Predicting the 2014 NFL Playoffs

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Predicting the 2013 NFL Playoffs

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Matthews Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, NFL fans were shocked to see the Baltimore Ravens, in linebacker Ray Lewis' last hurrah, win Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers behind the play of quarterback Joe Flacco (pictured above).

Flacco capped off one of the best all-time postseason performances for a quarterback in NFL history by throwing 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in four games. Shockingly, Flacco outdueled future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to reach the Super Bowl as the Ravens proved once again last season that any team can win it all.

In 2013, though, NFL fans won't see Flacco and the Ravens hoisting a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy as they failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. In 2013, young quarterbacks Nick Foles and Cam Newton will make their postseason debuts for the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers, respectively.

Returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, 2010 and 2009 are the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, respectively. New coaches at the helm from a season ago have put these three franchises back on the right track.

NFL fans will also receive the luxury of watching the 49ers and Green Bay Packers go back at it in the playoffs like last season and a possible rematch between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos could be in the future. One last battle between Brady and Manning would make sense, right?

The clear favorite to win Super Bowl XLVIII looks to be the Seattle Seahawks as they have only lost one home game over the past two seasons. Unfortunately for the NFC, the playoff road will travel through the 12th man in 2013.

The parity in the NFL is unbelievable, and it will only continue to build as the 2013 postseason reaches closer to its final act. Here are our 2013 NFL Playoff Predictions.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: NFC Wild Card

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(3) Philadelphia Eagles over (6) New Orleans Saints, 24-17

The Saints can't buy a win on the road as Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will outduel Drew Brees in the comforts of his home stadium.

(5) San Francisco 49ers over (4) Green Bay Packers, 27-24

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (pictured above) and the 49ers continue to dominate the Packers as Green Bay's defense has no answer for the 49ers' diverse offense and a beat-up Packer offense struggles against a championship-caliber defense.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC Wild Card

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Cincinnati Bengals over (6) San Diego Chargers, 26-13

The Bengals haven't lost a home game all season, and the dominance should continue into the playoffs as the feel-good Chargers have trouble operating against one of the NFL's finest defensive units.

(4) Indianapolis Colts over (5) Kansas City Chiefs, 24-20

The Colts are getting hot at the right time as NFL Defensive Player of the Year favorite Robert Mathis (pictured above) helps quarterback Andrew Luck win his first career playoff game over a Chiefs team which lost five of their final seven games in the regular season.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: NFC Divisional

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(2) Carolina Panthers over (3) Philadelphia Eagles, 23-17

The Panthers' stingy and gritty defense, led by Greg Hardy and Luke Kuechly (pictured above), ring the Eagles' offense up enough as Philadelphia can't get by an intense and physical Carolina football team.

(1) Seattle Seahawks over (5) San Francisco 49ers, 27-17

In what would be best suited as an NFC Championship Game matchup, CenturyLink Field proves to be a nightmare for the 49ers in the divisional round as the 12th man is a huge asset for the Seahawks' quest to reach their first NFC Championship Game since 2006.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC Divisional

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(2) New England Patriots over (3) Cincinnati Bengals, 21-10

In a battle between two of the NFL's best defensive units, the Patriots gain a serious edge over the Bengals while playing in the comforts of Gillette Stadium behind the arm of Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

(1) Denver Broncos over (4) Indianapolis Colts, 34-31

In a rematch between Peyton Manning (pictured above) and Andrew Luck, the Broncos get the best out of the Colts and avenge their Week 7 loss in Denver by the slimmest of margins in what would be one of the NFL's most watched games of the Divisional Round weekend.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: NFC Championship

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(1) Seahawks over (2) Panthers, 24-13

The Seahawks continue to receive a huge boost from the 12th man and the steady play of confident second-year quarterback Russell Wilson. The Legion of Boom, led by Richard Sherman (pictured above), stifles the Panthers below-average receiving corps for Seattle's first NFC title since 2006.

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2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC Championship

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Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

(2) Patriots over (1) Broncos, 34-31

In what could be the last playoff matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (both pictured above), Brady gets his 11th win over Manning at Denver in thrilling fashion as this year's AFC title game will certainly be worth watching. The Patriots will edge Denver for the second time this season and reach their sixth Super Bowl since 2001.

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Super Bowl XLVIII: Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

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In a battle between two teams who have the ability to adapt to any kind of weather environment, Super Bowl XLVIII's location at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands will certainly be a perfect place to pit these two teams against one another.

The Seahawks have the headliner defensive unit, but the Patriots, behind the strong play of defensive end Chandler Jones and company, have been one of the most impressive under the radar defenses in the NFL.

New England's offense is led by no stranger when it comes to the Super Bowl as Tom Brady has three rings of his own, but Seattle's quarterback, Russell Wilson (pictured above), exhibits a confidence and poise which is special and uncommon.

Both teams have power running attacks and a physical nature on both sides of the football, but this year's Super Bowl will come down to talent. The Patriots, who would be at least without Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, give the Seahawks all they can handle, but Seattle's overwhelming talent on both sides of the football brings the Lombardi Trophy to Seattle for the first time in franchise history

Seahawks 17, Patriots 13


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