NFL

NFL Playoffs: NFC Wild Card Preview And Predictions – Forbes


Here’s a look at the three NFC Wild Card games this weekend, with a predicted winner for each of the games.

Sunday, Jan. 14

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox

Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock

Monday, Jan. 15

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Quarterbacks

Green Bay

The Packers played ordinary football for much of the season, but they turned it around in the final 3 games to make the playoffs. Jordan Love was a major question mark at the start of the season, but he is a confident and solid quarterback who threw for 4,159 yards while compiling a 32-11 TD-interception ratio. He seems to be getting better every week.

Dallas

The Cowboys were a dominant team at home this season, sweeping all 8 games and 6 of their victories were blowouts. Dak Prescott played at an MVP level throughout the majority of the season as he threw for 4,516 yards and delivered 36 touchdown passes while cutting his interceptions down to 9. Supremely confident in his ability and fully respected by his teammates.

Edge – Dallas

Offense

Green Bay

The Packers have excellent skill-position players, but they don’t want to get into a track meet with the Cowboys. They need running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to have solid games to control the clock. Speedy Jayden Reed has emerged as the best of Love’s receivers after catching 64-793-8. If Christian Watson can return, he can be a difference-maker.

Dallas

It’s hard to stop the Cowboys once they get just a little bit of momentum. Tony Pollard is a solid back who can take the pressure off of the passing game, but it’s wide receiver CeeDee Lamb who is the team’s true game-breaker after compiling 135-1,749-12 this season. Tight end Jake Ferguson is one of the best in the NFL at his position, while Brandin Cooks is a superb complimentary wideout.

Edge – Dallas

Defense

Green Bay

The Packers have been somewhat inconsistent on defense this season and defensive coordinator Joe Barry has received quite a bit of criticism. However, the Packers’ defense was excellent in the final two games of the season. Linebacker Quay Walker has great instincts and led the team with 118 stops while Rashan Gary had 9.0 sacks.

Dallas

The Cowboys have some remarkable defensive talent, and it starts with Micah Parsons, who has several explosive moves and had 14.0 sacks. Cornerback DaRon Bland had a season for the ages with 9 interceptions and a record 5 that were returned for touchdowns. Linebacker Damone Clark led the team with 107 tackles.

Edge – Dallas

Special Teams

Green Bay

The Packers did not get an overly consistent performance from PK Anders Carlson. He made 27 of 33 FG attempts, but he missed 5 of his 39 extra-point attempts. Keisean Nixon is fairly ordinary, and he averaged just 6.8 yards per punt return.

Dallas

The Cowboys found their kicker in Brandon Aubrey, who delivered with consistency by making 36 of 38 FG attempts that included a long of 60 yards. Bryan Anger has a huge leg and he averaged 51.4 yards per punt.

Edge – Dallas

The winner is: Dallas 4, Green Bay 0

The Cowboys have been an unstoppable juggernaut at home this year, but their playoff history has been shoddy for many years. The Packers would love to come into AT&T Stadium and embarrass former head coach Mike McCarthy

Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions

Quarterbacks

L.A. Rams

The Rams were one of the better teams in the league throughout the second half of the season as they closed the year by winning 7 of their final 8 games. Matthew Stafford played the majority of his career with the Lions, and now he will try to break the hearts of his former employers and their fans by returning to Detroit for this playoff game.

Detroit

The Lions dominated the NFC North from start to finish and they get a rare home playoff game for their success. Just like Stafford, Jared Goff gets a chance to show his former team that he can end their season. Goff is an expert in taking what the defense will give him and he threw for 4,575 yards while compiling a 30-12 TD-interception ratio this season.

Edge – Even

Offense

L.A. Rams

The Rams struggled on offense throughout the first half of the season, but the second half saw them come into their own. Rookie Kyren Williams became one of the year’s best stories with 1,144 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns and a 5.02 yards per carry average. The wideout duo of Puka Nacua and veteran Cooper Kupp is likely to cause problems for the Detroit defense.

Detroit

The Lions have been able to run the ball for the majority of the season as the combination of veteran David Montgomery and speedy rookie Jahmyr Gibbs has been dependable. Wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the best in the league and he caught 119-1,515-10 this season. Rookie TE Jason LaPorta (knee) should be able to play, and he had 86-889-10 this season.

Edge – Detroit

Defense

L.A. Rams

The Rams have been an opportunistic defensive team and they have gained confidence in the second half of the season. Linebacker Ernest Jones is not a superstar, but he led the team with 145 tackles and also had 4.5 sacks. Aaron Donald (8.0 sacks) can still rise to the occasion with his strength and explosiveness. Free safety Jordan Fuller had 93 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles.

