NFC Wildcard Preview – Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Ab Stanley

NFL Wild Card weekend is finally upon us. While the San Francisco 49ers sit back and watch, the six other remaining teams in the NFC Playoffs will square. Each team brings its own questions. Can the Detroit Lions end their 31 year streak of no postseason wins? Can The Philadelphia Eagles halt their freefall? Can the Cowboys finally make a deep playoff run?

Those questions will be answered in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect to see this weekend:

#7. Green Bay Packers (9-8) vs. #2. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)  Sunday 4:30 P. M.

The Cowboys stole away the NFC East division lead and are set to host an upstart Packers team. Dallas sports the number one ranked offense in the NFC as well as a top five defense. The Packers have won three in a row heading into the playoffs and they’ve scored a total of 83 points during that streak.

This one is shaping up to be a very interesting match up.


Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones- Running Back
Dallas is ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Jones has eclipsed 100 rushing yards and 130 yards from scrimmage in each of his last three games. If he can get going on the ground, it will help the Packers’ offense neutralize the Cowboys pass’ rush, opening the game a bit for quarterback Jordan Love.

Dallas Cowboys: Micah Parsons- Linebacker
Parsons has a team high 14.0 sacks and he’ll need to be a menace all game long. Putting pressure on Jordan Love will go a long way into stifling the Packers’ passing attack.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys win, 30-21. Dallas might have too much offense for the Packers to overcome, despite their current momentum.


#6. Los Angeles Rams (10-7) vs. #3. Detroit Lions (12-5)
Sunday 8:15 P. M.

The prodigal son returns, as Matthew Stafford leads the Los Angeles Rams into Detroit to take on the Lions. Los Angeles has won four in a row and are red hot heading into the playoffs. Detroit has controlled the NFC North division for the entire season and offensively they’re a handful.

This might be the most drama filled match up in the playoffs.


Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp – Wide Receiver
With Puka Nacua having his breakout rookie season, Kupp has become somewhat of a forgotten star this season. Detroit’s struggles against the pass could open up holes in the secondary, seeing as how most of the attention will (probably) be focused on Nacua.

Detroit Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs – Running Back
With tight end Sam LaPorta hobbled this past week, Detroit will be looking for another weapon in the passing game. Gibbs is not only an excellent runner, but he’s also third on the Lions in receptions. The plays he makes coming out of the backfield can keep drives going, and it’s hard for the Rams’ defense to account for him in passing situations.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams win, 24-21. There are so many storylines in this game, but the most dramatic seems the most likely. I’ll take the veteran Stafford and the Rams in a nail biter.


#5. Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) vs. #4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) Monday 8:15 P. M.

The Buccaneers have won five out of their last six games to win the NFC South. Conversely, the Eagles have lost five out of their last six games to lose their stronghold over the NFC East. Two teams going in opposite directions clash in a game that seems to be more closely matched than at first glance.



Philadelphia: Jalen Hurts – Quarterback
Not only has he had a few bad games down the stretch, but Hurts is dealing with a finger injury he sustained against the Giants. If Hurts isn’t playing at a top level, it’s hard to believe the Eagles will win this game. His running ability from the quarterback position can give the Buccaneers fits.

Tampa Bay: Lavonte David – Linebacker
David has been at the center of the Bucs’ defense probably since his rookie season. His play against the Eagles rushing attack will be one of the keys to stopping their offense. If Philadelphia is turned into a one dimensional passing team, then Tampa Bay will have a much better chance at a victory.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles win, 23-20. I have to believe the way Philadelphia played earlier in the season wasn’t’ a fluke. It may be a different story in later rounds, but their talent should see them through this game.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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