the Colts have the experience to defeat the Ravens in Baltimore.

Plus, the Colts' defense could have trouble against the Ravens' offensive unit.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Colts 20

NFL Wild Card Round Schedule

Matchup Date/Time TV
Cincinnati at Houston Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET NBC
Minnesota at Green Bay Saturday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET NBC
Indianapolis at Baltimore Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. ET CBS
Seattle at Washington Sunday, Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET FOX

What are your thoughts?

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