Mike Ivcic’s NFL Playoff Predictions

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Welcome to the Ultimate Capper’s NFL Season Preview. Below is the schedule for the division-by-division breakdown for the upcoming season. Also, we’re enhancing our NFL coverage this year with Mike Ivcic’s regular column every Wednesday and a full game-by-game breakdown every Saturday, in addition to our regular features and free picks. The best place for information on the 2013 NFL season is right here at the Ultimate Capper!


AFC West – Tue, 8/13 NFC North – Wed, 8/14 NFC East – Thu, 8/15
AFC South – Fri, 8/16 NFC South – Tue, 8/20 AFC North – Wed, 8/21
NFC West – Thu, 8/22 AFC East – Fri, 8/23 Playoffs – Wed, 8/28

If you read our division-by-division breakdown of the upcoming NFL season, then you may have already figured out our playoff teams. If you haven’t, then click above and get started! Either way, here’s how we see the 2013 season shaping up for the postseason:

1. Denver Broncos (14-2)
2. Houston Texas (12-4)
3. New England Patriots (11-5)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
5. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
6. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
If Cincinnati thought winning in Houston the last two years was difficult, they’ll be in for quite a rude awakening in Foxboro in January. The Patriots should win that game, but their defense just isn’t where it needs to be to make a deep postseason run and they’ll lose the following week to Houston. On the other side, Pittsburgh is another tough place to win in the postseason, and guys like Roethlisberger and Polamalu are playoff-tested veterans, so that’s a tall order for the young Colts to handle. I think the Steelers will prevail here, but neither team is talented or deep enough to do what Baltimore did last year and stun the Broncos in Denver. That sets up what the chalk would dictate here – Houston at Denver for the AFC championship. I said in the Texans portion of the preview that this is where they have to get to this season, if not further, but I just can’t see this team being able to win on the road against such a loaded Broncos team. I would probably give the edge to Houston if they were home – that’s how much I really do like that team – but Manning and company have to feel like they squandered a really good opportunity last year, and Peyton doesn’t have many of them left. This could be the last, best shot for him to tie his brother for rings, and I think he at least gets a chance to play for it.
Prediction: Denver Broncos

1. San Francisco 49’ers (13-3)
2. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
3. Green Bay Packers (11-5)
4. New York Giants (11-5)
5. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
6. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
Some really good teams get left out here, like Washington, Detroit, and Chicago, but such is life in the current NFC. I don’t think this year’s Seattle team will be as good as last year’s, so I can’t see them walking in Lambeau and beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. That would set up a high-flying track meet in New Orleans against the Saints, where the same theory applies – as much as I like Rodgers, he doesn’t have weapons anymore to beat Brees and the Saints. Meanwhile the Falcons will do this year what they could not do two years ago and win a road game at MetLife Stadium against a Giants team that doesn’t boast the same defensive prowess as that group did, setting up a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game with the 49’ers. Every year, at least one team with a bye loses in the Divisional round, and I think San Francisco becomes that surprise of the season and drops that home game to the Falcons. Thus, the NFC title will comes down to two dome teams from the NFC South, and as loaded as Atlanta is this season, they will suffer the same heartbreak that befell them last season. New Orleans has a chip on their collective shoulders after getting dismantled by the league last season, and this will be a team on a mission.
Prediction: New Orleans Saints

Super Bowl XLVII
Sunday, February 2, 2014
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
The script won’t feature a local team, but it will sound just a little familiar – Peyton Manning against Drew Brees and the Saints. The biggest difference here will be that instead of playing the game in the nice warm climate of Miami, Florida, these two teams will be subjected to what could potentially be a bad-weather Super Bowl. Now, one of these teams plays their games in the coldest environment in the entire NFL, a mile above sea level, where October snow is typical and high, gusting winds are standard – and the other plays in a dome. If this matchup plays out as predicted, the edge will swing heavily to the Broncos because of their defense, which should ultimately give two of the most storied quarterbacks in NFL history – John Elway and Peyton Manning – each another Super Bowl ring.
Prediction: Denver Broncos

So write it down and place your bets, folks, then settle in for what promises to be another great year of exciting NFL action – and you can read about it all season long, every Wednesday and Saturday, right here at the Ultimate Capper!


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