Detroit

The Lions will give up yards and points, but they will make clutch plays on defense when the game is on the line. Linebacker Alex Anzalone has brilliant instincts and led the team with 129 tackles and also had 3.0 sacks. Aidan Hutchinson is on the verge of becoming a superstar as he had 11.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Free safety Kerby Joseph had 80 tackles, 4 interceptions and 11 passes defensed.

Edge – L.A. Rams

Special Teams

L.A. Rams

The Rams are hoping for a bit more consistency in their kicking game during the postseason. Brett Maher has made 17 of 23 FG attempts and punter Ethan Evans is averaging 49.2 yards per punt. Austin Trammell is an ordinary return specialist.

Detroit

The Lions have been forced to go with Michael Badgley as their placekicker after Riley Patterson was waived. Badgley has made 4 of 4 FG attempts but has missed 2 extra point attempts. Kalif Raymond is averaging 11.4 yards as a punt returner.

Edge – Detroit

The winner is: Detroit 2 ½, L.A. Rams 1 ½

The Lions finally return to the playoffs this year and they get to compete in front of their home fans. Dan Campbell will make sure his team is pumped up and this team will ride that emotion to a significant victory.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterbacks

Philadelphia

It has been a very strange season for the Eagles, as they were the dominant team in the NFL through November, but then the bottom fell out. They go into the playoffs on a 5-game losing streak, but it would be wrong to simply dismiss them. Jalen Hurts (23 TD passes, 15 TD runs) may not be at his best, but he has the ability to bounce back and make plays when the game is on the line.

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers did not really distinguish themselves during the regular season, but they were good enough to win the NFC South once again. It was a very good year for quarterback Baker Mayfield because he went into the season with a major question mark, but found success. He threw for 4,044 yards and had a respectable 26-10 TD-interception ratio.

Edge – Philadelphia

Offense

Philadelphia

The Eagles were a smooth-running machine on offense during the first three months of the season and head coach Nick Sirianni hopes for a return to form. D’Andre Swift rushed for 1,043 yards and a 4.58 yards per carry average. A.J. Brown has remarkable size and strength and he caught 106-1,456-7, while DeVonta Smith added 1,066 receiving yards.

Tampa Bay

The Bucs have an underrated rushing attack as Rachaad White ran for 990 yards, but his average of 3.6 yards per carry won’t scare the Eagles. However, the combination of wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could cause a lot of problems. Evans had 1,255 receiving yards and caught 12 TD passes, while Godwin caught 83-1,024-2 and has an array of moves

Edge – Philadelphia

Defense

Philadelphia

When the Eagles were at their best, their defense was intimidating opponents with big hits and game-changing plays. Outside linebacker Haason Reddick can turn the corner when rushing the passer and has 11.0 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Free safety Reed Blankenship leads the team with 108 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers are a veteran team that understands how to play the game as a result of leadership from veteran linebacker Lavonte David and safety Antoine Winfield. David led the team in tackles with 133 stops, 17 tackles for loss and contributed 4.5 sacks. Winfield had 122 stops, 12 passes defensed and 3 interceptions.

Edge – Tampa Bay

Special Teams

Philadelphia

The Eagles should be quite confident when Jake Elliott takes the field. He connected on 30 of 32 FG attempts and his long was 61 yards. Britain Covey is capable of a game-changing punt return as he averaged 14.4 yards in that category.

Tampa Bay

The Bucs know that when they send Chase McLaughlin onto the field, they are going to get solid results. He made 29 of 31 FG attempts all 33 of his extra-point attempts. Devan Thompkins had a long punt return of 51 yards.

Edge – Even

The winner is: Philadelphia 2 ½, Tampa Bay 1 ½

While the Eagles are in a deep slump that is cause for deep concern in Philadelphia, it’s hard to see Hurts and his teammates letting this continue. The Eagles figure out a way to get back on track and find a way to survive and advance.

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Sage Monroe

Hi there! My name is Sage Monroe and I am a politics and business blog article writer currently studying at the University of Vermont. Writing has been my passion since a young age, and I am fortunate enough to be able to pursue it as a career. I spend most of my time researching and analyzing current events to provide insightful and thought-provoking commentary on a variety of topics. My articles can be found on various blogs and news websites, and I am always looking for new opportunities to share my ideas with the world. When I'm not writing, you can find me hiking in the beautiful Vermont countryside or enjoying a good cup of coffee at my favorite local cafe.

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