NFL Playoff Schedule 2013: Guide for Seahawks vs. Falcons, Texans vs. Patriots
After the exciting NFL playoff games that took place on Saturday night, fans cannot wait for more football.
It will be difficult for either of the games to top a double-overtime showdown or a record-breaking quarterback performance, but the next two divisional round matchups should still be exhilarating.
Entering Sunday, there are only six teams remaining, but any of them have the ability to win the Super Bowl. Make sure you do not miss the action, as more teams take one step closer to achieving that goal.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
When: January 13 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Spread (via Vegas Insider): Falcons -3
Injuries (via ESPN)
S William Moore (Hamstring) Probable
DE John Abraham (Ankle) Questionable
WR Sidney Rice (Knee) Probable
RB Marshawn Lynch (Foot) Probable
Falcons: Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan has done a great job in the regular season, but to this point, he is 0-3 in his playoff career. This type of record has a habit of staying with a quarterback until he is able to get that first win.
The Falcons quarterback does not have much of a run game to help him out. However, he does have three great receiving weapons in Roddy White, Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez.
He needs to find all three of them early and often in order to put up points and help lead his team to victory.
Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch
Atlanta has the No. 21-ranked run defense in the NFL. Marshawn Lynch has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his last five games.
This could get ugly.
The Seahawks need to establish the run to help out their young quarterback in this tough road atmosphere. With Lynch, that should not be a problem.
However, if the running back struggles, Seattle might have a hard time scoring.
Prediction: Seahawks 21, Falcons 20
The home crowd should make things difficult for Russell Wilson and company, but they have shown in recent weeks that they are capable of winning on the road. Seattle is a more balanced team and is as hot as any team in the league.
The Seahawks should earn this close victory.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
When: January 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
Spread (via Vegas Insider): Patriots -9.5
Injuries (via ESPN)
CB Alan Ball (Foot) Probable
TE Garrett Graham (Concussion) Probable
TE Owen Daniels (Shoulder) Probable
TE Rob Gronkowski (Arm/Hip) Probable
WR Brandon Lloyd (Knee) Questionable
TE Aaron Hernandez (Ankle) Questionable
WR Wes Welker (Ankle) Questionable
LB Rob Ninkovich (Hip) Questionable
Patriots: Rob Gronkowski
Any offense led by Tom Brady should be fine, but Rob Gronkowski makes the unit almost unstoppable.
The big tight end is a great target for the quarterback, especially near the end zone. Gronkowski had 11 touchdowns this season in only 11 games.
Although Houston has a very good defense, there is no one that can guard the talented player without help.
Texans: J.J. Watt
Houston was shut down by the Patriots defense in the regular-season meeting. However, it is New England's offense that should be the most concerning.
The Patriots led the NFL in both yards and points and are a challenge to even slow down, let alone stop.
Fortunately for the Texans, they have one of the top defensive players in all of football. J.J. Watt led the league in sacks and can be a force on every play.
The defensive end must get into the backfield often in order to disrupt the opposing quarterback and make sure things do not go smoothly. If he can be active throughout the game, Houston has a chance to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Texans 17
This game will be closer than the 42-14 win by the Patriots in the regular season, but New England is still the more dominant team. Matt Schaub is simply unable to make the downfield throws necessary to expose the Patriots defense and New England's offense should continue to score with ease as it has all year.
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