NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend

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Dante DiMatteo, Reporter

It is the most wonderful time of the year. The NFL playoffs are finally here. The NFL’s best are set to fight it out in the chase for the Lombardi trophy. Here is what we are looking at in the opening weekend of play:

Seahawks(7) @ 49ers(2) 

These two rivals have faced off twice this year already with San Francisco taking the win both times. The 49ers defense has a tendency to shut down their opponent in every way possible, if Seattle is going to move on, they will have to maintain drives and keep putting the points up on the board. This is simply put, a revenge game. Hot take: Seattle wins in a nail biter, Seattle is the heavy underdog yet they keep fighting, I think Geno Smith can lead them to the second round and he still ain’t going to write back. (Yet)

Chargers(5) @ Jaguars(4) 

Many are calling the Jags a team of destiny, with their first playoff appearance since 2017 where they made it all the way to the conference final where they had lost to the Patriots in heartbreaking fashion. Meanwhile the Chargers have their franchise QB in Justin Herbert making his playoff debut, so two not so playoff teams are squaring off, so who wins? I think that the Jags win a close one as they have experienced coaching in Doug Pederson and a QB who doesn’t seem to feel the pressure in Trevor Lawrence. Those factors are a make or break come playoff time, and I think that the Jags have what it takes to scrape a close one out vs the Chargers.

Dolphins(7) @ Bills(2)

Once again we have division rivals fighting each other to move on. However, the Dolphins will be without Tua Tagovailoa who is out (Concussion) and will have to rely on backup Skylar Thompson. On the other side is Buffalo, who is firing on all cylinders since the scary injury to Damar Hamlin. It is safe to say that they are playing for their teammate and are looking pretty good while doing it. Not to mention QB Josh Allen is having a career year in every category. I think Buffalo takes this one in dominant fashion as the Dolphins have literally everything going against them, yet crazier things have happened.

Giants(6) @ Vikings(3) 

Having faced off in one of the wildest games of the year that was won on a last second field goal for the Vikings, the Giants will play a meaningful game in January for the first time since the 2016 season. The Vikings offense is something every defense should have nightmares about with a great run game and an even better passing game. The Giants have beaten all odds to get here in the first place, I do not believe they beat them again. The Vikings offense is too hot right now and rolling through any defense that tries to stop them. This is where the inexperience will come into play, I think the Vikings win in what should be a great game.

Ravens(6) @ Bengals (3)

The Bengals have one of the best QBs in the NFL. Nicknamed “Joe Cool” comes with a reason, Joe Burrow does not let the big stages or the pressure get to him as he took the Bengals all the way to the Super Bowl last year. The Ravens will most likely not have QB Lamar Jackson and will have to rely on one of his backups to try and get the job done. To me the Ravens just haven’t showed up at all in recent weeks and the Bengals have everything working in their favor, with a better offense, defense, and special teams. The Bengals win this one by plenty, I think they will dominate their way into the second round.

Cowboys(5) @ Buccaneers(4) 

Game of the week. It is being televised on Monday Night Football for a reason. Tom Brady Vs Dak Prescott. Brady is 3-0 vs Dak in his career and is a whopping 7-0 against Dallas. Coming off an embarrassing loss in Washington, Dallas is back in blood out for revenge vs the GOAT. This is the hardest game to predict as both teams are consistently inconsistent. I feel Dallas takes this one, everything points to Tampa winning it but Dallas is coming in with a chip on its shoulder and looking for blood. The X factor is Dak Prescott and the turnovers, if he can move the ball efficiently down the field and keep putting up the great numbers, Dallas takes this one easily. But I’ve learned not to hold my breath with that thought.