NFL Playoff Schedule: Wide Receivers Who Will Thrive on Wild Card Weekend

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers dives into the end-zone against theTennessee Titans at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn /Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Quarterbacks might get all the glory, but without a big-time wide receiver, that glory is short-lived.

Without a pair of capable hands running routes and catching the bullets these signal-callers fire around he field, there's little chance of a quarterback leading his team to victory, much less the playoffs.

Thankfully, for the eight quarterbacks who will be playing on Wild Card weekend, they each have a wide receiver at their disposal who is capable of producing in the clutch, standing out from the rest of the pack.

Let's take a look at which receivers will be shining the brightest when the first round of the playoffs comes to an end.


A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

If Detroit's Calvin Johnson wasn't around, Cincinnati's A.J. Green would be considered the best wide receiver in football by a wide margin.

As a matter of fact, trying to cover Green is a lot like trying to cover Megatron—a futile effort.

Lining up across from a Houston Texans secondary that has given up nine passing touchdowns over its last four games, Green is going to shine.

Texans safety Danieal Manning is well-aware of the problems that Green poses for his team (h/t Chicago Tribune): 

"They have a great receiver in A.J..They're going to find ways to get him the ball. We're going to have to make tackles because he can catch and run after the catch."

Between Green's size (6'4", 207 lbs), speed and ability to make defenders miss, Manning and company will try—and fail—to keep Green from taking over the game.


Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks

Sidney Rice might be the best wide receiver in the Emerald City, but it's the third-year man out of Notre Dame who is going to thrive against the Washington Redskins and a pass defense that ranks 30th in the NFL.

Tate finished the regular season with a strong performance against the St. Louis Rams, catching four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Whether he's lined up against DeAngelo Hall or Josh Wilson matters not, for Tate is gong to produce against an overmatched secondary.

With Seattle being one of the premier play-action teams in the league, look for Tate to find himself wide open on multiple possessions as the Redskins defense tries to stop one of the more prolific running games in the league.


James Jones, Green Bay Packers

With as many weapons as Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has on offense, it's tough to pick a Packers wide receiver to have a big game simply because you have no idea who Rodgers is going to target.

That makes things incredibly difficult for opposing defenses, as you simply cannot account for all of the firepower that the Packers have.  This leads to talented wide receivers, like James Jones, finding themselves in one-on-one coverage that they can exploit.

Jones, who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (14) and was the Packers' second-leading receiver during the regular season, has already had success against the Vikings this year, catching eight passes for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the two games that he's faced them.

That success won't stop in the playoffs, as Jones will once again cross the goal line and be a major factor in the outcome of the third meeting between these NFC North rivals.


You'd probably like to know when and where to catch these dynamic playmakers in action, so here's a look at the full postseason schedule for the NFL:

Wild Card Round        
Team 1 (ROAD) Team 2 (HOME) Date Time TV Info
Cincinnati Houston 1/5/2013 4:30 p.m. ET NBC
Minnesota Green Bay 1/5/2013 8 p.m. ET NBC
Indianapolis Baltimore 1/6/2013 1 p.m. ET CBS
Seattle Washington 1/6/2013 4:30 p.m. ET FOX
Divisional Playoffs        
Team 1 (ROAD) Team 2 (HOME) Date Time TV Info
Bal/Ind/Cin Denver 1/12/2013 4:30 p.m. ET CBS
GB/Wash/Sea San Francisco 1/12/2013 8 p.m. ET FOX
Wash/Sea/Minn Atlanta 1/13/2013 1 p.m. ET FOX
Hou/Bal/Ind New England 1/13/2013 4:30 p.m. ET CBS
Conference Championships        
Team 1 (ROAD) Team 2 (HOME) Date Time TV Info
NFC NFC 1/20/2013 TBD TBD
AFC AFC 1/20/2013 TBD TBD
Super Bowl XLVII        
Team 1 Team 2 Date Time TV Info
AFC Winner NFC Winner 2/3/2013 TBD CBS