The Seahawks blowing two great opportunities vs the Cardinals could very well come back to haunt them. No 3 seed, no bye, have to win against Lions, then probably Falcons and probably Cowboys to get to the SB with injury concerns, obviously missing ET and a number of other key players. The positives? They play against the Lions in Seattle. Then the Falcons. Yes it would be a road game, against a great offense and not a lot of rest while the Falcons are waiting through a bye. I'd still rather play the Lions and Falcons then to be on the other side of the NFC bracket. Both the Packers and Giants are on a roll and both Rodgers and Manning have proven themselves in past playoff runs. In my opinion, that could be the game of the first weekend of playoff play. The Packers are favorites in that one, but it's going to be close. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants taking that one. If the Hawks get to the NFC title game, and the Cowboys lose the divisional (playing either the Packers or Giants), then the Hawks would host that game. It's going to be hard.
The AFC will be brutal as well. Lot's of good teams there. The Patriots are looking really strong. A 39 year old QB is playing as well as anyone ever has. They are a juggernaut right now. That said, the Steelers are rounding into form, the Chiefs are scary, as are the Raiders (that division could have gone either way, but I don't think either of those teams would have minded playing a game or two on the road), and even the Texans and Dolphins (especially the Dolphins) are solid. Miami has had an excellent 2nd half of the season and they deserve to be here. I don't think they'll be a pushover.
There are many scenarios that could play out. There are teams that really stand out, Patriots, Chiefs, Raiders, Cowboys, but you also have teams that are on fire, Packers, Giants, Dolphins, two teams that are perennial powers in Seattle and Pittsburgh, a dangerous floater in Atlanta, a Houston team that's not to be overlooked. A Lions team that doesn't get to the playoffs that often and usually flatters only to deceive when they do make it, but I think they are a good team that just stumbled a bit late in the season to give the Packers the NFC north title.