NFC Wild Card Preview – Regular Season Reruns

Ab Stanley

Much like their AFC counterparts, the NFC side of the playoffs are filled with rematches and rubber matches. These teams will once again set foot on the field to face each other, except this time it will be win or go home.

The only thing we know for a fact is we will be crowning a new NFC champion in a few weeks. Does one of these teams have the right stuff to take the crown?

 

Seattle Seahawks (9-8) vs. San Francisco 49ers (13-4) – Saturday, 4:30pm EST 

The last time these two met in the Playoffs, Seattle beat San Francisco in an epic NFC title game (2013).

The Seahawks are looking for their first postseason win in the post-Russell Wilson era. Can the resurgent Geno Smith lead them to their first Super Bowl since the 2014 season?

The 49ers have been the most dominant team in the NFL during the second half of the season. Can they ride their defense to their first championship of the century?

X-Factor:

San Francisco: George Kittle – Tight End 

Kittle is a massive weapon for the 49ers who’s only had a handful of top notch games this season. If San Francisco can work him in early, other guys should see single coverage and get better matchups.

Seattle: Tyler Lockett – Wide Receiver

Lockett remains one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL. His ability to make big plays down field could blow the game wide open for Seattle’s offense and keep the 49ers’ defense at bay.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers win, 27-17. I’ll take San Francisco in a drag em out kind of game, won on a defensive stop.

 

New York Giants (9-7-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (13-4) – Sunday, 4:30 PM EST

The Giants are a team not oblivious to postseason success. The team has four Super Bowl wins, with one as recently as 2011. Unfortunately that was the last time they won any type of playoff game. Can they push through this postseason?

Conversely, the Vikings have been to four Super Bowls and lost each time. Will they make it to their first title game since 1977?

X-Factor:

Minnesota: Adam Thielen – Wide Receiver

The stud wideout has had an up and down season, but could make a huge impact in this game. With coverage shifting over to Justin Jefferson’s side of the field, Thielen should get single coverage matchups all day.

New York: Richie James – Wide Receiver

James was kind of, sort of, emerging earlier in the season, but he’s come on hot as of late. If he can put some pressure on the Vikings’ secondary, that could open up the field more for Saquon Barkley and the rest of the offense.

Prediction: New York Giants win, 24-23. It seems like the Giants got the perfect matchup for any road team in the playoffs. I’ll take them in a tight scoring game.

 

Dallas Cowboys (12-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9) – Monday, 8:15 PM EST

Dallas remains one of the teams that get the most attention in the NFL. They’re also a team trying to regain Super Bowl glory for the first time in nearly three decades.

The Buccaneers have pushed their way into the playoffs with very little resistance from their division. Will this team pose as a dangerous threat or just an old afterthought?

X-Factor:

Tampa Bay: Antoine Winfield Jr. – Safety

With the Cowboys propensity to make plays in the passing game, Winfield will need to break up passes and make sure tackles in the secondary.

Dallas: T. Y. Hilton – Wide Receiver

The ten year veteran can find holes in the defense and give Dak Prescott another sure-handed target in the passing game.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys win, 24-20. The recent Cowboys’ woes would make you lean towards a Tom Brady victory, but that hasn’t been as much of a lock this season. I’ll take the Cowboys in this one.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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