Fast approaching wildcard weekend now! We looked at the AFC schedule a couple of days back and now we’ll look at the matchups in the NFC. The Packers won the right take to the week off and will be watching to see who they’ll be taking on come the Divisional Round next week.
Rams (6) @ Seahawks (3)
The Seahawks are the favourites going into this match both because of the regular season form and also that they’re at home. Going to Seattle is often a hard task but home advantage this year isn’t what it’s been in past seasons with few fans in attendance.
A lot of the Seahawks chances rely on Jamal Adams being fit going into the match (at time of writing, he is) and Russell Wilson showing his early season form. Adams is essential to the pass rush game in Seattle, without him they simply don’t get to opposing quarterbacks. Wilson started the season on fire and MVP votes were destined his way but towards the end of the season, that gloss had worn off. He ended the season joint third in interceptions thrown, third on sacks taken and second on sack yards lost. He’s still a mercurial and on his day will pick apart this Rams team.
On the Rams side, Goff is trending as starting but it’s not a guarantee. If he plays, he gets his favourite target back in Cooper Kupp who returns after a bout of Covid. More important is what the defence can do to get to Wilson and if Ramsey can shut down DK Metcalf. Metcalf has struggled against the top cornerbacks he’s faced so far in his young career.
This is likely to be the closest of all the wildcard matches. I’m going to give it to the Seahawks by 3, but I’d much rather sit on the fence!
Buccaneers (5) @ Football Team (4)
On the other flip side, this should be the easier one to call. The Football Team have a great defensive line and could cause Brady some trouble. The biggest issue is on the other side of the football – will Alex Smith be fit? The presumptive comeback player of the year would love to be on the field for the playoffs once more and we’d all love to see him there but doubts remain about his fitness levels.
Bucs fans will be waiting for news on Mike Evan’s fitness but realistically, Antonio Brown is capable of filling the gap. I don’t really see anything other than a Bucs win here to be honest, and I’ll give them a 14 point win.
Bears (7) @ Saints (2)
Ah the Bears. What a season they had. Started well, went to pot, and then ended well. But even during the good bits, no one was ever really convinced by the offence. Sure, Trubisky did just enough for the Bears to squeeze into the playoffs, but against the Saints defence it could be a completely different story. The Saints pass rush and backfield are both clicking coming into the playoffs and I would expect them to feast on this Bears pass offence. Whether they can stop Montgomery may be a different story and in him lies the Bears hope of winning this game.
The Saints offence looks to have bounced back from Brees injury earlier in the season and with Kamara back I would expect them to compete and win against what is a top Bears defence. The Saints haven’t been 100% convincing through the back end of the season but they have enough to beat the Bears, I’ll give them a 10 point win.
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