The Minnesota Vikings will enter Philadelphia on Sunday with one thing in mind, making history. As everyone knows if the Vikings beat the Eagles they’ll be the first team in history to host the Superbowl. The Vikings boast the best defense in the league and will enter the game as three-point favorites. So how can the underdog Eagles defeat the Vikings?
The last time the Vikings lost was 31-24 in week 14 on the road at Carolina. In that close game, the Panthers were able to score a touchdown with just 1:47 left to seal the victory. However, there were a few key things the Panthers did that the Eagles can emulate to advance to the Superbowl.
Perhaps the biggest thing the Panthers defense did was make Case Keenum uncomfortable all day. The Panthers were able to put him under constant duress while also sacking him six times. For the most part, the Panthers were able to bottle up the Vikings running backs and force them to abandon the running game. Minnesota had just 14 planned runs compared to 55 dropbacks. The Eagles need to stop the Vikings run game early to force them into passing situations where the D-line can wreak havoc.
**GRAB SOME FIRE EAGLES MERCH BEFORE THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WITH UP TO 50% OFF AT FANATICS HERE**
Something the Eagles were unable to do last week was force turnovers against the Falcons. In the Vikings last loss, they turned the ball over three times. The Eagles need Foles to protect the ball again and avoid any fumbling blunders that nearly cost them the game last week. However, the Eagles will need to force some turnovers of their own this week and ultimately win the turnover battle against the stingiest defense in the league.
Perhaps the biggest thing the Panthers were able to do against the Vikings was run the ball well. Carolina was able to run for 216 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Although Minnesota has the second-best rushing and pass defense in the league, Philadelphia has the third best ground attack in the league. Jay Ajayi had a great first half with 50 yards on 8 carries but cooled down as the game went on. He’ll have to put together a complete game as Ajayi could only muster 4 yards on 7 attempts in the second half.
The Eagles are a different animal at home allowing only 13 points against a game while scoring 27.1 points per game. In contrast, the Vikings give up 19 points a game on the road while scoring 23 points-per-game.
However, there is one thing the Minnesota Vikings are going up against that they didn’t have to face against New Orleans. Safeties that can tackle.
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports