NFC Wildcard Preview
The NFC playoffs boast some interesting wildcard matchups, including pitting two of the strongest teams in the NFC together right off the bat. While the Cowboys and Falcons get to rest, the rest of the NFC will figure itself out in what will be an interesting race to the superbowl. The Cowboys are overrated in my opinion, (don’t get me wrong Dak and Zeke have been nothing short of spectacular), but along the way they will need to beat teams with veteran quarterbacks and playoff experience. It is nice for the Cowboys that the road to the superbowl will be through Dallas, but I don’t know that it will be enough to get them to the NFC championship. The Falcons boast one of the best offenses in the NFL, and a legitimate MVP candidate in Ryan. The two-headed beast of Coleman and Freeman should be healthy, and Julio is incredible. The third-seeded Hawks have experience and great quarterback play on their side. The fourth and fifth seeded-Packers and Giants, respectively, to me, are the threat in the NFC, and the sixth-seeded Lions could also be a surprisingly-difficult task for the Seahawks.
#3 Seahawks versus #6 Lions
The Seahawks host the Lions in the opening weekend of the playoffs. The game is an opportunity for the Lions to prove they belong. The Seahawks meanwhile, are no strangers to the playoffs, as they return for their fourth straight appearance. The Seahawks hope to calm down what has been a hot lions team. The Lions have come back to win several games late, and while their fourth quarter heroics have been in the spotlight, few have noticed their defense. Before losing to both the Packers and Cowboys, the Lions had held 8 straight opponents to less than 20 points. The Seahawks desperately miss Earl Thomas, but the defense is still loaded with playmakers up and down the field. This game has upset potential if the Seahawks struggle scoring as they have at times this season.
Verdict: Lions advance to the divisional round
#4 Packers versus #5 Giants
This one is a doozy. The Giants are one of the best defenses in the NFL, but are coming into Lambeau against the red hot offense of Aaron Rogers and company. For the Giants, this game will boil down to two things: getting stops on Rodgers, and Eli avoiding turnovers. On the Packers side, being creative with the play calls and taking advantage of mismatches will be key in moving the ball. The running game will have to complement the passing game in order to keep the ball hawking Giants defense guessing. The Giants have been doubted all year, but this is the playoffs and playoff Eli is a lot different than regular season Eli. This is the best matchup of the wildcard round and the winner of this game will represent the NFC in the superbowl.
Verdict: The Giants will advance to the divisional round