Home underdogs again, Eagles embrace their role as spoiler


Vikings QB Case Keenum won in much more dramatic fashion when he hit WR Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown as time expired in regulation to give his team the 29-24 victory. To hear the talking heads tell it, Atlanta was a clear favorite, to the point they could have been essentially penciled in to the NFC Championship Game. The Eagles beat the Vikings 21-10.

Philadelphia Eagles tickets are supposed to be gone in mere seconds on Tuesday when they open up to the public on Ticketmaster.

What's more odd than a stadium filled with fans wearing dog masks?

With no disrespect meant to the Eagles and their goal-line stand to save the game, the Vikings' defense has the edge from front to back and side to side, from Everson Griffen to Harrison Smith to Anthony Barr (he covers the side-to-side). The Eagles chose to fire Kelly after week 16 in the 2015 season and gave the job to Pederson that offseason. Their front four will stop the Eagles redzone man, Legarrette Blount, and two All-Pro secondary players in Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith will captain the passing defense for the Vikings.

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For years now, he has been consistent as one of the last lines of defense against big plays in the Vikings' defense. Philadelphia is without quarterback Carson Wentz, yes, but not without most of the key players on a defense that ranked fourth in the National Football League in points and first in rushing yards against. Maybe Long was just having fun after the game, but sure as hell Johnson wore that mask to prove a point.

The last part of the preview should not be over looked. At the end of the day, teams win or lose football games, signal callers aside. Rookie kicker Jake Elliott went 3/3 on Saturday night, with a long of 53 yards. Pederson's Eagles finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

When you take out the one season he played for "quarterback killer" Jeff Fisher in St. Louis (now Los Angeles), Foles' numbers are very respectable. I don't have to put Vikings fans through this again because they already know the two names that come to mind, but Kai Forbath has seemed to put Vikes fans at ease. Forget the missed field goal in 1998, and forget the interception in 2009. However, he hasn't faced a secondary like the Vikings since taking over the starting job. In the divisional round, Foles went 23-for-30 for 246 yards against the Falcons to help get the Eagles to the NFC Championship. Instead, the Eagles now find themselves squaring off against a team with its own unique brand of energy and its own form of the disrespect card to play. On the other hand, the Minnesota Vikings are coming off one of their best postseason wins in franchise history, when most thought their season was over. Now, all of a sudden, we're not good enough? It's not about disrespecting the Eagles, it's about watching hours and hours of film and knowing that one decent half by Nick Foles does not a Super Bowl offense make, and as good as the Eagles defense has been, the Vikings defense is just as good.