The Baltimore Ravens may be the only wild-card weekend winner with a chance when the NFL playoffs resume Saturday.
With three of four first-round games decided by a touchdown or less, the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers should be nervous entering the next round. Teams with such slim first-round winning margins are 1-6 the following week since 2005 when the Washington Redskins followed a 17-10 win over Tampa Bay by losing to Seattle.
Overall, first-round winners are 10-10 the next week when they face teams coming off a bye week. While the opening-round victors have momentum, the hosts are rested and they're often better.
It has been a draw between the two sides over five seasons. That is, aside teams who expanded all their energy just to advance another week. Only Arizona in 2008 emerged from a narrow opening victory to win the second week. Those Cardinals won two more games before losing the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh.
Baltimore seems the safest bet among the four advancing teams. The Ravens -- who beat the Kansas City Chiefs 30-7 -- split two games with the Steelers this season. At least Baltimore didn't exhaust itself getting to the second round.
But that's it, according to trends. New York coach Rex Ryan can talk all he wants about beating New England and Bill Belichick on Sunday, but after escaping Indianapolis 17-16, the Jets may be out of gas. That seems to be the biggest problem for teams with emotional opening wins. They've often needed a late-season push just to reach the postseason so their playoff adrenalin has been running for weeks. They're simply gassed.
The Redskins were the hottest team in the NFL after winning their final four games in 2007 to earn a berth at 9-7. With Sean Taylor's recent death, Washington appeared to be one of those teams of destiny. Instead, they were smacked down in Seattle 35-14.
Coach Joe Gibbs later admitted he had sensed a Super Bowl run. Instead, he retired two days after the loss. He was drained. So was the team. The Redskins simply had nothing left in the tank.
Rest is supposed to be a major advantage for the top two teams receiving opening byes. Yet it sometimes works against those on cruise control over the final month. They don't play a meaningful game for weeks, and rest starters, before meeting a team in full gear. Exit the favorite.
Bye teams don't appear vulnerable this time, though. New England finished 8-0 while Chicago, Atlanta and Pittsburgh each finished 7-1. That's a 29-3 combined record.
First-round victors have about as much chance of reaching the third round as I have passing on the last donut. Round two is going to home teams.
Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at TheRickSniderReport.com and on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail email@example.com.