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Wild Card Weekend: Eight who can change legacies

Wild Card Weekend

The playoffs are finally here. Take a closer look at the wild-card matchups that will kick off the action:

» Bengals at Texans
» Vikings at Packers
» Colts at Ravens
» Seahawks at Redskins

» NFL.com's analysts' picks.

On Twitter: #NFLPlayoffs

Aaron Rodgers had a fantastic quote on ESPN Milwaukee about what the playoffs mean as the Green Bay Packers prepared for their Saturday night wild-card game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"I was thinking about this last night, and I really feel like, you make your money during the season," Rodgers said. 'You get paid to play and play real well. And you earn your paycheck during the season. And you create your legacy in the postseason.

"I was thinking about that actually last night when I was laying in bed -- just how special that run is, and how you never know when you're going to get these kind of opportunities again. You have a great team, a great opportunity in front of you, and you just want to make the most of it, get back to the Super Bowl and have more of those moments."

Fair or not, Rodgers is dead on. We love his perspective. It got us thinking about legacies and what's at stake this weekend. Here's one man from each team playing with the most on the line.

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans: This is Schaub's first playoff start. He's 31 years old and has been the Texans' starting quarterback for six years. He's a solid starter and a Pro Bowl pick this season. But he's slumping, and a first-round loss would make for a very uncomfortable offseason. (The boys discussed this one on the ATL Debate Club.)

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals: It's no small feat for Lewis to reach the playoffs three times in four years as a coach in the Bengals' organization. This is his fourth playoff trip since taking over the job. He's still looking for his first win. The Bengals are a nice team, but no one takes them seriously as a true title threat. Not yet.

Dom Capers, Green Bay Packers: Green Bay's defense was a mess last season. It has bounced back this season and dealt with a lot of injuries, but the Packers are coming off a performance where they gave up 37 points to the Minnesota Vikings. Capers has coached this team to a championship before, but he needs to turn this unit around.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson's legacy as an all-time great is secure. He should win the MVP this year. But it would put this bananas season in a whole different light if he lit up the Packers again in a road playoff victory. Peterson has rushed for 268 yards and three scores in three career playoff games.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: The obvious answer is Ray Lewis. But he really could leave a lasting imprint in future weeks. Flacco doesn't want to be the guy who blows a chance to send Lewis on one magical playoff run. With Flacco's contractual situation hanging in the balance, he has a lot of pressure to take advantage of a favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.

Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts: Lost in the great stories surrounding Lewis, Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano: This could be Freeney's final game in a Colts uniform.

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks: A lot of folks wondered if Carroll finally could find success in the NFL after his successful run at USC. Three years later, he has done one of the best program-building jobs imaginable. This is a team ready to make the Super Bowl. That would change the way Carroll is viewed.

London Fletcher, Washington Redskins: Fletcher was part of a Super Bowl run 14 years ago. He was last part of a team that won a playoff game after the 2001 season. It is outrageous that he's the leader of a defense that's on a seven-game winning streak heading into 2013.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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