Predicting the 2013 NFL playoffs

Will Peyton Manning and the Broncos win the Super Bowl this year? - Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With re-seeding involved, this is bound to fail.

OK, I'm going to give predicting the NFL playoffs a shot.

It's somewhat different and stranger than filling out an NCAA basketball tournament due to re-seeding in the divisional round. You miss one game in the Wild Card round and the entire bracket is more than busted.

But if you get it right? You look like a genius. And the probability of picking 11 games is much better than predicting the college hoops tourney.

Though I'm far from a genius, and more than likely on the exact opposite side of that spectrum, I'm going to give this a try.

Here's my prediction as to how the postseason will play out.

AFC wild card round

No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs vs. No. 4 Indianapolis Colts: This game happened just two weeks ago, with the Colts stunning the Chiefs 23-7. The Colts were able to limit Alex Smith in the passing game, holding him to just 153 yards. And this was at Arrowhead Stadium. In Indianapolis? I have to go with the Colts once again. Donald Brown has given some life to the running game and Trent Richardson even got in the end zone in Week 17. Prediction: Colts advance

No. 6 San Diego Chargers vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals: Here's a random, and bizarre, fact. Each of the Philadelphia Eagles' home openers from the past four years went on to win the Super Bowl (Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens). Which team did the Eagles open up at home with this year? The Chargers. OK, I'll chalk this fact up to coincidence. But I do like the Chargers to get a road upset. The defense has improved through the season and the offense is rolling with a healthy balance of Ryan Mathews and Keenan Allen. Prediction: Chargers advance

NFC wild card round

No. 5 San Francisco 49ers vs. No. 4 Green Bay Packers: The winner of this game could go on to win the Super Bowl. I'm not kidding, either. With Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are as dangerous as anyone. When the 49ers are clicking offensively, they're tough to stop. With this game in Green Bay and in the cold weather, I'm going to have to give the Packers the advantage. Rodgers wins another close game. Prediction: Packers advance

No. 6 New Orleans Saints vs. No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Brees is one of the NFL's best, sure. But he and the Saints have struggled on the road all year. Though the Saints' defense has been solid against the pass, it's given up chunk plays on the ground. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has been the best at his position this season. Nick Foles has been efficient since stepping in as the full-time starter, which gives Philadelphia an edge. Prediction: Eagles advance

AFC divisional round

No. 6 Chargers vs. No. 1 Broncos: Could the Chargers do it again? They were one of three teams to defeat the Broncos this year, holding them to their lowest points total of the season (20). So will they? No way. Peyton Manning will want this game bad after seeing his offense struggle that particular Thursday night. Plus, Wes Welker will be back to contribute on offense this time around. Prediction: Broncos advance

No. 4 Indianapolis Colts vs. No. 2 New England Patriots: After giving up 42 points to Cincinnati in Week 14, the Colts have held opponents to 20 total points through the last three weeks of the regular season (Texans, Chiefs, Jaguars). With the Colts' rushing defense susceptible to big plays, the Patriots will use a mix of Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount and Stevan RIdley to gash them. Oh, and then there's this guy named Tom Brady, too. Prediction: Patriots advance

NFC divisional round

No. 4 Green Bay Packers vs. No. 1 Seattle Seahawks: The Packers will probably watch a lot of film from Seattle's Week 16 loss to Arizona, which is the only time the Seahawks have lost at home this season. The Packers will be as close to full strength as they've been all year, with Rodgers and Randall Cobb back. But the Seattle secondary should hold its own and Russell Wilson should be able to do work against an average-at-best (if not worse) Packers defense. Prediction: Seahawks advance

No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles vs. No. 2 Carolina Panthers: The Panthers' defense has been extremely effective all year, limiting teams to 301.2 yards per game (second in the NFL). But the Eagles are heating up at the right time as they're winners of seven of their last eight (eight of their last nine if they get past New Orleans in the first round). McCoy finds some room and winds up being the difference in the game. Prediction: Eagles advance

AFC Championship

No. 2 New England Patriots vs. No. 1 Denver Broncos: Shocking prediction, I know. Took a big risk here. This game figures to be another Brady-Manning classic. After getting revenge on the Chargers, Manning will want to get past the Patriots, another team that defeated the Broncos in the regular season. And that one hurt, with the Patriots coming back in unforeseen fashion to win in overtime. The Broncos don't let it happen this time. Prediction: Broncos advance

NFC Championship

No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles vs. No. 1 Seattle Seahawks: Chip Kelly will be a national talking point once again if he's able to lead the Eagles this far in the playoffs, especially since there was a debate as to whether his offense could work at the NFL level. But the Seahawks' defense is just too much for most offenses at this point. It's a bad matchup for Foles and the passing game as Seattle advances to the Super Bowl. Prediction: Seahawks advance

Super Bowl XLVIII

No. 1 Seattle Seahawks vs. No. 1 Denver Broncos: Played in the cold at MetLife Stadium, this figures to be an intriguing matchup featuring the best defense of 2013 against the best offense of 2013. In most circumstances, you go with the better defense, as — and yes, I'll use the cliche — defense wins championships. But not in this case. Manning has had the greatest season of any NFL quarterback, throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns — both being single-season records. Manning has had success no matter the opponent and here's no reason to think he won't have success against Seattle. Prediction: Broncos win the Super Bowl


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