Who do Packers or Cowboys play next? Explaining potential opponents in 2024 NFL playoff bracket

Two of the most storied franchises in football are set to meet in the first round of the playoffs, as the Cowboys host the Packers on Sunday. 

Dallas enters the 2024 playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the NFC, winning the NFC East with a record of 12-5 and earning home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the postseason.

Led by quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys averaged the most points of any team in the regular season (29.9). The defense was also strong for Mike McCarthy’s coalition, ranking in the top five of the league in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. 

The Cowboys go against a Packers team that managed to get into the playoffs with a Week 18 win over the Bears. Green Bay was one of three teams in the NFC to finish at 9-8, however, Matt LaFleur’s unit held the tiebreakers over Seattle and New Orleans to get into the postseason. 

The wild-card matchup is one of three on the Sunday slate, but who will the winner play in the next round?

MORE: Sporting News’ NFL experts make their playoff, Super Bowl 58 picks

Here’s a look at who the Cowboys or Packers could face in the divisional round.

NFL playoff bracket 2024

NFL playoff bracket wild card

(SN illustration)

Who will the Cowboys or Packers play in the divisional round?

Since the Cowboys are the No. 2 seed and the Packers are the No. 7 seed, there are only a few options for their divisional-round matchups. 

No. 2 Cowboys vs. No. 3 Lions

In this scenario, not only do the Cowboys beat the Packers, but the No. 3 seed Lions defeat the No. 6 Rams. That would mean the Cowboys would host the Lions in the divisional round. 

From the wild-card round to the divisional round, the No. 1 seed 49ers, who are on a bye this week, face the lowest remaining seed available. The result of the No. 4 Buccaneers vs. No. 5 Eagles game wouldn’t matter in this case for the Cowboys, as the victor of that wild-card matchup would be the lowest seed remaining and face the 49ers.

No. 2 Cowboys vs. No. 4 Buccaneers/No. 5 Eagles

If Dallas beats Green Bay and Detroit loses to Los Angeles, then the winner of the Tampa Bay-Philadelphia game would be heading to Dallas for the divisional round.

The Rams would be the lowest seed still alive in the NFC, setting up a Rams-49ers matchup in San Francisco. 

No. 7 Packers at No. 1 49ers

Now, if the Packers pull off the upset against the Cowboys, then there is only one possible opponent for them in the divisional round — the 49ers. 

As mentioned, as the No. 1 seed, San Francisco is set to face whoever is the lowest remaining seed in the NFC. With Green Bay holding the No. 7 seed, it is guaranteed to be in that position with a win over Dallas. 

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