NFC Super Wild Card Weekend Previews & Predictions

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter/X: @FBGarbageTime

Don’t forget to check out this week’s podcast to get a full breakdown of every Super Wild Card Weekend game from Ryan Whitfield and me!

Green Bay Packers (9-8) @ Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Sunday, January 14, 2024 – 4:30 PM ET

  • Spread: Dallas by 7.5
  • Over/Under: 50.5
Green Bay Packers Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 12th (233.4)
  • Rushing – 15th (112.1)
  • Points – 12th (22.5)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 9th (206.8)
  • Rushing – 28th (128.3)
  • Points – 10th (20.6)
  • Turnover Differential – (0) (Tied for 16th Best)
Dallas Cowboys Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 3rd (258.6)
  • Rushing – 14th (112.9)
  • Points – 1st (29.9)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 5th (187.4)
  • Rushing – 16th (112.4)
  • Points – 5th (18.5)
  • Turnover Differential – (+10) (Tied for 5th Best)

Preview & Prediction

Mike McCarthy, who coached the Packers to a Super Bowl win a decade ago, faces his old team in Dallas in a Wild Card against his 2nd Seed Cowboys.  But this isn’t the same Packers.

Jordan Love has slowly developed into a franchise quarterback over the season have the 2nd most passing TDs in the league.  Dontayvion Wicks and Jayden Reed have stepped up in Christian Watson’s absence and Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave form an incredibly reliable TE combo.  Add in a healthy veteran Aaron Jones and the Packers offense is certainly on the rise.

But the Cowboys are undefeated at home and twice as good in terms of scoring and yards on offense as on the road.  And although Love has been good, Dak Prescott has been better, having the most passing TDs this season and leading his team to the 2nd seed, particular with CeeDee Lamb who has the 2nd most receiving yards (1,749) and the 3rd most receiving TDs (12) on the most targets (181) and most receptions (135) this season of any WR.

Packers will have to opportunistic and efficient as FGs won’t win games against the Cowboys at home.  But the Cowboys have 5th best pass defense and one of the best turnover differentials in the league at +10, so I don’t expect them to make many if any mistakes at home.  The Packers are also vulnerable on the ground, which may mean that Tony Pollard has the breakout game that everyone in Dallas has been waiting for.

Cowboys Win

Los Angeles Rams (10-7) @ Detroit Lions (12-5)

Sunday, January 14, 2024 – 8 PM ET

  • Spread: Detroit by 3
  • Over/Under: 51.5
Los Angeles Rams Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 10th (239.0)
  • Rushing – 11th (120.3)
  • Points – 8th (23.8)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 20th (231.1)
  • Rushing – 12th (106.8)
  • Points – 19th (22.2)
  • Turnover Differential – (-3) (Tied 11th Worst)
Detroit Lions Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 2nd (258.9)
  • Rushing – 5th (135.9)
  • Points – 5th (27.1)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 27th (247.4)
  • Rushing – 2nd (88.8)
  • Points – 23rd (23.2)
  • Turnover Differential – (0) (Tied for 16th Best)

Preview & Prediction

This is the game that everyone was looking for.  Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit with a Super Bowl win for the Rams after being traded away three years ago.  Detroit still loves Stafford, but there’s certainly a #Revenge narrative for Jared Goff, who has a chance to prove to the team he previously brought to a Super Bowl that they shouldn’t have let him go.

The Lions have been a force on offence since the back half of the 2022 season now having the 2nd best passing and 5th best rushing offense in the league behind Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, Jaymyr Gibbs and David Montgomery.  But with LaPorta out or limited with an injury he obtained in Week 18, and Kalif Raymond already ruled out, there are some questions regarding who will step up if the Packers scheme to take St. Brown out of the game wth their 10th ranked passing defense.

And of course, the Lions biggest problem is defense, being 2nd against the run but only 27th defending the pass.  That opens it up for Matthew Stafford to keep pace with Cooper Kupp and breakout rookie Puka Nacua, while still remaining balanced with Kyren Williams.  This looks to be a shootout, but there’s an emotional factor here for the Lions being at home and looking for their first playoff win in 32 years, which is NFL record draught.

Lions Win

Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)

Monday, January 15, 2024 – 8:15 PM ET

  • Spread: Philadelphia favored by 3
  • Over/Under: 43.5
Philadelphia Eagles Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 16th (225.5)
  • Rushing – 8th (128.8)
  • Points – 7th (25.5)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 31st (252.7)
  • Rushing – 10th (103.4)
  • Points – 30th (25.2)
  • Turnover Differential – (-10) (6th Worst)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 17th (224.2)
  • Rushing – 32nd (88.8)
  • Points – 20th (20.5)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 29th (248.9)
  • Rushing – 5th (95.3)
  • Points – 7th (19.1)
  • Turnover Differential – (+8) (9th Best)

Preview & Prediction

It’s the battle of the former Oklahoma QBs, Baker Mayfield and Jalen Hurts.  But both QBs have their teams going in opposite directions.  Mayfield has the Buccaneers winning 5 of their last 6 games to win the NFC South and get homefield advantage in the Wild Card game.  Hurts, on the other hand, has his team losing 5 of their last 6 games and is now dealing with displaced finger on his throwing hand.

The Eagles looked like world beaters before that slide, but it’s not only the offense that has come off the rails.  The Eagles were the 2nd best defense in the league in in 2022, this year they’ve fallen to be the 2nd worst passing defense allowing the 3rd most points to opposing teams in the league.  On top of that, the Eagles have also been incredibly sloppy having the 6th worst TO differential in the league at -10.

That being said, it’s not like the Bucs don’t have their problems.  Although they won 5 of their last 6, they barely made it by the cellar dweller Panthers in Week 18 on the back of just 3 FGs.  That’s not going to do it this weekend, even against the Eagles lackluster defense.  Mayfield still has some terrific targets in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rachaad White, who’s had a breakout season. The Bucs have also been more opportunistic with a +8-turnover differential, so if the Eagle remain sloppy on the road, it may be an early exit for a team that was once thought to be a shoo-in for the NFC Championship.

The big storyline here though is injuries.  Hurts has the afore mentioned misplaced finger on his throwing hand, AJ Brown has a knee injury that got him ruled out almost the entirety of Week 18 and kept him out of practice all week, safety Sydney Brown is out with an ACL tear and safety Reed Blankenship is still questionable with a groin injury.  On the other side, Mayfield is dealing with sore ribs and an ankle issue which he says his body maintenance guy can handle, but who knows how that will impact him in game.  Ultimately though, the Eagles defense is probably what will be the deciding factor in this game, and I don’t have a lot of faith in what they have left on the field.

Buccaneers Win