NFC Playoff Preview

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Alex Nannetti and Logan Winser

2017 has begun, and that mean it’s NFL playoff time. Twelve teams have played for a chance to reach the 51st Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5th. Six teams in the National Football Conference (NFC) will compete the next three weeks to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. With the New York Giants and Detroit Lions eliminated, here is a small preview of the rest of the teams in the NFC playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys #1 Seed (13-3)

Led by rookie sensations quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFC and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Elliot led the NFL in rushing in 2016 behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. A season thought to be lost when star Quarterback Tony Romo went down in the preseason has been tied for the greatest season in Dallas History. Elliot and Prescott are up for MVP and Rookie of the year honors, while head coach Jason Garrett is the favorite for Coach of the year. Whoever the lowest seed to win the wild card round will have to come to Dallas, where only the New York Giants have won this year.

#4 Green Bay Packers vs #1 Dallas Cowboys – Sunday, January 15th 4:40ET (FOX)

Atlanta Falcons #2 Seed (11-5)

Quarterback Matt Ryan has taken a mediocre team for the past three seasons to possibly one of the best offenses in football right now. The MVP candidate has scored a league high 33.8 points a game. With the Running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, they also have the second most total yards only behind New Orleans. Their only weakness is their defense as they allow the 6th most points per game. They will face the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome.

#3 Seattle Seahawks vs #2 Atlanta Falcons – Saturday, January 14th 4:35ET (FOX)

Seattle Seahawks #3 Seed (10-5-1)

The team to represent the NFC in two of the past three years in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks are back in the playoffs after an up and down year. With injuries to most of their offense, they struggles to find consistency all year, relying on their defense, also known as the “Legion of Boom.” But their leader, Safety Earl Thomas, went down in Week 13 with a broken leg. Now with a compromised secondary, the Seahawks have been able to score enough to compete with the dynamic duo of Quarterback Russell Wilson and Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin. They defended their home turf against the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round and face the Atlanta Falcons upcoming in the Divisional Round.

#3 Seattle Seahawks vs #2 Atlanta Falcons – Saturday, January 14th 4:35ET (FOX)

Green Bay Packers #4 Seed (10-6)

After a 42-24 loss against the Washington Redskins in week 12, the Packers had a 4-6 record and looking outside the playoffs by multiple games. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers then told reporters how he thought the team could “Run the Table” for the rest of the year. The Packers ended up winning six straight games, three against current playoff teams, and winning the NFC North. They go into the postseason with one of the hottest offenses with Wide Receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and converted running back Ty Montgomery. Their secondary is having problems though allowing the most passing touchdowns and yardage in the NFL. After beating the New York Giants in the Wild Card Round at Lambeau, they will play the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium where Aaron Rodgers won his one and only Super Bowl.

#4 Green Bay Packers vs #1 Dallas Cowboys – Sunday, January 15th 4:40ET (FOX)

Eliminated Teams

New York Giants #5 Seed (11-5)

With a struggling offence, the New York Giants have relied on their defense to help win games this year, and they have succeed all year. Their defense led by Pro Bowler Safety Landon Collins have allowed the least amount of points in the NFC with 17.8 points a game. But their offence is averaging only 19.4 points a game, with an inefficient run game, averaging only 88.2 yards a game. They will need Quarterback Eli Manning to becoming the elite playoff quarterback he has proven to be during their two super bowl runs in 2007 and 2011.

Update: They lost to the Green Bay Packers and are out of the playoffs.

Detroit Lions #6 Seed (9-7)

After losing the last three games of the season, The Detroit Lions will have to re-group for the playoffs after losing the NFC North title in Week 17 against the Green Bay Packers. Every since Quarterback Matthew Stafford injured his middle finger in Week 14, he has gone from MVP candidate to an average quarterback. Before the injury, Stafford had led his team to an NFL record eight fourth quarter comebacks.

Update: They lost the Seattle Seahawks and are out of the playoffs.