Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nfl's Top Seeds Have Little to Fear

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nfl's Top Seeds Have Little to Fear

Article excerpt

Do you think Seattle, Green Bay, New England and Denver were sweating over anything they saw on this wild-card weekend?

There was drama - and also massive controversy - in Dallas' come- from-behind victory over Detroit on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, there was decisiveness - but a lot of bad play - in Indianapolis' clobbering of Cincinnati.

On Saturday, there was balance - but some obvious weaknesses - in Baltimore's triumph over Pittsburgh.

And there was control - but also an amazingly poor offensive performance by Arizona - in Carolina's victory over the Cardinals.

What it all set up: Some very lopsided matchups in the divisional round and the ever-increasing likelihood that the Super Bowl winner will emerge from one of the four favored teams.

In fact, I think it now points to a Seattle-New England Super Bowl pairing, and if that happens I think Seattle will repeat as champion.

By the way, I hate predicting repeats.

(Which I proved at the start of the season by predicting that the 49ers would win the Super Bowl. Oops.)

Here's my game-by-game thought process .

Carolina at Seattle on Saturday: The Panthers might hit the Seahawks in the mouth a time or two, but it's hard to see how the Panthers score on Seattle's defense.

This one feels almost like a half-bye for the Seahawks, who are 24-2 at CenturyLink Field over the last three seasons, including playoffs.

I think if you're going to beat the Seahawks in any playoff season, you have to beat them early.

You give Seattle a head start, home games, and some January momentum, and the Seahawks are almost impossible to knock down.

Dallas at Green Bay on Sunday: Dallas brings an 8-0 road record into this one, but Green Bay averaged 39.8 points per home game this season.

The Cowboys' D - which needed a very suspicious late ruling to squeeze past the Lions - just isn't set up to halt that.

Aaron Rodgers' wobbly calf muscle is a question mark, but that's a deeper concern for the probable NFC title game in Seattle than for this game.

Indianapolis at Denver on Sunday: All good things will come to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's crew eventually, but facing Peyton Manning in Denver is not the same as beating Bengals QB Andy Dalton in Indiana. …

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