The NFL’s 2017 wild card weekend is over. After the Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to the divisional round thanks to a 30-12 win over the Miami Dolphins, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Giants 38-13 today. Together with yesterday’s Seattle Seahawks’ 26-6 victory over the Detroit Lions, this sets up the following games for the NFC’s divisional round (click here for the AFC’s):
Saturday, January 14th
4:35 PM EST on FOX: #3 Seattle Seahawks at #2 Atlanta Falcons
Back in week 6, the 4-1 Atlanta Falcons traveled across the country to play the 3-1 Seattle Seahawks. The close contest was won 26-24 by the Seahawks, thanks in part to opportunistic defensive play – Seattle registered two takeaways – and a controversial non-pass interference call on cornerback Richard Sherman with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
But even though Seattle beat Atlanta back then, the team was unable to earn one of the top two playoff seeds. As a result, the 10-5-1 Seahawks now have to travel to Georgia to take on the 11-5 Falcons.
The game will feature the NFL’s top scoring offense take on one of the league’s premier defenses: While Atlanta, led by first team All Pro quarterback Matt Ryan, scores an average of 33.8 points per game, Seattle gives up only 17.5 points. Consequently, the game could be decided by how well the Falcons defend the Seahawks’ offense; and how well both teams play on special teams.
Sunday, January 15th
4:40 PM EST on FOX: #4 Green Bay Packers at #1 Dallas Cowboys
Thanks to their victory over the New York Giants, the Packers now have to travel to Dallas to take on the NFC’s top seeded Cowboys. Just like the Seahawks and Falcons, the two teams have met in week 6. The home team, Green Bay, was 3-1 entering the game, while Dallas had a 4-1 record – one, it would be able to improve to 5-1 thanks to a 30-16 victory.
The story of that game were turnovers. The Cowboys gave the ball away twice, while Green Bay had a season-high four giveaways. However, week 6 is a long time ago and the Packers have since become one of the hottest teams in the NFL, entering the divisional round riding a seven-game winning streak.
Dallas, on the other hand, has been dominant throughout the season. The team is ranked fifth in both scoring offense – behind rookie of the year contenders Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott – and scoring defense. Furthermore, the Cowboys have the third-best point differential in the league at +115.