Jan 6, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball to score a touchdown as Washington Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley (56) and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (91) chase in the fourth quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. The Seahawks win 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview

The NFL Divisional Playoffs are upon us and to help get you started, here’s a preview of Sunday’s games plus a few predictions:

Dec 30, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM ET FOX:

The Falcons are on a mission.  They are 0-3 in the playoffs in the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era.  It’s time to change that.  However, two defensive players may not be at full strength following injuries they suffered in their week 17 loss to Tampa Bay.  That being DE John Abraham and CB Dunta Robinson.  The Seahawks have a big injury of their own though in DE Chris Clemons, the team sack leader with 11.5.  He is out with a torn ACL suffered last week on that terrible field in Washington.  It’s really hard to pick against Russell Wilson with what he is doing right now.  Marshawn Lynch has gone full beast mode and that defense is awfully good.  The Falcons have a terrific offense, but until they can show me and the rest of the football world that they can win in the playoffs, I’m going to have to believe it when I see it, and I want to pick the Falcons.  I can’t though.

Prediction: Seahawks 27 Falcons 24

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots 4:30 PM ET CBS:

Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bengals 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans return to the site of their butt-whooping back on December 10.  That was also the beginning of their late season slide in which they lost three of four.  The Texans weren’t very impressive in their win Saturday over the Bengals and the Boston Globe does not like their chances to put in nicely.  Unfortunately, neither do I.  Part of it is the number of injuries on the defensive side of the ball they’ve suffered this year.  Part of it is Matt Schaub‘s ineffective play.  Arian Foster is ticked at the Boston Globe for that article and he’ll play well, but when you give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare, especially for a playoff game, it’s not going to end well.  I picked the Texans to make the Super Bowl, and for a while this game looked lilke it would be played in Houston, but I don’t see how the Texans go into Foxboro and beat the Patriots in January.

Prediction: Patriots 37 Texans 24

Tags: Atlanta Falcons Houston Texans New England Patriots Seattle Seahawks

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