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Top 5 keys for the Vikings-Eagles NFC championship game

Top 5 keys for the Vikings-Eagles NFC championship game

We’ve looked at the 10 most important players for conference championship Sunday, but now it’s time to take a look at the biggest keys for each of the games. Here are the top five keys for the NFC championship game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles (for the top five keys to the AFC game, click here):

1. Minnesota continuing to not turn it over

The Eagles are very good at forcing turnovers. They were fourth in the NFL with 31 takeaways and fourth with a plus-11 turnover margin. They have a defense that’s based on pressure and forcing game-changing mistakes.

But the Vikings don’t turn it over. In 13 of 17 games this season, the Vikings turned it over one or zero times. They’ve had multiple turnovers in only one of their past eight games (a loss at the Carolina Panthers). Case Keenum had just seven interceptions in 481 regular-season attempts. You’d assume the Eagles will need some short fields or even some easy points off turnovers to win, but the Vikings don’t often cooperate with that plan.

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2. Weather, maybe

Dome teams don’t have great success when they venture outdoors in cold weather. Via Howard Eskin of WIP, dome teams are 4-24 in their past 28 playoff games when the temperature was 35 degrees or less. That includes the Falcons’ loss last Saturday in Philadelphia (32 degrees at kickoff).

The Vikings live in extreme cold, but they don’t play in it. Their defense seems like it would be built for outdoor football, but 4-24 is a remarkable number. The low temperature in Philadelphia on Sunday is expected to be 34 degrees, and kickoff will be at 6:40 p.m. when it’s cooling off.

3. The Eagles need to find a way to get in the end zone

Jay Ajayi had a 17-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter of Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders. LeGarrette Blount scored a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter last week. And that’s it. Those are the only touchdowns the Eagles’ offense has scored the past three games.

And those games weren’t against defenses anywhere near as strong as the Vikings’ D.

 down conversions). Getting a running game going would help

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