NFL Playoffs: 3 Teams Set for First-Round Upset Wins
With the NFL playoff picture moving closer and closer to being set, thoughts of some upsets are already upon us.
If the playoffs were to start today, the wild card games for the AFC would be No. 6 Cincinnati versus No. 3 Baltimore and No. 5 Pittsburgh versus No. 4 Oakland.
On the NFC side, it would be No. 6 Atlanta versus No. 3 New Orleans and No. 5 Chicago versus No. 4 Dallas.
There are no standout teams in these potential first-round matchups, so upsets can happen across the board. But there are also no standout bad teams, so "upset" may not be the correct word.
However it is laid out, here are three possible upsets in the first round of the playoffs.
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The Cincinnati Bengals face their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.
This is lining up to be the biggest upset in the first round of the playoffs this season.
If the Bengals play the Ravens, the teams will know each other well, as they played earlier in the season and will also face off in the last week of the season.
The Bengals held very close in the game against the Ravens early on in the season and have shown that they are not just a joke of a team, even though they are young.
If quarterback Andy Dalton continues to play the way he has in his rookie season, the Bengals might find some ways to overcome and out-duel their bitter rivals in the playoffs.
Also, the Ravens usually falter in the playoffs, so the Bengals might be able to use that in their favor.
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This may not seem like an upset, but due to their seeds, it is.
At the fifth seed in the AFC, the Steelers have been a solid team throughout the year. They will likely face the AFC West division winner, against whom they have a strong chance of winning the game.
The Oakland Raiders have also played well this season, but they are not as strong as they were earlier in the season.
McFadden will likely come back in time for the playoffs, but against the stingy defense of the Steelers the Raiders will not be able to get a good ground game.
The Steelers also have experience winning in the playoffs, and that could go a long way in their playoff run, which starts with a defeat of the Raiders.
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Another divisional matchup slated for the first round of the NFL playoffs pits the Atlanta Falcons versus the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints have shown complete dominance on the offensive side of the game, but have struggled against the Falcons this season.
The Saints will face the Falcons again this season, but the real moment of truth will come in the playoffs.
The Falcons only lost to the Saints by three earlier in the year and could bring a very good team to play against the Saints, which could give them all they need to get past the first round of the playoffs.
The Saints were also the victims of one of the biggest upsets in recent playoff history when Marshawn Lynch earned his title of "Beast Mode" after he and the Seahawks pulled out a victory in a wild-card game last season.
The Saints will look to get that out of their heads and be a strong team in the playoffs, but the Falcons could be the team to throw them back down and make it two playoff upsets in a row for the Saints.