NFL NewsNFL ScoresNFL StandingsNFL StatsNFL OddsNFL Game LogsNFL Teams

    NFC Wild Card preview: Bears, Cowboys try to cover

    By Matt Verderame
    DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys

    The time has come. After OTAs, minicamp, training camp, preseason and regular season action, we finally made it to the playoffs. Twelve teams are hoping to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season. After the upcoming weekend, only eight will continue their quest, with four more joining the scrap heap.

    So who advances out of the NFC Wild Card round? Let’s take a look at the games and break them down a bit…

    Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)

    The Cowboys are in the playoffs for the second time in three years as the NFC East champ. This time, they are the fourth seed instead of the first, but this will have to do. Dallas has been a different team since acquiring Amari Cooper. Over the last eight games, the Cowboys are 7-1 and rolling into the tournament with hopes of making a deep run into January.

    As for the Seahawks, they were slow out of the gate at 0-2 before finding their stride. Oddly enough, their winning ways began in Week 3 with a home win over Dallas. To make it a pair of wins over the Cowboys this season, Seattle must run the ball and slow down the Cowboys’ front. Dallas has a litany of playmakers there, and if Russell Wilson finds himself under pressure, it could be a long day. Conversely, he can attack down the field if he’s afforded a few seconds to throw.

    Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-6)

    This is arguably the most compelling matchup of the entire weekend. It’s also the only game that isn’t a rematch from earlier in the year.

    Philadelphia looked dead on arrival after starting 6-7 with a trip to Los Angeles on tap. Then, suddenly, the Eagles got well with Nick Foles at the helm, rattling off three consecutive victories to make it into the postseason as a sixth seed. While there are still some question marks in the secondary, the defending champs are certainly going to be a very tough out, even for the 12-win Bears at Soldier Field.

    Chicago has to be hoping its defense can take the bulk of the burden moving forward, even with an offense that ranks well across most categories. Mitchell Trubisky has never been in the playoffs before, and asking a ton of him could be a recipe for disaster. Head coach Matt Nagy has to continue managing the youngster while allowing his all-world defense and coordinator Vic Fangio to win the day.