It was a wild Week 18 in the NFL, but the playoff teams have been set for next week’s Wild Card Weekend. Here’s a look at the exciting matchups as the playoffs are ready to begin on Saturday afternoon.
Seattle Travels to Face San Francisco
The seventh-seed Seattle Seahawks visit the second-seeded Niners in San Francisco for their third matchup of the season. San Francisco won both meetings and beat the Seahawks here 27-7 in Week 2.
The 49ers have won ten straight games, while the Seahawks finished the season 3-5 and ended the season with two consecutive wins. Seattle deserves to be here, but their 30th-ranked run defense will be overwhelmed by Christian McCaffrey and the Niners’ ground game.
Chargers Visit Jaguars For Second Season Meeting
The number-four seed Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the second game on Saturday. The Jags hope to repeat what they did in Week 3 when they went into SoFi Stadium and beat the Chargers 38-10.
Jacksonville has won six of the last seven games. They should succeed against the Chargers’ 27th-ranked run defense, and the Chargers should do the same against the Jags’ 27th ranking against the pass. However, Justin Herbert should come out on top in the battle of young quarterbacks.
Bills Host Division Rival Dolphins
Seventh-seed Miami again goes to Highmark Stadium to face its division rival, the number-two seed Bills, for the second time in a month. Miami has been one of the most competitive teams against the Bills this season, beating them at home in Week 3 and losing 31-29 on the road a few weeks ago.
If Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t clear concussion protocol, the Bills will have the advantage against rookie Skylar Thompson. However, if Buffalo doesn’t turn the ball over, it will be a long day for Miami, no matter who makes the start for them at QB.
Vikings Host Giants For 2nd Time
The sixth-seed New York Giants travel to Minneapolis to face the number-three Vikings in the second Sunday game on Wild Card weekend. New York rested all of its starters last week against the Eagles and should be ready to avenge its 27-24 defeat here three weeks ago.
The Vikings have significant injuries on the offensive line and will have issues running the ball. They’ll also have difficulties against Saquon Barkley after giving up nearly 139 yards on the ground in each of the last six games. The Vikings’ negative season point differential will finally catch up with them in this matchup.
Bengals Host Ravens Again
The sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens travel to Cincinnati for the second straight week to face the third-seed Bengals. Cincinnati is a much different team than the one that lost to Baltimore in Week 5, as the Ravens saw last week in the 27-16 loss.
Lamar Jackson is questionable for Baltimore after nursing a knee injury for the last five games. Even if he does start, he won’t be at 100%. However, they desperately need him if they hope to win this matchup.
Cowboys Face Bucs In Tampa
The final game of Wild Card weekend is the Monday night matchup between the number-five Dallas Cowboys and the fourth-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys need more solid play from Dak Prescott in this matchup, as he’s thrown 11 interceptions in the last seven games. However, this offense can put points on the board in a hurry.
This will be a tough matchup for the Bucs against the league’s second-ranked offense. However, they should be able to limit the Bucs’ offense by controlling the clock with their running game. Tampa hopes to keep this game close, and one should never underestimate Tom Brady when the game is on the line.