The weekend of the NFC Championship is finally upon us…which means it’s time to once again make five bold predictions ahead of the matchup. We currently sit 29/80 on our bold predictions series this year and with this being perhaps our last shot at a perfect run, let’s take a look inside the crystal ball.
All Rhodes are closed:
Perhaps the most intriguing matchup this weekend will be between Alshon Jeffery and Xavier Rhodes. The two collided twice in 2016, with Rhodes arguably winning the matchup, allowing 73 total yards and amassing a pick in the process. There’s more to this clash than meets the eye however and I broke down every snap in a video below.
Nick Foles mentioned earlier this week that the Vikings defense offers plenty of different looks, meaning that the Eagles will have to take some shots down the field.
My first prediction will be for Jeffery to win the day, totaling 100 yards and scoring 1+ touchdowns.
Cox runs riot:
The franchise defensive tackle is coming off of arguably his greatest game as an Eagle. Fletcher Cox was ruthless against the Falcons, smothering Devonta Freeman and holding him to just 7 yards on 10 carries. One week later, the Vikings present an offense that relies on the run to take the pressure off of Case Keenum.
Cox is playing his best football right now and with that in mind, I’m predicting that the former first round pick will amass 6 tackles and 2 sacks in Sunday’s showdown.
Nick Foles wasn’t perfect against the Falcons, but he didn’t have to be. However he did catch fire in the second half, stringing together some crucial passes and spreading the ball around to nine different receivers in his 23 completions. After a strong week of practice that has left the six-year veteran bursting with confidence, the Eagles offense could be set to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders for the first time since a week 15 win over the Giants.
With this in mind, I’m predicting Foles to complete 60% of his passes for over 250 yards, committing no turnovers.
Clement’s big day:
The Eagles were able to spread the ball around beautifully against Atlanta, largely due to the versatility in the backfield. This will be something at the forefront of Pederson’s mindset this week. No back has carried the ball more than 16 times in a single game this season, but the Eagles have found a way to balance the offense perfectly. With Ajayi’s role growing ever more prominent, there is no questioning that he will be a key part of the Vikings gameplan.
Meanwhile, Corey Clement has been sneakily productive during his rookie year. With six touchdowns to his name and all of them coming inside the red zone, Clement has been an integral part of the Eagles running back rotation. Against Atlanta, he was targeted 5 times, catching all of the passes for a total of 31 yards.
My penultimate prediction is for the former Wisconsin Badger to feature a little more often in this week, gaining a total of 50 all purpose yards and scoring his seventh touchdown of the season.
Home underdogs yet again, this Eagles team is even hearing disrespect from the official NFL Facebook page, who accidentally launched a Super Bowl campaign for the Patriots vs Vikings. Minnesota comes into this game after one of the world’s most unexpected and emotional victories. The ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ will go down in history and this team now has to travel to a sold out Lincoln Financial Field and somehow focus on becoming the first team to host and play in the same Super Bowl.
Finally, I’m predicting the Eagles to beat the Vikings by 15 points or more as the laser-focused defense can avoid distractions and make life treacherous for Case Keenum.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports