NFL Playoff Predictions: Teams Set for Speedy Postseason Flameouts

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers g on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

Fact: Only one team can win the Super Bowl, thus setting the stage for a handful of postseason flameouts. 

This January, a trio of overachieving teams will be headed home earlier than expected, as their flaws will prove too immense to cover up. With Wild Card weekend on the horizon and the first four playoff games of the year set in stone, it's time to get bold.

It's prediction time.


Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis has been a remarkable story all season long, finishing 11-5 one year after going 2-14. But the Colts' run will soon come to an end. 

Only three of Indy's 11 wins have come against winning teams, and the Colts rank 21st or worst in rush offense, rush defense and pass defense. No, statistics don't tell the entire story, but it's very hard to imagine a team with a rookie quarterback and as many flaws as the Colts winning two (possibly three) road playoff games.

The final point against the Colts: Indy surrendered a shade over 24 points per game during the regular season, which is the second-worst of all 12 playoff teams this year (better than only the Washington Redskins).


Minnesota Vikings 

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak, but Adrian Peterson's dominance on the offensive end also presents a weakness.

The Vikings are one-dimensional offensively, ranking second in rushing offense but just 31st in passing offense in 2012. It makes sense that Minnesota would run more than they pass with a dynamic 2,000-plus-yard runner like Peterson in the back field, but the lack of talent on the outside, and the question marks surrounding quarterback Christian Ponder (like can he throw for 234 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers' defense at Lambeau Field in the postseason?) makes the Vikings predictable and ultimately beatable.

Don't expect the Vikings to win the turnover battle, sack Aaron Rodgers five times and convert on 50 percent of their third downs on the road in Green Bay in the playoffs this January. 


Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins are one of the most inexperienced teams entering the playoffs this winter, boasting a rookie at quarterback and running back. Both first-year players have played lights-out so far, but the pressure is about to be ratcheted up a notch on Sunday against Seattle. 

The Seahawks come into Landover with one of the league's Top 10 defensive units and having won five straight overall. Seattle is stout in run defense as well, which is bad news for the Redskins, who rank first in rush offense and will be leaning heavily on Alfred Morris in that area with Robert Griffin III still recovering from a sprained knee. 

Seattle will field a rookie quarterback of its own in Russell Wilson, but the Seahawks' defense is championship caliber. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Washington's. 

The Redskins have a suspect secondary, ranking 30th in the NFL, and are far too flawed on the defensive side of the ball to make a run at the title this January. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter