It has been a long and enjoyable road this season of focusing on primarily the NFC match-ups here at The Sports Geek. This week marks the NFC Championship game featuring two back-up quarterbacks from the Vikings and Eagles. Yes, football can be a funny game at times, but let’s take no credit away from either Case Keenum or Nick Foles – as they’ve done just enough to get their teams to this spot.
The story of this game will be the defenses, as both enter this contest in fine form and should be able to win their respective match-ups against the opposing quarterback. For the Vikes, maintaining focus is paramount – especially with a potentially huge Super Bowl hosting situation looming. Their route to get here has been improbable – especially after last week’s miraculous finish, but can the Vikings reset now and take care of things as a road favourite in Philly? This promises to be a great game if you enjoy defensive football and all four quarters should be closely contested. Read on below for a full game breakdown and official betting prediction for the NFC Championship match.
Vikings vs. Eagles Betting Odds:
Minnesota Vikings -3 (+100)
@ Philadelphia Eagles +3 (-120)
Over 39 (-110)
Under 39 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Eagles Pick:
Nick Foles is starting in an NFC Championship game. Let that one sink in for a moment. Last week Foles looked very average – making many awful throws and reads, but because he was taking on a relatively mediocre Atlanta defense, he was let off the hook on many occasions. This week however, Foles will not have that luxury. The Vikings’ defense in many regards is in a league of their own and they’ll be able to disrupt his timing and keep him off balanace for much of the game.
Minnesota possesses some big mismatches, especially on the left side where Everson Griffen is going to dominate Jason Peters’ back-up and fill-in – Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Vaitai has been getting exposed for weeks now, and Griffen is likely going to play a big role on Sunday in ending the Eagles season.
Philly may look to really establish a solid running game to ease the pressure on Foles, but that won’t get very far vs. Minnesota. Unlike the Falcons last week, look for the Vikings to continue their strong run of just stuffing run attacks before they can even start. Finding space won’t be easy for Jay Ajayi, and after stifling the ground game – I’d expect the Vikings defense to be able to force Foles into many third-and-long situations. Moving the chains will be tough for the Eagles on Sunday.
Given the fact that the Eagles aren’t going to put up many, or any, points against the Vikes’ D – their defense will need to continue that run of strong play. They’ll need their best game of the season, and I just think that will be too difficult for them. As a unit, they are not better than Minnesota – and right now the Vikings’ offense enters in better form than Philadelphia’s. Case Keenum has been electric, and the duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have made unbelievable plays with the game on the line – regardless of who they’re matched up against.
I think Keenum will be throwing a lot on Sunday, and that’s a wise call because the Eagles are a solid run-stuffing team. They can generate pressure, so a lot of quick and short dump-off plays to playmakers like Diggs, Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph at tight end will be in order. Keenum does have a tendency to be a tad erratic when under pressure and that’s always been a popular knock on him. On Sunday, he must remain composed and not turn the ball over. His team has the advantage in all areas, and if he can turn in a mistake-free performance, his Vikings will be in the Super Bowl in two weeks time.
I foresee a very low scoring game, with an incredibly cautious beginning. Those big comebacks we’ve seen in recent weeks won’t be happening here, and ultimately I just think the Vikings defense will have their way with Foles and he’ll try to do a little too much when trailing. The Eagles have the poorer defense, offense, and coaching staff – and even though they’re at home – the Vikes are well-built to be the NFC champs. Make sure you only lay a field goal, eat the juice, and enjoy the Vikes/Eagles on Sunday!
PICK = Vikings -3 (-120)