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The NFC playoffs have started off with a shocking bang. Some of the (so called) contenders from wild card weekend are eliminated and we now have some interesting matchups. The only thing we’re certain of is there will be a new NFC representative in the Super Bowl.
#7. Green Bay Packers vs. #1. San Francisco 49ers – Saturday, 8:15 P.M.
The Packers and 49ers have met nine previous times in the playoffs and the 49ers hold a 5-4 record in that series. The 49ers are well rested after a first round bye, but they’ve lost two out of three games heading into the playoffs. The Packers might be the hottest team in the NFL after winning their fourth game in a row.
When these two teams gets together in the playoffs, it’s usually a historic finish.
Green Bay Packers: Quay Walker – Linebacker
Walker is Green Bay’s leading tackler during the regular season and he was all over the field versus Dallas. The biggest key to stopping the 49ers is to get them off of the field on third downs. Walker has to provide some steady tackling to help stifle San Francisco’s offense.
San Francisco 49ers: George Kittle – Tight End
Green Bay’s secondary does a good job defending the boundaries against wide receivers. Kittle should find holes in the middle of the Packers’ defense. He can provide a steady target for Brock Purdy while the Packers are worrying about all the other receivers.
Prediction: San Francisco wins, 28-21.The 49ers might be the overall favorite to win it all this season. Green Bay is on a hot streak, but there is just too much talent on the 49ers roster.
#4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. #3. Detroit Lions – Sunday, 3:00 P.M.
If anybody predicted this playoff matchup before the season started, I’d then ask them for tomorrow’s lottery numbers. The Lions are coming off of their first playoff win in 32 years. The Buccaneers have now made it to the divisional round of the playoffs three out of the last four years.
Both teams would pose as an improbable participant in the NFC Championship game, but one of them will definitely be there.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rachaad White – Running Back
The Buccaneers have to get some semblance of a rushing attack versus the Lions and White is at the forefront of that attack. If White can get it going on the ground, it will force Detroit to take a harder look in Tampa Bay’s back field and open up some more passing lanes for Baker Mayfield.
Detroit Lions: Brian Branch-Cornerback
Branch had a good game in the divisional round, but Detroit’s secondary wasn’t exactly stellar overall. With the plethora of wide receivers the Buccaneers can throw at them, Branch could be the big play performer the Lions need on the backside. He can set the tone for the rest of the secondary as well as the rest of the defense.
Prediction: Detroit Lions win, 27-20. Detroit seems to be on a mission this season. They should thrill their fans at home for the second week in a row with another close win.