NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: #1 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES vs #2 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#1 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES vs #2 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
(Sunday January 21st, 2018 6:40pm EST FOX)
These two teams last met on 10/23/16. On this day just like this coming sunday the Vikings came into Lincoln Financial Field but both teams had different Quarterbacks under center. Philadelphia had Carson Wentz who had taken over for Vikings QB Sam Bradford just over a month before the game. Philly came in at 3-2 and on a 2 game losing streak while Minnesota was undefeated at 5-0.
The Eagle defense harassed Bradford as they sacked him 6 times and forced him into 3 turnovers. Wentz didnt play great either as he had 2 INTs of his own but he led his team on a few TD drives and an eventual 21-10 win as they handed Mike Zimmer’s team its first loss of 2016 and the team never really recovered after that afternoon.
Much like the last meeting between these two franchises, the starting QBs have history. This time Its Nick Foles and Case Keenum who were teammates for the Rams that will face off for the chance to represent the NFC in the Superbowl. The Eagles running attack has been stellar all year but they will have to deal with Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and the rest of that stout Minnesota Vikings D-line and front seven. Not the be outdone the Eagles have one of the more ferocious D-lines in the game.
The Player who does best between Keenum and Foles will most likely be the winner. it will be interesting to see how guys like Jay Ajayi and Jerick McKinnon are used in the short passing game to slow down these great pass rushes. The elements could also play a role in this game much like it did last week vs Atlanta. This will be one to watch come Sunday evening.
Both teams saw improbable plays help them secure wins in the Divisional round. Philadelphia had a Foles pass bounce off of Keanu Neal’s knee directly into the hands of WR Torrey Smith on what would be the game winning drive and the Stefon Diggs catch and run doesn’t need to be explained again. I believe this game will start with a feeling out period where both teams don’t take a lot of risk and play it pretty conservative.
The game will pick with a defensive play most likely and the shots will begin. The Eagles secondary will have issues with Diggs, Thelein and Kyle Rudolph as Keenum is able to get a lead. Cold weather often leads to ball security problems so expect the ball to be on the ground a few times. The coverage on Alshon Jeffrey by Xavier Rhodes will be crucial as the Eagles will be forced to air it out in hopes of a win.
Much like last week when Philly made a late stop to put the Falcons away, the game will come down to a red zone situation but this time its the Eagles offense looking for the score and the win. Minnesota however steps up and makes a play to end the Eagles come back attempt.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
EAGLES – Nelson Agholor
VIKINGS – Jerick McKinnon
VIKINGS 23 – EAGLES 17