The 2024 NFL Playoffs are about to begin with the Wild Card round. The NFC will play six games between Sunday and Monday, with the winners advancing to the Divisional Round next week and the losers eliminated from playoff contention. While the playoffs are just beginning, we have the seven NFC teams that can represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Let’s predict who will make it all the way to the big game.
2024 NFL Playoff Predictions
The San Francisco 49ers earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC and will have a first-round bye. The Dallas Cowboys (No. 2), Detroit Lions (No. 3) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 4) all earned home-field advantage in the Wild Card round by winning their respective divisions. The Philadelphia Eagles are the No. 5 seed and will face the Bucs, while the No. 6 seed Los Angeles Rams go on the road to take on the Lions. The No. 7 seed was earned by the Green Bay Packers, and they have to go on the road to take on the Cowboys.
Wild Card Round
There are several revenge games on hand for the Wild Card round. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy will host his former team in the first round. McCarthy coached the Packers from 2006 to 2018, amassing a 125-77 record and winning the Super Bowl in 2010. Dallas finished the regular season 12-5, winning its final two games over the Lions and Washington Commanders.
Green Bay started the season 3-6, and it looked like the Packers made a poor choice by letting Aaron Rodgers go. The Packers rebounded and finished 6-2, winning three games in a row to end the regular season and clinch a playoff berth. Green Bay missed the playoffs last year but has now made the postseason in four of the last five years under Matt LaFleur.
In another revenge matchup, quarterback Matthew Stafford makes his return to Detroit. Stafford spent the first 12 years of his career with the Lions. The veteran quarterback has been with the Rams for the past three seasons and won the Super Bowl in 2021. The Rams finished this season 10-7 after starting it 3-6. Los Angeles came out of its bye week in Week 10 and went 7-1 down the stretch, winning each of their last four games.
Detroit head coach Dan Campbell has the Lions back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Lions picked up their first NFC North divisional title in 30 years and are in a rare spot hosting a playoff game in the Wild Card round. Detroit nearly had two 1,000-yard rushers between David Montgomery (1,015) and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs (945). Amon-Ra St. Brown solidified that he is one of the best wide receivers in the league finishing with 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns on 119 receptions.
Someone had to win the NFC South, and when the dust settled, the Buccaneers locked in their third division title in a row. Tampa Bay will be rewarded with hosting the Eagles in the Wild Card round. Tampa Bay needed a win in Week 18 to clinch the division and a playoff berth and escaped with a 9-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers won five of their last six games of the season.
As good as Tampa Bay has been down the stretch, Philly has not. The Eagles looked like they were going to be in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC but fell apart as the regular season ended. Philadelphia started 5-0 and 10-1 with big wins over the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles finished 1-5 in their last six, though with a bad loss to the Arizona Cardinals along the way. Momentum is not in their favor, and they need to figure things out quickly to not see an early exit.
No. 1 49ers vs. No. 5 Eagles
This would be a rematch of Week 13, when San Francisco absolutely rolled over Philadelphia, 42-19. The loss sparked the Eagles’ downfall and seemed to shake the team’s confidence as they were not only blown out, but it came at home. Quarterback Brock Purdy finished with 314 passing yards with four touchdowns as the 49ers played one of their best games of the season.
Philadelphia will surely have revenge on the mind, but San Francisco would be at home for this game. Barring any unforeseen injuries or too much rest in the bye week, the 49ers should pick up a win and head back to the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
No. 2 Cowboys vs. No. 3 Lions
This would be another repeat of a game that happened in the regular season. These teams matched up in Dallas in Week 17. The Cowboys picked up the 20-19 victory amid a viral two-point conversion trick play that the refs got confused on offensive linemen reporting as eligible. This projects to be a great matchup, with Dallas likely having a slight advantage from being the home team. The Cowboys should get back to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 1995.
NFC Championship Game
No. 1 49ers vs. No. 2 Cowboys
At the very least, I think this game is much closer than the regular season matchup that saw Dallas lose 42-10 in San Francisco. As the better seed, the 49ers would get to host the NFC Championship Game, which would be their third NFC Championship Game in as many seasons. San Francisco lost to the Rams in 2021 and the Eagles last season. With the team they have this season and the way they have been playing, it feels like if it doesn’t happen for the 49ers this season it may not happen. It feels very chalky not picking any upsets in the NFC playoff picture, but I think that San Francisco represents the NFC in the 2024 Super Bowl.