When: Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
Where: Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field
Line: Vikings by 3½
The Vikings and Eagles are set to play in Philadelphia Sunday, and the Eagles are once again the underdogs even though they are the number one seed. Nick Foles proved last week that he is capable of winning a playoff game, as the Eagles beat the favored Falcons 15-10. The Vikings on the other hand, needed a “Minneapolis Miracle” against the Saints to advance. So we have two teams with fan bases that have starved for years for a Super Bowl trophy going head-to-head in what looks to be an even match-up on Sunday afternoon.
What is the Vikings biggest edge in this game?
The Vikings have an edge against everybody when it comes to defense. The Vikings defense is loaded with stars such as Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph up front; Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks at linebacker; and Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith in the secondary. The Vikings have no weakness on defense, just look at where they rank. Minnesota was second in the NFL against the run, second in the NFL against the pass, first in the NFL in points allowed, and kept teams from converting third downs at a rate that hasn’t been seen since the league started recording that particular stat.
Why is quarterback Case Keenum good all of the sudden?
Offensive coordinator Pat Schurmur deserves a ton of credit here for devising an offense that takes advantage of Keenum’s abilities. A lot of times coaches will force the style of play they want on their personnel and that has not been the case with Keenum and Schurmur. If you want a perfect example of what I am talking about, look at the case of Keenum’s former Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who tried to force his style of offense on Keenum. That just doesn’t work at any level of football.
Can the Vikings get it done on the road?
It can’t be a coincidence that the Vikings three worst games this year were on the road. Indoors and on the turf the Vikings are a much faster team, and that has to be a concern coming into this game.
Can the Eagles protect the football?
Turnovers are what kept the Falcons in the game against Philadelphia last week. If the Eagles turn it over in this game, the Vikings will be going to their first Super Bowl since the 1970’s.
Prediction: These teams are eerily similar in the sense that both have suffered catastrophic injuries this season and overcome them. They are both well-coached, disciplined teams that make you beat them. I look for a tight fought and tense game that won’t be decided until the final minute of the game.
Vikings 17 Eagles 16
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