This is it. It’s finally here. Game day. The Eagles look to go back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005 when they host the Minnesota Vikings in a battle of two of the league’s top defenses.
The Eagles are coming off a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Saturday, while the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints last Sunday on a last-second touchdown by Stefon Diggs.
To recap, here’s where the staff stands entering the conference championship:
T1: Bob, Tyler (15-2)
3: Chris (14-3)
4: Coggin (13-4)
T5: Kevin, Kyle, Tim (12-5)
8: Phil (11-6)
9: Anthony (8-9) (8-6, according to Anthony)
Our predictions for this week are after the jump:
Phil: So I picked Atlanta last week and heard about it. The Falcons had a much higher offensive ceiling than the Vikings do, starting at quarterback, and the Eagles just stymied the Falcons. If you had offered me the chance to bet against Case Keenum on the road in the NFC title game back in September, I’d have jumped at it. Keenum plays for a better team than he ever did before but he is still the same limited player he was then. The Eagles defense is going to force at least two turnovers and will score. This outcome will be as easy as it is thrilling. Eagles 24, Vikings 13.
Bob: I think the Vikings are a very good football team. In fact, I think they’ve been the NFC’s second-best team all season. The problem? They’re playing the one team that’s outpaced them from start to finish. I see no reason for that to change now. I’ll repeat what I wrote the night Carson Wentz went down: “The Eagles are meant to do it as an underdog because, you know, #Rocky.” This is a special team and they’re going to show why tonight. Eagles 20, Vikings 13.
Coggin: Do you really trust Case Keenum to play well in the biggest game of his life? Outside? In front of thousands of screaming, hateful fans that wish to see him humiliated on a national stage? Of course you don’t. Keenum chucks up two interceptions and loses a fumble in the 4th to clinch a Super Bowl appearance for the Birds. Eagles 17, Vikings 10.
Tim: It’s a surprise to see this team make it to the NFC Championship team. Despite their starting quarterback going down, they rode their backup QB and a stout defense to a 13-3 record and a 1st round bye. Of their three losses, one was an early setback on the road to an AFC team that looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Even their most passionate fans would acknowledge the squad was lucky to win last week. While I hate to disappoint, I think Lady Luck runs out this week. It was a fantastic run, though. Eagles 17, Vikings 16.
Anthony: My record this season (8-6…don’t believe the nonsense that I get three losses because I wasn’t part of the CB team the first three weeks) is indicative of one thing – I don’t look at this team through green-tinted glasses. But I will admit, there were times, especially early in the season, where I underestimated them a little.
The Eagles are a good team – and will be a good team for several years. This won’t be the last rodeo in this conference championship game this decade – you can book that. But, even the most fervent Eagles supporters have to admit, the team has been a bit charmed this year. Injuries aside, A lot of crazy things have gone their way – which is why they are hosting a championship game with Nick Foles as QB.
Equally as charmed are the Vikings. You need to look back no further (even though you can) than last week. Everyone in this city knows New Orleans was supposed to be the opponent today. And they aren’t. The Vikings are. And I don’t think the dome team on the road thing matters. Nor does the fact that the Vikings have lost five straight NFC championship games. Or they have never beaten the Eagles in the playoffs. We heard all this stuff in 2003 with Tampa and what happened? Seriously this is a narrative that is classic Philadelphia.
The fact is, this is two of the three best defenses going at each other and two mediocre offenses. And although I can’t believe I’m typing the word trust and Case Keenum in the same sentence, I trust him more than Foles to score a touchdown offensively against a good defense. And frankly, one touchdown is all that’s going to be needed to win this game. Good season Eagles. The future is very promising. It’s just the Vikings horseshoe up their keester is a little bigger right now. Vikings 16, Eagles 12.
Chris: The team is ready. The fans are ready. The Vikings probably are too. Even though they’re both playing tomorrow, I’m not sure how healthy Thielen and Sendejo really are and how effective they’ll be. I’m still concerned with their defense against Nick Foles, and he has to get hot immediately. It’ll be a low-scoring affair, but the dogs win, and by god this city’s gonna go near full crazy tonight. Eagles 17, Vikings 14.
Tyler: The Eagles are playing with house money and it seems that a superior force is with this team. With all the obstacles this squad has faced, any other team could have used to just one of them as a valid excuse as to why their season was a failure, but this Eagles team prevailed. This is the Philadelphia Eagles after all. A team that is still searching for its first Super Bowl win, and if they were to ever win one, it would be fitting that it be in a season with as crazy a storyline as this. I think the birds get the chance to play for that elusive Lombardi Trophy next month. I think the Vikings will crash hard after one of the craziest endings in NFL history, home field advantage will be game-changing, Nick Foles will be just as efficient as last week, and the defense will rattle Case Keenum early. Buckle up, the next two weeks will be fun. Eagles 19, Vikings 13.
Kevin K: Eagles 13, Skol 10 (overtime).
Kyle: We’re going to the Super Bowl! Eagles 10, Vikings 9.
Give us your predictions below.