NFC Championship Preview: Eagles vs Vikings by Daniel Farr
The Philadelphia Eagles are one game away from playing in Super Bowl 52, but nobody expects them to be there. Not with Nick Foles at quarterback, not against the so-called best defense in the NFL, not against the Case Keenum led Minnesota Vikings. But, the Eagles can get there, they can beat the Vikings, and they believe they will win. Especially when the game is being played in Philadelphia, where deranged Eagles’ fans wearing dog masks are present signifying the love and passion they feel as being home underdogs for the second straight week. Last week the Vikings won on a fluke play, a play people are referring to as the ‘Minneapolis Miracle.’ With so emotion pulsing through Viking fans, players, and coaches it makes sense that the team will suffer some sort of a let down, almost a Super Bowl hang over type game seems appropriate. The terrific cinderella story of Keenum, and how he took the league by charge impressed the whole sports world, but that story is coming to an end in Philadelphia. Last week against the Saints, Keenum had a QBR of 26.4, completed only four passes, and threw an interception while he was under pressure. Many would argue that the Eagles’ best weapon is their defense and specifically their ability to stop the run and get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Eagles have the leagues best run defense, allowing 79-yards on the ground per game. If their defense stays true, and bottles up the run, it’ll force the Vikings to throw - which is exactly what the Eagles want. The Eagles can unleash their pass rushers and simply takeover the game, but they must stop the run for this to happen. On offense, the Eagles will try to run the ball with Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, and Corey Clement, but the Vikings have the leagues second best run defense, they allow 83 rushing yards per game. So, Foles will have to make some plays with his arm and perhaps even his legs. As long as Foles takes care of the ball and simply manages the game, the Eagles will be in great shape to play in the Super Bowl. Lincoln Financial Field isn’t located in a dome, the Vikings are shocked to even be in this game, and the city of Philadelphia feels disrespected - Eagles win 17-12.