After some intense action during Wild Card Weekend, the 2013 NFL Playoff schedule rolls into the Divisional Round.
The matchups between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC and the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots in the AFC will have hardcore and casual football fans alike at a fever pitch.
With a trip to a conference championship hanging in the balance for each game, expect the following teams to leave it all on the field Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: 1 p.m. ET on FOX
The Seattle Seahawks continued their Cinderella run toward the Super Bowl by knocking off the Washington Redskins on the road last week, but the team will face an even tougher test in the Divisional Round against the Atlanta Falcons.
Atlanta is dangerous at home, and coupled with the elite passing attack the Falcons have developed (sixth in the NFL with 281.8 yards per game), the team will hang big numbers on a Seattle defense that hasn’t given up more than 17 points in five weeks.
The Falcons will buck the trend.
After being burnt early in the season, Atlanta’s defense has settled into a rhythm and has allowed 23 points or less in nine of the last 11 weeks.
If the Falcons can get pressure on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the league’s 27th-best passing attack (just 189.4 yards per game), the Seahawks are in serious trouble. With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, though, Seattle will get enough points to stay in contention.
Prediction: Atlanta 34, Seattle 30
Houston Texans at New England Patriots: 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS
When the Houston Texans travel to Foxborough to square off with the New England Patriots, all of the defensive issues the Texans have faced over the second half of the season will be exposed by the Patriots’ air attack.
Houston’s secondary is ranked 16th in the NFL (allowing 225.8 yards per game), and they will be in serious trouble Sunday against New England's passing offense that ranks fourth in the league with 291.4 yards passing per game.
There is no question Arian Foster and the Texans will get their yards on the ground (eighth in the NFL averaging 132.7 yards per game), but the Patriots have only allowed 16 total points in the last two games of the season.
As long as Tom Brady lives up to his billing as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, New England will have no problem dispatching Houston like it did by a score of 42-14 in Week 14.
Prediction: New England 41, Houston 31
Full Divisional Round Schedule
|Matchup||TV Info||When||Time (ET)||Where|
|Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons||FOX||Sunday, January 13||1 p.m.||Georgia Dome|
|Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers||FOX||Saturday, January 12||8 p.m.||Candlestick Park|
|Houston Texans at New England Patriots||CBS||Sunday, January 13||4:30 p.m.||Gillette Stadium|
|Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos||CBS||Saturday, January 12||4:30 p.m.||Sports Authority Field at Mile High|