NFC Wild Card weekend: Full schedule, teams, predictions and how to watch live

The 49ers' first-round bye allows them to watch the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs just like the rest of us: from home, comfortably.

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Leon Halip/GettyImages

San Francisco 49ers fans can take a break from nail-biting activities during the opening weekend of the playoffs, thanks to the Niners securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture and getting a first-round bye as a result.

However, watching the games will be very provocative, especially in terms of potential NFC matchups and opponents San Francisco will face in the following round. The NFC Wild Card round this weekend will set up an interesting divisional round the following week.

Here is a look at the three NFC Wild Card games and which teams the 49ers could face next.

There are no NFC playoff games on Saturday. All three AFC playoff games will happen before a single NFC one will.

Green Bay Packers (7) at Dallas Cowboys (2)
When: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: Fox

San Francisco has fared well in the last two postseasons against the Dallas Cowboys. However, this time, the Cowboys are hosting a playoff game this weekend while the 49ers are off with a bye.

This game features the only two quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Jordan Love, to have thrown for more touchdowns than Brock Purdy. Both teams are rolling in win streaks and winners of three of their last five games (with each having a loss of only two points on the road in that stretch).

However, Prescott got sacked nine more times this season than Love did, meaning Green Bay will look to continue to pressure the opposing quarterback.

Dallas looks to be the heavy favorite and should advance to the next round, though. The offense put up 120 more points than the Packers in the regular season and also allowed 35 less on the flip side of the ball.

The Cowboys defense keeps the offensive weapons of Packers' backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, in addition to wideouts Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson.

As long Prescott can prevent turning over the ball, look for Dallas to win this, 27-13.

Los Angeles Rams (6) at Detroit Lions (3)
When: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET

This could potentially be the most intriguing matchup for the storyline alone. Less than three seasons ago, the Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford by sending Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions.

It worked out for the Rams right away as they went on to win the Super Bowl in 2022 over the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite Goff's own Super Bowl experience, he has the Lions in their first playoff game since 2016 and first one at home since 1994.

The two quarterbacks will now face each other on opposite sides of the respective teams that drafted them.

The Lions offense had the third highest totals in terms of yardage per game. It was achieved with balance as Detroit was second best at passing yards (4,401) and fifth best at rushing yards (2,311).

Detroit boasted a pair of first-year players in tight end Sammy LaPorta and running back Jahmyr Gibbs who each scored 10 touchdowns. This is the first time in history that two rookies on the same team accomplished this feat.

Stafford has his own weapons in wide receivers Cooper Kupp and rookie sensation Puka Nacua, as well as running back Kyren Williams. LA's defense has also performed better than the Lions defense as a whole this season, too.

As far as predictions go, look for the NFC North champs to advance beyond the 49ers' NFC West and in-state rivals to the divisional round. Detroit has a top-five offense that could knock the Rams out of the postseason.

Philadelphia Eagles (5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)
When: Monday, Jan. 15 at 8:15 p.m. ET

The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC last year, but after being the heavy favorites, they have lost five of their last six games. Notably, the first one of those losses was against the 49ers, who can arguably be credited with "breaking" Philly.

Once the heavy favorites to make a return trip to the Super Bowl, Philadelphia is now the visitor to the NFC South champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though Tom Brady is no longer under center, the dynamic duo of receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin giving opposing secondaries fits make this team a potential upset call.

Tampa Bay's defense still has linebackers Devin White, Levonte David and safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. from their Super Bowl squad, too.

However, a healthy Eagles squad of Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and D'Andre Swift can light up a scoreboard. Defensive stalwarts like Darius Slay, Kevin Byard, Fletcher Cox and Hasson Reddick can stymie the Buccaneers offense weapons.

In Week 3, Tampa Bay lost 25-11 at home against the Eagles. Hurts threw for 277 yards while Brown caught 131 of those and Swift rushing for an additional 130.

If it's close, veteran kicker Jake Elliott can close out a win for Philadelphia on the road to extend the Eagles' playoff run. This could end up coming down to the last possession, 24-21, with the Bucs coming up short again.

Who do 49ers want to face most in divisional round?

Though a Packers (and perhaps a Buccaneers) upset is the least likely in the Wild Card round, the winner of the Rams and Lions game appears to be the most likely.

Either way, the Niners' divisional-round opponent will have to travel to Levi's Stadium to stop the likes of a rested Purdy, arguably the MVP favorite in Christian McCaffrey, as well as Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.

The Lions or the Rams may not have the answers to stopping both the rushing attack of McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell while containing Purdy and Co, though.

Look for the winner of Sunday night's game to be the next opponent for San Francisco next weekend.

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