NFL Postseason Wildcard Predictions

February is just around the corner, meaning colder weather, the end of the semester, and of course, the NFL playoffs. This year has had no shortage of drama, with several teams pulling clearly ahead in the standings. As the regular season comes to a close, let’s take a look at the upcoming wildcard matches:


San Francisco 49ers (2) vs Seattle Seahawks (7)

The 49ers, although plagued by injuries, have been the hottest team in the NFL during the back half of the regular season. They’ve won 10 games in a row to get here, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down any time soon. Their opponents, the Seattle Seahawks, are quite the opposite. The Seahawks barely squeaked their way into the playoffs in a deciding overtime victory against the 5-12 Los Angeles Rams. It’s also worth noting that, since they’re in the division rivals, these teams have played each other twice already this season, with both games going in the way of San Francisco.

It’s hard to predict anything other than a decisive 49ers victory in this one, but there are always upsets. A key player to pay attention to in this matchup is San Francisco’s rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. If Purdy succumbs to the pressure of Levi’s Stadium, anything can happen.

Final Score Prediction: 49ers 31, Seahawks 10

Jacksonville Jaguars (4) vs Los Angeles Chargers (5)

Jacksonville may be seeded higher in this matchup, but that doesn’t mean they’re a better team. Jacksonville narrowly made the playoffs in a do-or-die win against the injury-ridden Tennessee Titans, so it’s hard to rate them very highly going into the postseason. The Chargers, however, have looked better than they ever have since drafting quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020. My money’s on Los Angeles for this one, but in reality, it could go either way. With Saturday’s game being the first time either of these teams have made the playoffs in the last few years, it’s bound to be a good one.

This will be a matchup between Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, as they’ll both be making their playoff debut. This is a must-watch matchup if you even remotely care about either of these two teams, because whoever wins will most likely be stomped out of the playoffs next week.

Final Score Prediction: Chargers 30, Jaguars 24 (Overtime)

Buffalo Bills (2) vs Miami Dolphins (7)

Going into the season, many people thought that this could be a potential AFC Conference Final, but instead they meet in the Wild Card round. The Buffalo Bills entered the season as Super Bowl favorites, and have continued to meet those expectations. The Miami Dolphins, however, have had a tougher time over the course of the season. Despite an 8-3 start, the Dolphins lost 5 games straight and haven’t really looked the same since. This, combined with the fact that starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be inactive for the matchup on Sunday due to the NFL’s concussion protocol, will make this game much more difficult for Miami.

Although the Dolphins took down the Bills during the beginning of the season, Buffalo are the heavy favorites in this matchup. Viewers should keep an eye on quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, as they’ve been one of the best QB/WR duos in the NFL this season.

Final Score Prediction: Bills 34, Dolphins 20

Minnesota Vikings (3) vs New York Giants (6)

These two teams just played in a thrilling match on Christmas Eve, with the Vikings taking a narrow victory with a game-winning 61-yard field goal. That’s been the story all year with Minnesota, making games go down to the last drive, the last play, or overtime. It’s also worth noting the miraculous 33-point comeback. The Giants, on the other hand, have actually been playing pretty good football this season. Despite complaints that Daniel Jones is “awful” and “not a franchise quarterback,” he’s managed to lead his team to the playoffs despite having a very weak receiving core.

The Vikings are the favorites going into this matchup, but with their history of keeping every game close, I expect this one to be an upset. Led by wide receiver Justin Jefferson, quarterback Kirk Cousins, and tight end T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota is easily the better team, but I think their luck will finally come to an end here.

Final Score Prediction: Giants 33, Vikings 31 (Specifically on a missed last-minute field goal from the Vikings)

Cincinnati Bengals (3) vs Baltimore Ravens (6)

This matchup is a very interesting one. The Bengals have looked like one of the best teams in the NFL ever since they fell to the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s Super Bowl, but they haven’t been the pinnacle of consistency this season. The Ravens are also in a weird situation, specifically regarding quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson hasn’t played since week 13 when he suffered a knee sprain, and it’s unsure as to whether he’ll return on Sunday. The Baltimore offense is extremely reliant on Jackson’s skills in the air and on the ground, and they most likely won’t be able to defeat the Bengals without him.

If Lamar Jackson returns, he’ll be the player to watch. If Jackson isn’t back, expect an extremely dominant performance from quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is “hopeful” that he’ll play, but we won’t know for a few days.

Final Score Prediction: Ravens 30, Bengals 27 (Overtime, assuming Jackson is back)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4) vs Dallas Cowboys (5)

The Dallas Cowboys may be the lower seed in this matchup, but they’re a far better team than their opponents. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are only the sixth team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record, and the odds of them going far are slim to none. Fortunately for the Bucs, they have Tom Brady, who has never lost a game against the Cowboys during his many years in the NFL. When these two teams clashed in week one of the regular season, the Cowboys were suffocated in a 19-3 loss.

Although history seems to favor Tampa Bay, it seems stupid to predict anything other than a Cowboys victory in this one, although anything’s possible. Fans should keep an eye out for wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Tony Pollard, as they’ll likely be featured heavily in the Dallas offense.

Final Score Prediction: Cowboys 48, Buccaneers 23