The NFC Wild Card round is set after a wild week 18. The Buccaneers, Cowboys and Rams all changed seeds despite the Rams losing. The 49ers had to win to get in and they beat the Rams in a thrilling over time victory. Below is a preview of each matchup.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers locked up the number one seed a week ago and didn’t have much to play for against the Lions. Green Bay’s starters played the first half to stay sharp and keep the timing between Rodgers and his weapons. In addition, David Bakhtiari and Josh Meyers each made their return to live game action. Packer fans were happy to see the offensive line have an opportunity to build some chemistry ahead of a playoff run. It’s also important to know, all roads to the Super Bowl go through Lambeau Field!
#7 Eagles @ #2 Buccaneers (Sunday 12:00 PM on FOX)
The defending Super Bowl champs will host Philadelphia for their wild card game. These two teams met in week six with Tampa Bay winning 28-22. These two teams look very different than they did. Leonard Fournette was too much for the Eagles to handle. He racked up 127 yards and two touchdowns. Fournette is eligible to return from IR and head coach Bruce Arians said he is trending in the right direction.
Philadelphia elected to rest many of their starters this week in hopes to be fresh for the wild card round. The Eagles and head coach Nick Sirianni found an identity midway through the season. They are a physical football team that wants to run the ball and then run it some more. With the injuries to Tampa Bay, don’t be surprised if Philadelphia pulls an upset.
#6 49ers @ #3 Dallas (Sunday 3:30 on CBS)
Jerrys Jones and his Dallas Cowboys will host the 49ers. These two teams did not meet in the regular season. San Francisco won a thrilling over time game to get into the playoffs and that emotion could pay dividends as they meet up with a potent offense like Dallas in their wild card game. San Francisco, like Philadelphia, likes to be physical and establish the run. Look for rookie linebacker, Micah Parsons to be a force all over the field.
Which version of Dallas is going to show up? Offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore will attempt to establish the ground game but if things don’t go well, don’t be surprised if Dak Prescott throws the ball 40 plus times. In the previous matchup in 2020, Dallas prevailed 41-33. It’s likely another high scoring affair could happen and fans will not complain about that.
#5 Cardinals @ #4 Rams (Monday 7:15 on ESPN)
The Cardinals and Rams mark the second and third team from the NFC West to advance to the post season. These two teams split their season series, each winning on the road. This game could come down to an old fashioned shoot out so get your popcorn ready.
Arizona hasn’t been themselves since Green Bay beat them week eight, ending their 7-0 start to the season. The Cardinals, however, did get some good news this week as former defensive MVP, JJ Watt has been designated to return from IR. DeAndre Hopkins will still be sidelined with a knee injury. He could return in the Cardinals make it to the NFC Championship game.
The Los Angeles Rams have played well since their week 12 loss to the Packers. The Rams rattled off five straight wins before losing this last week. LA made big splashes this season with signing Odell Beckham Jr. and trading for Von Miller. These two players were not on the team for the Rams first meeting with the Cardinals. In addition, Matthew Stafford hasn’t been sharp lately throwing costly interceptions. If he continues to turn the ball over, the Rams could be one and done!
Eagles @ Buccaneers: Tom Brady will find a way to win at least one playoff game, regardless of how short handed he is. With the Tampa’s run defense, Jalen Hurts will likely have to win the game with his arm, which is unproven.
49ers @ Dallas: The uncertainty of which Dallas team will show up doesn’t leave a whole lot of confidence they can win this game. Is it possible they have too many weapons and Dak is stuck trying to make everyone happy?
Cardinals @ Rams: Kyler Murray is dynamic. If the Rams defensive front doesn’t contain Murray, he will run all over them. This game will come down to the turnover battle. Which ever team turns it over latest in the game will likely be sent packing.
Curious to know who are some best and worst potential matchups, read about it here.