The 2013 NFL playoffs kick off Saturday, Jan. 5, and it’s time to run down the schedule and find out which dream Super Bowl matchups that fans around the league want to see the most.
With so many talented teams in the postseason mix, there is no question that the two teams that make it to the biggest game of the year will have earned their spot in the championship round.
Add in the fact that we have an intense Wild Card Weekend on tap, and there will be enough playoff football to get even the most casual NFL fans to remember why they love the sport.
Everyone wants a great matchup in the Super Bowl, and with all the raw talent throughout the AFC and NFC playoffs, there is little doubt that this could be one of the most memorable championships in years.
Full Wild Card Weekend Schedule
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX
For the entire postseason schedule, check out NFL.com.
While this matchup would be one of the least expected battles in NFL history (neither team had a first-round bye), the on-field action between the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans would be amazing.
Houston would likely be favored in this game—mostly because of their incredible eighth-ranked rushing attack, led by star running back Arian Foster—but it will be how the Texans perform on defense that will make the difference
As talented as Houston is, the Seahawks have been underestimated all year.
With several rookies contributing in key areas (Russell Wilson at quarterback and Bruce Irvin in the pass rush), the standout defense will set the stage for the run-first offense of Seattle to give the Texans everything they can handle.
Both of these squads have a long road before they make the Super Bowl, but their appearance in the big game would be something to behold.
In what would be considered a defensive dream matchup, the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of this bunch would be the battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
While Baltimore hasn’t been the defensive juggernaut that made the organization famous for years, it's still one of the more experienced units in the playoffs, and the possible return of veteran Ray Lewis (h/t Ravens’ official Twitter page) will only make the Ravens a better team.
The Ravens may have a great offensive player in Ray Rice, but the 49ers have been playing like a well-oiled machine this season on both sides of the ball and are the more dangerous team all around.
Add in the dual-threat ability of Colin Kaepernick to the already impressive rushing attack, and the pass game for San Francisco is now just as dangerous as the Ravens offense.
This matchup would be an old-school football fan’s dream Super Bowl.
In the battle of first-year quarterbacks, if the Washington Redskins can shock the NFC and the Indianapolis Colts can do the same in the AFC, there is a chance we could get a Super Bowl featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks squaring off.
With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III on the same field with the biggest prize of them all on the line, this Super Bowl matchup would vindicate both draft picks and the organizations that made them.
The winner of this matchup would always be given the edge as the young duo’s careers progress, but if these two rookies do make it to the Super Bowl, both organizations will be happy to see their investment pay off.
As far-fetched as this would have sounded last year around draft time, both Washington and Indianapolis are playing well enough to make a dream run in their respective conferences before eventually squaring off in the Super Bowl.
Talk about a dream matchup!
While there are teams in the NFC and AFC that get more credit and praise than the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, one of the most unheralded possibilities for a Super Bowl matchup would be these two conference juggernauts.
At a combined record of 25-7 this season, New England and Atlanta have dominated their respective conferences, but have yet to be the focus of much postseason attention. With the Wild Card Weekend in full swing, NFL fans tend to forget about the teams on bye weeks.
No one should be sleeping on the Falcons or the Patriots.
Both teams have powerful offensive units that can march down the field at any point using their potent air attacks, but New England has the clear rushing advantage. In that same vein, it is Atlanta that has the clear advantage on the defensive side of the ball.
With a stalemate on paper, this is the kind of dream matchup every NFL fan would enjoy.
The best matchup NFL fans could hope for in the Super Bowl would be a dream battle between the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers.
With so much on the line in a game of this magnitude, NFL fans would love comparing the play of these two teams, who are both led by two future Hall of Fame inductees at QB.
Add in the fact that both of these teams have solid defensive units that can cause serious trouble for their opponents (Denver allows 18.1 and Green Bay allows 21 points per game), and this expected offensive showcase could turn into one of the toughest games we see all year.
If the Broncos and Packers make it to the Super Bowl this season, this matchup will undoubtedly be one of the best championship games in football history.
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