2024 NFL Playoffs: NFC Postseason Guide

Dec 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey
Dec 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey / Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
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The AFC teams took center stage in terms of the 2023 playoffs with a pair of games on Saturday. The NFC teams don’t take the field until Sunday afternoon when the Dallas Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s a cheat sheet of sorts when it comes to the seven NFC teams that reached the postseason, in order of seeding.

1. San Francisco 49ers (12-5)

Coaching Resume: Kyle Shanahan is 6-3 in postseason play.

Postseason Resume: 49ers are making their 29th overall playoff appearance (28th since merger), 36-23 in postseason play (36-22 since merger).

Notable: The 49ers are the NFC’s top seed for the second time in five seasons. The last time was 2019, when the team reached Super Bowl LIV. One year after allowing the fewest points in the NFL (277), the team finished third in this category (298). It marks the fifth consecutive year the Niners finished in the Top 5 in fewest points surrendered. San Francisco has 58 takeaways in its last 34 regular-season contests.

2. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Coaching Resume: Mike McCarthy is 11-10 in postseason play (10-8 with Packers, 1-2 with Cowboys).

Postseason Resume: Cowboys (tied with Packers) are making their NFL-record 36th overall playoff appearance (32nd since merger), 36-30 in postseason play (35-26 since merger).

Notable: Dallas has finished 12-5 three straight years and reached the playoffs each season. It’s the longest such streak since six consecutive appearances from 1991-96. Mike McCarthy’s team finished fifth in the NFL in yards gained and fewest yards allowed. Dallas led the league in scoring (509) for the second time in three seasons. CeeDee Lamb set franchise records for catches (135) and receiving yards (1,749).

3. Detroit Lions (12-5)

Coaching Resume: Dan Campbell is making his first postseason appearance as an NFL head coach.

Postseason Resume: Lions are making their 18th overall playoff appearance (13th since merger), 7-13 in postseason play (1-12 since merger).

Notable: It’s the first division title for the franchise since 1993, when the Lions captured the five-team NFC Central. The club also won 12 games for the first time since 1991, which is also the last season Detroit won a postseason game. David Montgomery (1,015) and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs (945) combined for 1,960 yards rushing and 23 TDs on the ground. Detroit’s balanced offensive unit reached the end zone 57 times.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)

Coaching Resume: Todd Bowles is 0-1 in postseason play.

Postseason Resume: Buccaneers are making their 14th overall playoff appearance (14th since merger), 11-11 in postseason play (11-11 since merger).

Notable: The franchise is in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, tying the franchise record first set from 1999-2002. Quarterback Baker Mayfield finished with more than twice as many TD passes (28) than turnovers (13), with almost half of those scores via wideout Mike Evans (13). Antoine Winfield Jr. earned All-Pro honors with 122 tackles, six sacks and seven takeaways. The Bucs are 5-1 in their last six games.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (11-6)

Coaching Resume: Nick Sirianni is 2-2 in postseason play.

Postseason Resume: Eagles making their 30th overall playoff appearance (26th since merger), 25-25 in postseason play (21-24 since merger).

Notable: The reigning NFC champions have nosedived recently, dropping five of their last six games. The Eagles not only failed to defend their division title but have lost twice as many games as they did in 2022 when they finished 14-3. A year ago, the Birds finished with a plus-133 scoring differential. This year, that number stands at plus-5. In Week 3 on a Monday night at Tampa, the Eagles came up with a 25-11 win.

6. Los Angeles Rams (10-7)

Coaching Resume: Sean McVay is 7-3 in postseason play.

Postseason Resume: Rams are making their 32nd overall playoff appearance (24th since merger), 26-27 in postseason play (23-21 since merger).

Notable: It was quite the resurrection job by the franchise. The Rams bounced back from a 5-12 showing (worst ever by a defending Super Bowl champion), won 10 games and grabbed a wild card berth. The team scored 404 points, nearly 100 more than a season ago (307). Wideout Puka Nacua set rookie records for catches (105) and receiving yards (1,486). Sean McVay’s team forced only 15 turnovers this season.

7. Green Bay Packers (9-8)

Coaching Resume: Matt LaFleur is 2-3 in postseason play.

Postseason Resume: Packers (tied with Cowboys) are making their NFL-record 36th playoff appearance (25th since merger), 36-25 in postseason play (24-22 since merger).

Notable: Green Bay won six of its final eight games to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Matt LaFleur’s team ranks 29th in total defense, the worst among the 14 playoff teams. Jordan Love threw 32 TD passes, while Green Bay’s offense scored only 39 touchdowns in 2022. The Packers are 5-0 lifetime at AT&T Stadium (including postseason), 4-0 vs. the Cowboys and a Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers.