The Divisional Round of this year’s NFL playoffs did not disappoint, with three of the four games coming down to the final drive or final play of the game. One of the biggest stunners from last weekend was the miraculous win by the Minnesota Vikings as the clock hit zero. A certainly energized team (and fan base) will now head east as they face the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship on Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET on FOX (live streams at FOX Sports Go, Yahoo! Sports, and FuboTV).
Some have pondered whether this year’s Minnesota team is one of destiny. Bound by a higher power to make it through the playoffs and into their first Super Bowl since 1977. While fate might be on their side, it’ll be tough for the Vikings to bounce back from such an emotionally charged game to get them to this point. After leading the Saints for most of the game last Sunday, the defense collapsed in the third quarter allowing New Orleans to make a huge comeback, forcing them into their own come-from-behind drive for the win. The “Minneapolis Miracle” will go down in history.
Now, the Vikings are headed on the road, something that hasn’t tripped them up that much throughout the 2017 season. Quarterback Case Keenum will need to have another big day on Sunday, but he helped shed any preconceptions about his potential last week with a 318-yard day. Luckily the QB has two of the best receivers in the league down field with Adam Thielen and living legend himself, Stefon Diggs. They’ll need to take advantage of a young Eagles secondary — and avoid a scary good D-line — if they want to get points on the board.
Doug Pederson is earning every nod he’s received for Coach of the Year, with his outstanding playcalling throughout the year. Since his first year in the driver’s seat, Pederson’s gotten more comfortable with his offense and has done especially well the past few weeks trying new things to make Nick Foles successful. With the loss of Carson Wentz, the entire offensive scheme needed adjusted, but Pederson has risen to the challenge — even drawing up some H-back plays for slot receiver Nelson Agholor.
Philadelphia fans came out in droves last weekend for the Divisional Round game, and gave credence to the home-field advantage the team — and specifically the defense — is known for. Whether it’s throwing snowballs at Santa or drunkenly punching horses, Eagles fans have a pretty interesting reputation, but for their team (for this team) they could be a key factor in whether or not Philadelphia gets a spot in the Super Bowl.
The NFC title will likely go to whichever team’s quarterback can make more happen. With two defenses among the best in the league, and offensive weapons at the skill positions, it’ll be on the shoulders of Nick Foles and Case Keenum to get their teams to the big stage.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
- Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
- TV: FOX
- Streaming: FOX Sports Go | Yahoo! Sports | FuboTV
- Odds: The Vikings are 3.5-point favorites.
Vikings vs. Eagles news:
- Eagles fans will be allowed to wear dog masks inside the stadium on Sunday, representing the underdog franchise throughout their playoff run — despite being the No. 1 seed for the NFC. (Just saying.)
- The Eagles’ Super Bowl dreams are still alive thanks to Fletcher Cox, Stephen White writes.
- No surprise, but Case Keenum and Nick Foles are much better quarterbacks without Jeff Fisher around.
- The final seconds of the Vikings’ Divisional Round win will go down in franchise and NFL history, and broke a playoff curse along the way.
- The running back rotation still seems a bit unstable for Philadelphia, with Jay Ajayi not seeing a carry for most of the second quarter last Sunday. Doug Pederson spoke about that decision following the game.
A couple times when we broke off a long run or a pass particularly, it was a good time to go a little tempo. And so whoever the back was at the time on the field just kept him in there. 29 was heating up a little bit and wanted to get him going, too, as well. It’s just the way it went.
- The Eagles’ defense shouldn’t overlook Case Keenum and how improved he is this season.
Since October 9, Keenum has lost one time, a 31-24 defeat to the Panthers in Carolina. He had a QB rating over 100 in 8 of his 14 starts this season, and in his first-ever playoff game on Sunday, with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line, he went 25-40 (62.5%) with 318 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a QB rating of 85.2. Not a phenomenal day, but it got the job done.
Vikings vs. Eagles predictions:
You’d think the oddmakers would realize that betting against the Eagles in Philadelphia might not be the smartest move. They overcame being 2.5-point underdogs last week against the Falcons, and will do it again to claim the NFC Championship over the Vikings. Only two of eight experts at SB Nation agree that the Eagles clinch the NFC title on Sunday.
Check out our Super Bowl picks and predictions for even more expert opinions.