NFL Playoff Preview
Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) at Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Sunday, 4:30PM Eastern
Bookmaker.com betting line – Philadelphia -3, 42 O/U
The Philadelphia Eagles won 4 of their last 5 games to surge into the playoffs capping off the season with a huge 44-6 blowout over the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles captured the final wildcard spot in the NFC and travel to the Metrodome to battle the Vikings. Minnesota captured a big win over the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in week 17 to seal the NFC North. The Vikings have also played well towards the end of the year winning 5 of their last 6 games down the stretch. Minnesota and Philadelphia are both playing their best football at this point in the season and this game has the makings for a classic battle.
Philadelphia has been striving ever since QB Donovan Mcnabb was pulled out of the game against the Baltimore Ravens. Since, Mcnabb has had a chip on his shoulder with something to prove leading the Eagles to an offensive breakout averaging 30 points in their last 5 games. The Eagles defense has also responded fabulously to the emerging offense. The Eagles defense has not allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points in their last 4 games. That is big accomplishments considering those games were from high power offenses like New York and Dallas. The Eagles have allowed an incredible 8.25 points per game in their last month of football. A big statistic heading into this game to consider is the play of the Philadelphia rush defense. The Eagles will take on one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL and the league’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson. However, Philadelphia sports the 4th best rush defense in the NFL only allowing 92 yards per game this season. The Eagles defense will have to stand strong again this Sunday to maintain the Minnesota ground game.
Minnesota has had an emergence on offense as well late in the season. The Vikings averaged 22 points per game this season and nearly 27 points in their last 6 games. Minnesota has found success through the big performances behind running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson is the NFL’s leading rushing racking up 1,760 yards this season. Peterson has also added 10 touchdowns this season becoming one of the best looking backs in the NFL despite this only being his 2nd season. Minnesota will need their defense to play a supporting cast this Sunday to slow down the Eagles balanced offense. Minnesota has been very strong against the run this season allowing an NFL best 77 yards per game. However, Minnesota has been subject to give up some big plays through the air on defense. The Vikings must not give up any big plays from Eagles QB Donovan McNabb this Sunday and control the ground for a chance to continue on in the playoffs.
What to watch for…
The Vikings ground game vs. the Eagles passing game will be the difference maker. I expect both these offensive sides to have success, but one will break through likely deciding who wins this game. Philadelphia opened a lot of eyes with their blowout over the Cowboys last week and the betting lines are favoring them in this game. The Eagles will get the chance to prove they are a team to be reckoned with when they get the Vikings in the Wildcard Round.
The Vikings have lost 3 of their last 4 games ATS and are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games at home. Minnesota has reached the under total in 3 of their last 4 games as well. Philadelphia on the other hand is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and a strong 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games on the road. The total has also gone on the under in 4 of the Eagles’ last 5 games.
The last time these two teams met was all the way back in the 2004 season when the Eagles defeated the Vikings twice, once in the regular season and once in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
Pick – Eagles are poised to make a deep run and I think they will be around longer than one week. Take Philadelphia -3
NFC Wild Card – Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings Pick
NFL Playoff Preview