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