There are only 14 teams left alive in the NFL and that means the Super Wild Card Weekend is here.
The experience, the exchanges of the ball, the local team… everything is magnified during the month of January, when a mistake can send you back home.
There is no perfect team in the NFL and that is why we have done this exercise, with the reasons to be excited or worry about all the postseason qualifiers.
We start with the National Conference:
Illusions: The return of Jalen Hurts. It’s obvious that Philadelphia needs its starting quarterback in order to return to the Super Bowl.
Hurts passed for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns in 15 games in 2022, and added 760 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, becoming the third quarterback with at least 3,500 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a season.
It is useless to have wide receivers of the stature of devonta smith either A. J. Brown without Hurts’ powerful arm.
Worries: The defense against the run. In the last five games of the regular season, Philadelphia has accepted an average of 130.6 rushing yards per game.
Among the qualifiers in the NFC are the giants (148.2 rushing yards per game), San Francisco (138.8) and Dallas (135.2), three teams in the Top 8 among the best rushing offenses in the league this season.
san francisco 49ers
Illusions: The noob brock purdy. The so-called “Mr. Irrelevant” became the third rookie quarterback to win his first five NFL starts, joining Ben Roethlisberger Y mike kruczek. “Big Ben” won his first 13 starts with the Steelers, and Kruczek won his first six in 1976, also with Pittsburgh.
Purdy has completed 67.1% of his passes, with 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. In 10 starts this season, Jimmy Garappolo he had 67.2% shooting with 2,437 yards, 16 passes to the end zone and four interceptions.
Worries: Rookie Brock Purdy. Like it or not, Purdy is the weakest link on a roster that doesn’t hurt at all. Experience is key when it comes to the playoffs and that was evident last season.
Five quarterbacks made their postseason debuts in 2022: joe burrow, Derek Carr, Kyler Murray, mac jones Y Jalen Hurts. Everyone except Burrow (who led the Bengals to the Super Bowl) lost in their submission.
Murray and Arizona lost by 23 points to the Rams; Jones and New England fell by 30 in Buffalo and Hurts and Philadelphia by 16 against Tampa Bay, all in last season’s Super Wild Card Weekend.
Purdy is the only rookie NFC quarterback in the playoffs this year, and that inexperience could cost teams. 49ers.
Illusions: Kirk Cousins. The veteran quarterback from Minnesota is about to start his fourth career postseason game. His record is 1-2, but this year he commands the fifth-best passing offense, paired with what he’s probably the best wide receiver in the league: Justin Jeffersonleader in targets (184), receptions (128) and yards (1,809) in the 2022 season.
With Cousins at the controls, the Vikings went 10-0 in games decided by 8 points or less.
Worries: The pass defense. The Vikings closed the regular season averaging 265.6 passing yards against, second from last in the NFL, trailing only Tennessee’s 274.8. titans.
On the ground, in the games against the Colts and packersIn Weeks 15 and 17, respectively, Minnesota allowed an average of 40 points and 160-plus rushing yards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Illusions: Tom Brady. Having “TB12″ be your quarterback in the Playoffs is more than a luxury. Brady has an impressive 35-12 record in postseason games and is that leader who raises the game level of everyone around him.
This hasn’t been his best season, with 4,694 passing yards and 25 touchdown passes, but Brady is the all-time playoff leader in games (47), passing yards (13,049) and passing touchdowns (86) and has been named Super Bowl MVP five times, more than any other player in league history.
Worries: The ground attack. The Bucs averaged just 76.9 rushing yards in the regular season, the lowest in the NFL. Can this team win the playoffs with a one-dimensional attack? It’s complicated, even with Tom Brady at the controls.
Tampa Bay has to figure out how to run the ball more effectively during the postseason.
Illusions: The Playoffs. Yes, for the Cowboys fans, the wait has been very long: the last time Dallas played in an NFC Championship was in January 1996, that is, 27 years ago. When the team of Jerry Jones is in the postseason in millions revives the hope of seeing Dallas back in a Super Bowl, but the Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game on the road since the 1993 season, when they beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.
Worries: Dak Prescott. The Cowboys quarterback has thrown 15 interceptions this season, 14 of those coming after missing five games with a sprained right thumb. He has played seven games with at least one interception and in five games he has turned over a couple of turnovers.
dak prescott he has to put a stop to his interceptions, because Brady isn’t going to forgive Dallas’ mistakes.
In the Week 1 games of the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the Buccaneers defense intercepted a pass from Prescott and Tampa Bay drew points from both exchanges.
new york giants
Illusions: Daniel Jones. In the season in which his continuity with the team was at stake, Jones will make his postseason debut after leading the Giants to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Jones passed for a career-high 3,205 yards with 15 touchdown passes; In addition, he had 708 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
with a rejuvenated Saquon Barkley (fourth in the league with 1,312 rushing yards and fifth with a combined 1,650), the Giants’ offense can be a pain in the ass for any defense.
Worries: The defense against the run. The giants they allowed an average of 144.2 rushing yards on the season and 142.8 in the last six of the regular season.
Coach Brian Daboll’s team must find a way to remedy that problem or else their playoff run will be a very short one.
Illusions: Gene Smith. The veteran quarterback will make his playoff debut after an astonishing season in which he finished with career-highs for passing yards (franchise-high 4,282), touchdown passes (30) and rating (100.9).
The rookie deserves a special mention Kenneth Walkerleader among rookie running backs with 1,215 combined yards, 1,050 rushing yards, and 9 touchdowns.
Walker closed the regular season with three games of 100 or more rushing yards, but his most recent rushing touchdown came in late November against Las Vegas.
Worries: Defense against the run. Seattle’s was one of the worst in the league in that department, accepting an average of 150.2 yards per game and nearly five yards per carry. In the two games against San Francisco, the Seahawks allowed 359 rushing yards, or an average of 179.5.
It is a fact that on Saturday the 49ers will put the Seattle front-7 to the test at the start of Super Wild Card Weekend.
Better than the coach’s team Pete Carroll be ready.
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Reasons to be excited or worried about the seven NFC teams in the Playoffs