The 2022-2023 NFL regular season is over. 14 teams in two conferences (seven in each) have a shot at winning the Vince Lombardi championship trophy. For those not familiar with the updated playoff format, an extra team has been added. That means there’s one bye week for the top seeded team in each conference and a Monday night playoff game. Everyone wants to know which three teams in the NFC advance to the divisional round, so here are the best bets come Saturday.
#7 Seattle Seahawks v. #2 San Francisco 49ers
The first of three divisional games on wild-card weekend and the first playoff game, this one might be a snoozer. The 49ers have won ten straight games by an average scoring margin of 17 points. This is a bad matchup for Seattle. The Seahawks were thumped in both games against a divisional rival they were last swept by in 2011. Despite defensive tackle Al Woods and offensive play-makers Tyler Lockett and Kenneth Walker Jr. playing better since injuries, this will be a one-sided start to the postseason.
Prediction: 49ers win 37-13
#6 New York Giants v. #3 Minnesota Vikings
The best and most interesting game for round one. The game could be a blowout, a nail-biting field goal to end, or a triple overtime thriller given how both teams played each other in the regular season.
The most important matchup is New York’s receivers versus Minnesota’s secondary. The Vikings defense has given up an average 400 yards passing and 23 points per game since their late October bye week. Brian Daboll is someone who coaches players on how to adapt and play better regardless of talent levels. Quarterback Daniel Jones had a week off and one can bet the starters on all three sides of the ball made notes on how to make needed adjustments for round two in Minneapolis.
Upset Prediction of the first round: Giants win 30-24
#5 Dallas Cowboys v. #4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The last game for wild-card weekend, this one should have a lot of interest. Dallas is in a slump while the Buccaneers are still working through injuries on the offensive line. Two things in Tampa’s favor are Tom Brady’s undefeated record versus the Cowboys and the week one win in Dallas Sunday night September 11th.
The results should be similar. Dallas’ offense has more pressure due to news headlines and constant feedback from owner Jerry Jones while Tampa’s more experienced in the postseason and runningback Leonard Fournette plays his best in Januarys.
Prediction: Buccaneers win 20-13
2022 Regular Season NFC Playoff Predictions Record: 3-4