Well, we’re here. The NFC Championship Game. The first time the Eagles have played in such a game in nine years, and the first time hosting one in 13.
And the miracle Minnesota Vikings are coming to town.
Last week, everybody picked the Eagles – minus Caleb – in mostly close affairs. I thought it’d be a near blowout, and was obviously wrong. But the Eagles found a way to win and it doesn’t matter how it happens because winning is the only thing that matters in the NFL. And it’s about time Doug Pederson gets the credit he deserves for losing so many playmakers throughout the course of the season and still finding himself at this point.
But there’ll be no consolation. Let’s go for it. Let’s win the f-cking Super Bowl. And we’ve got one more game to go before our team has the chance.
To the predictions:
Candis McLean (15-1 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @CandisRMcLean):
I don’t need to see another Brian Dawkins hype video. I need to crunch more numbers to show the disparity between the Vikings defense away than at home. They give up 50 more yards on the ground for those who don’t know. It’s the NFC Championship! The Eagles defense plays phenomenal at home, Nick Foles looks more comfortable each week, and the home crowd will be electric. This is a tough opponent. The playoffs don’t hand out any easy win but I’m surprisingly predicting one.
Dave Uram (14-2 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @MrUram):
These teams are so evenly matched it should be a “Pick ‘Em” game. Home field advantage will play a huge factor. The Eagles will score two touchdowns on offense, with one maybe being set up by the defense. Jake Elliott will provide another clutch field goal and the D will hold Minnesota in the teens.
The Birds’ biggest obstacle is history and a bad record in the NFC Championship Game, but they should be able to rid themselves of that curse this weekend.
Caleb Weiler (3-2 in regular season, 0-1 in playoffs, @TheBitter_Caleb):
Both the Eagles and Vikings were able to pull out unlikely victories last week with last minute heroics, one on defense and one on offense. This is going to be a low-scoring defensive game that will probably be a snooze fest for fans and another nail-biter at the end. Eagles have the advantage in the trenches on both offense and defense, I think they will win that battle which will cause them to make their first Super Bowl appearance since 2004.
Anthony Mazziotti (9-2 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @AntMazziotti):
One more game. One game stands between the Birds and their third Super Bowl berth.
Doug Pederson will have his team fired up and ready for war. It will be a defensive battle but the Eagles will end up on top and here’s why:
The Eagles will control the line of scrimmage and they have home field advantage. Our defensive line will dominate the Vikings offensive line and our offensive line should be able to put theirs on skates.
I don’t think Case Keenum will be ready for the noise and nasty environment that he’ll face. That’s what it’ll boil down to.
Plus the Eagles have an X-factor: the better (or hotter) head coach. Listen to what Bradley Cooper said about him in the hype video this week:
“All led by one visor wearing, sideline glaring, screen pass calling, fourth down balling, division leading, running back feeding, salt and pepper son-of-a-gun.”
He’s gonna have his hands full holding them Vikings down, but I think they’ll punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
Tony Cutillo (12-4 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @TCutillo23):
It is now time to stop being a pessimist and start being a true fan. The time is now for the football gods to come together and formulate their ultimate plan for the Eagles to get to the Super Bowl. From injuries to adversity, this season has been filled with various catchphrases. Whether it’s Mick telling Rocky to “Get up!” or it’s G-Money with his classic moment of truth when he tells the King of New Jack “We All We Got,” the boys in green are set for a motion picture role.
Putting all my doubt in Nick Foles aside, he showed he could lead in a pinch last week. After recovering from his first throw that looked like a bent bullet released from a Nerf gun, he settled into a nice rhythm. Now it will all come together as Foles takes a ride back to Chipville and breaks out the Oregon playbook for one last ride. This time the train will be a one way ticket to Minnesota!
Adrian Fedkiw (14-2 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @AdrianFedkiw):
The winner of the turnover battle normally decides the outcome in playoff games, but I believe that will be even more important in this one. The Eagles’ defense has to get after Case Keenum and force some turnovers, which I think they will. I believe Philadelphia’s offense will struggle, but my bold prediction for this game will be that the defense will score more points than the offense. When Keenum is pressured and contained inside the pocket, that’s when he tends to make mistakes. He backpedals and tosses up lollipops, which will be very dangerous if he decides to throw a couple up into the Philadelphia wind. I believe the Eagles will force a couple turnovers, with one of those lollipops being taken back to the house.
Sean Brace (12-3 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @Sean_Brace):
Super Bowl 52 here we come!
Nick Piccone (15-1 in regular season, 1-0 in playoffs, @nickpiccone):
Defense. Blah blah blah. We saw what Jacksonville and Pittsburgh did last week – so throw everything out the window. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is a high-scoring game.
But I don’t think it will be. The Eagles’ defense won’t let that happen. They’re going to make plays. They may even score. I think the defense will take over once again and prove that home field advantage does mean something now at The Linc. Dog masks and all.
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here and listen live on WildfireRadio.com every Friday at 2pm. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.