NFL Playoff Picks: Breaking Down Imminent Wild Card Weekend Upsets

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJanuary 4, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 09:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NFL playoffs Wild Card Round has some very intriguing matchups that could shake up the landscape of the league. When making your picks this weekend be sure to keep in mind that some upsets are brewing.

Teams get hot at the right time and ride that momentum all the way to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants struggled at times during the regular season in 2011 and ended up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after that hot streak earned them the hardware.

Let's take a look at which teams are going to continue their regular season streaks and score upsets over home teams in Wild Card Round matchups this weekend.


Seattle Seahawks (11-5) over Washington Redskins (10-6)

Is this even considered an upset? The Seattle Seahawks are the hottest team in football heading into the postseason. Still, the visiting Seattle team is technically an underdog as it has lost its last eight road playoff matchups.

This season is an entirely new story for the West Coast club. Seattle has won its last five games in style, outscoring opponents 170-43 during that winning streak.

They will travel to Washington to take on a hot Redskins team that has won its last seven games.

But where the Redskins lack, the Seahawks boast. Seattle’s overall defense is among the best in the league and its offense has emerged as a true dual-threat unit thanks to the emergence of Russell Wilson behind center.

The Seahawks are just too balanced and staunch on defense to let the Redskins continue their impressive run.


Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) over Houston Texans (12-4)

Marvin Lewis has the Bengals in top form as the Texans have seemingly slowly fallen off as the year has progressed. Cincinnati has done it by posting a tenacious defense that can stop the run and get after the quarterback.

Houston has lost three of its last four games heading into the postseason after starting the season 11-1. That’s not by accident, either. Defensively the Texans are giving up big plays and a diminished ability to maximize runs has stalled the team’s once-potent rushing attack.

Maybe the Texans were saving it all for the playoffs? You know, holding back knowing they had already clinched a playoff berth.

That could be the case, but it will be hard to turn it back on against the red-hot Bengals with their season on the line at Reliant Stadium. The Bengals are 6-2 on the road this season.


Indianapolis Colts (11-5) over Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

Emotional and heartwarming stories aside, the Indianapolis Colts are the better team heading into this playoff matchup. Baltimore has floundered as of late, losing four of its last five games.

But the Ravens struggles aren’t the only reason the team is going to have problems with the Colts, even at home at M&T Bank Stadium.

Indianapolis spoiled home-field advantage and a first-round bye for its divisional rival Houston with a big Week 17 victory. Their tenacious pass rush and big-play offense has kept teams off balance this season.

Andrew Luck and his excellent complementary receivers will have a big day against the no-longer dominant Ravens defense.

Even with Ray Lewis returning, the Colts will be able to do enough to keep steal a playoff win against the Ravens at home.