Minnesota Vikings (14-3; 11-6 ATS; 8-9 O/U) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3; 11-6 ATS; 8-9 O/U)
Line: Minnesota -3
The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game in a battle of two elite defensive units Sunday evening from Lincoln Financial Field. The Vikings recorded a thrilling 29-24 home win against the Saints on Sunday, and the Eagles notched a 15-10 home win against the Falcons on Saturday night. The Eagles registered a 21-10 home win against the Vikings in the previous meeting in October of 2016.
Vikings Stun Saints in Final Play of Game
The Minnesota Vikings registered a thrilling 29-24 home win over the Saints in their path to their first NFC Championship game since 2009. Case Keenum showed great poise and collected 318 passing yards with one touchdown against one interception. This will be the first time Keenum has faced the Eagles in his career. Stefon Diggs was the hero in Sunday’s win with his unbelievable 61-yard TD reception as time expired to win the game. Diggs finished with 137 receiving yards on Sunday and has now scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. Vikings’ leading rusher Latavius Murray only managed 50 yards on 19 carries against the Saints. The 27-year old running back will face a tough task against a dominant Eagles’ rush defense. The Vikings offense had no problem picking up yards against the Saints’ defense, however, they will be up against the best defense they have faced all season in this one. Minnesota scored an average of 23.9 points in the regular season, placing them 10th in the NFL.
The Vikings defense allowed 24 points in the second half against the Saints and conceded a total of 358 yards. They did come up with two big interceptions, including one by Andrew Sendejo who is questionable for this one with a concussion. Minnesota did contain the Saints strong running game, and they will be up against another powerful Eagles rushing game highlighted by LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. Minnesota finished with the number one total defense in the NFL the season, holding opponents to an average of 15.8 points.
Eagles Defense Shines in Win Against Falcons
The Philadelphia Eagles are back in the NFC Championship for the first time since 2008 after their stifling defense led them to a 15-10 win against Atlanta last Saturday night. Nick Foles got the start in place of the injured Carson Wentz and overcame a slow start with a great second half. Foles completed 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The 28-year old quarterback has tallied 596 passing yards with a 3:1 TD to INT ratio in two career games against the Vikings. The Eagles didn’t have a whole lot of success on the ground against the Falcons, rushing for 96 yards with Jay Ajayi leading the way with 54 yards on 15 carries. LeGarrette Blount only managed 19 rushing yards, however, he did add a rushing touchdown. Alshon Jeffery collected a team-high 61 receiving yards on four receptions last week. The sixth-year receiver recorded 789 receiving yards this season, and will likely be matched up against Xavier Rhodes. The Vikings defense has no weaknesses, however the Eagles best chance against the Vikings will be on the ground along with some screen passes. The Eagles averaged 28.6 points in the regular season, ranking them third overall.
The Eagles defense was tremendous against Matt Ryan and the Falcons last week, and they will need a similar effort in this one. They limited Atlanta to only 281 total yards and held Ryan to only 210 passing yards. Philadelphia finished the regular season with the number one rush defense in the NFL, and they will be facing a strong Vikings running game. The Eagles allowed an average of 18.4 points in the regular season, good for fourth in the NFL.
The Minnesota Vikings are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Eagles are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games against a team with a winning road record.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in January.
- 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against NFC opponents.
- 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games on grass.
I am taking the points with the Eagles in this contest. The Eagles defense was tremendous against the Falcons last week and they should be able to neutralize the Vikings offense as well. They feature the best rush defense in the NFL as they allowed an average of only 79 rushing yards per game in the regular season, and they were able to hold the Falcons strong running game to only 86 rushing yards last week. In addition, the Eagles were able to contain Matt Ryan last week by holding him to 210 passing yards, and they should able to do the same against Case Keenum.
Furthermore, Nick Foles showed great poise in the second half last week, and the Eagles potent running game is strong enough to do damage. The Vikings did allow the Saints to go 3 for 4 in the red zone, and the Eagles defense had the better performance of these two teams last week. The Eagles are on their home field, and their defense will be the deciding factor in this one. The Eagles are very tough to beat at home, and the last eight NFC and AFC Championship games have all been won by the home team.
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
This matchup features two of the best defensive teams in the NFL facing off. Both teams will rely on their running game in this one, and both teams feature a stifling rush defense. The Vikings won’t have the offensive success they had against the Saints against this Eagles defense, plus the under is 4-0 in their last four games in Philadelphia. The Eagles offense won’t do big damage against the Vikings vaunted defense. I expect this to be a low-scoring battle similar to the Eagles 15-10 win last week, plus the under is 6-0 in the Eagles last six home games against a team with a winning record.