NFC Playoff Preview: Wildcard Weekend

Wildcard Weekend is here and we’re ready for it.

It’s do or die for the four NFC teams playing this Wildcard Weekend. Here are my predictions on who’s season will end and who will move on.

Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3)

Sunday, January 5th, 1:05 pm EST.

Sometimes, when you go one step forward, you take two hops back.  Such is life in Vikingstown, where the return of star running back Dalvin Cook is joyful, but the loss of two key defenders will mitigate the gains.  The Vikings will certainly look better on offense as he suits up for the first time since week fifteen, but they’re going to need some help stopping Drew Brees and company with both cornerback Mackensie Alexander and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo out for the game.  The Vikings are underdogs all over the field in this matchup, so those injuries will more than likely prove too large an obstacle to overcome. Expect Brees to pick on the Viking backups all afternoon long. Michael Thomas will have a huge game, and there will be little Minnesota can do to stop him.  I’m not saying that the Vikings can’t win, but they’d need a tremendous performance defensively to keep close.

Prediction: It’s close early as Minnesota uses Cook to grind out the first half, but once Drew Brees heats up, the Saints pull away.

Saints 35 – Vikings 20

Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

Sunday, January 5th, 4:40 pm EST

Philly shouldn’t be hosting a playoff game at 9-7, but they won the division, so here we go.  It won’t matter a lick against a much more complete Seattle team that has a lot to prove after losing to San Francisco by an inch last weekend.  Carson Wentz looks to have some of his groove back, but he’s still the second-best quarterback in this matchup, and it isn’t close. Russell Wilson has elevated his game this year and his growing chemistry with D.K. Metcalf is turning into a dangerous weapon in high leverage situations.  Sure, Seattle is thin at running back, but Beast Mode is back and looking ok for a dude who was pouring tequila shots on Sundays in December. Twelve carries, thirty-five yards and a TD. Seahawks fans will take that. He’ll have a tough go of it against the strength of this Eagles defense, but he’ll run the ball enough to keep Philly on their heels, and Russ will handle it from there.  

Prediction:  Despite a solid performance from Wentz, the Eagles can’t really stay close and the Philly Boo-Birds will be out in force by the end of the first half.  

Seahawks 31 -Eagles 13

Agree? Disagree? Let’s us know in the comments.

For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.

Image Source: USA Today

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