By, Jack Kerner
JACK’S TAKE ON THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
Eagles case for a Victory…
What makes the 2018 NFC Championship game special; two teams that did not make the playoffs last season, making the NFC Championship with hopes of a Bowl.
The Philadelphia Eagles started the season with major optimism and high hopes. Franchise QB Carson Wentz had been seen as the league’s MVP as he leads the Eagles to a 12-2 record shortly before tearing his ACL ruining his season. The acquisitions of Jay Ajayi and Alshon Jeffery were aimed for in order to build the team for a shot at the Super Bowl behind Carson Wentz. With Nick Foles, the Eagles hope to find the same success that Wentz had ushered in.
Nick Foles stepped in for the Eagles and held the ship, throwing 5 TDs and 2 INT for 537 yards in 7 games. Nick Foles in his career, has thrown for 61 TD’s and 29 INT’s, providing full proof that he can manage a game as a starting Quarterback. Nick Foles can’t escape pressure like Carson Wentz or read the play like Carson Wentz. But he can manage the plays, analyze the schemes, and throw the deep ball just like any other franchise QB. Foles can also release the ball quicker which gives the defense less time to react to a play and recognize it. Nick Foles and his stunning stats prove that he could start in the NFL. Whether or not he would be amazing as a starter, history shows us that he’s not. But his constant calm, cool, collected play proves that he’s a glorified backup QB worthy of a starting role.
If the Eagles can’t depend on passing, the Eagles running game has to get off to a great start. Jay Ajayi is averaging 5.8 yards per carry along with 9.1 through the air. The dual-threat versatility is key to helping a QB who may struggle with throwing the ball at a deep length. The small passes open up the defense which could open the door for plays further downfield. The Eagles season of glamour through their young QB came to an end when Wentz went down, but players such as Nick Foles, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan; make the Eagles a contender in a game where some people have written off.
Minnesota Vikings Case for a Victory…
Behind Case Keenum, the Minnesota Vikings have found what it takes to persevere through the regular season, proving doubters wrong with their play. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen may be the hottest tandem receivers in the league.
The Vikings are coming off the “Minneapolis Miracle” and have the utmost confidence coming into the NFC Championship. Case Keenum must be the spark that the Vikings depend on. It’s no secret that the Vikings passing game is lethal having options such as Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph; which puts Case Keenum in the driving seat responsible for taking on the Eagles Defense which is ranked 10th according to nfl.com.
The Vikings run game has been slightly above average in terms of production, as Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon head the committee due to their promising rookie Dalvin Cook (ACL) being out for the season. Murray is averaging 3.9 yards per carry and McKinnon 3.8 yards, which provides the Vikings with a running game that averages 7.7 yards per game. That committee provides the Vikings with extra passing opportunities along with their running game. The Vikings ability to dominate on defense has given the Vikings offense the spark it so desperately needed.
I don’t like the matchup for Nick Foles. Nick Foles has proven to be a dignified backup QB that even I would happily accept for my team (New York Jets baby). As good as Nick Foles is, it won’t be enough to defeat the Vikings alone. Foles will need help from his RB and Defense. The Vikings have a stellar defense. Consisting of players such as Everson Griffen, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith. I believe the game will be a close game, underperforming in the scoring category. The Eagles Defense isn’t even that bad, but the performance of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and that Vikings Defense will prove to be the factors that could top the Eagles.