For the first time ever, there will be six wild card games played in one NFL weekend. I a, going to be breaking down and predicting the outcomes for each of the three NFC wild card matchups this weekend.
Bears v Saints
This game is not a hard one to break down. The Bears backed their way into the playoffs, finishing 8-8. To juxtapose that, the Saints managed to go 12-4 even when their starting quarterback missed four games. The Saints’ offense is so versatile that it is hard to see the Bears being able to stop them.
They have the 6th best rushing attack in the NFL and even finished top 15 in passing despite missing Drew Brees for a quarter of the season. The Bears defense ranks in the bottom half of the league against both the pass and run.
The Bears will be starting Mitchell Trubisky who has been stellar to close out the year after losing his starting job earlier this season. Trubisky will be tasked with facing the NFL’s 4th best rushing defense and 5th best passing defense. A tough task for anyone.
The lone beacon of hope for the Bears comes from their week 8 matchup against the Saints. In that game, the Saints won but via an overtime field goal. The Bears have proven they can compete with the Saints, but this time it will against a playoff seasoned team and coaching staff. The Saints are clear favorites, but this year has given us crazier things than an upset.
Prediction: Bears 17 Saints 30
Rams v Seahawks
This NFC West matchup features the 12-4 Seahawks hosting the 10-6 Rams. Both teams have had their moments but neither team stands out. The teams split their season series with the Seahawks winning most recently in week 16. The key to this game is going to be Seattle’s ability to pressure Jared Goff.
Seattle has been very poor on the defensive side of the ball this year, coming in at second to last in pass yards allowed. Their run defense has been stellar and considering how the Rams are top 10 in rushing yards in the NFL. The Seahawks’ secondary and pass rush will have to make Jared Goff uncomfortable to win this game.
Russel Wilson and the Seahawks have been strong, especially recently, riding a four-game winning streak into the playoffs. The Rams statistically have the best defense in the NFL, ranking 1st in pass yards allowed and 3rd in rushing yards allowed.
If the Seahawks are able to get moving and score early against the Rams, it suits the Seahawks well considering the Rams have only amassed 30 points three times in 2020 compared to the Seahawks eight. The Rams thrive in low scoring games where they are able to run the ball and develop the short to the intermediate passing game. Expect an exciting game that could likely come down to the wire.
Prediction: Rams 20 Seahawks 27
Football Team v Buccaneers
Who doesn’t love an underdog story? The Washington football team somehow crawled their way into the playoffs with a Coach who beat cancer, a Quarterback with 1 leg, and drama upon drama in the front office.
And who will the 7-9 Football Team be playing? The winningest quarterback of all time with an offensive arsenal of weapons with limitless potential. This game should seem like an easy pick, with the Bucs on a four-game win streak to enter the playoffs. They have been playing the best football they have all year putting up 40+ points in the last two weeks.
The Bucs have the 4th best passing attack nut are the 7th worst in the league running the football. This plays into Washington’s strength as they are 2nd best against the pass and above average against the run. If Washington can knock Brady out of rhythm early, similar to how New Orleans did earlier in the year, that is when the Bucs struggle.
With Washington, the hope lies in Alex Smith. When Smith starts, The Football team is 4-1, and with a big win against the Steelers in primetime, Washington has shown they can handle the big moment. Washington plays well under smith because of his savvy and veteran presence.
He controls the clock very well and doesn’t try to do too much, if he can find his rhythm early, the Bucs secondary is their biggest weakness. This wild card game should be a lock for the Bucs but if 2020 has shown us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Prediction Football Team 21 Buccaneers 34