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Vikings at Eagles: Minnesota tries to come up with a fitting encore to its miracle

Vikings at Eagles: Minnesota tries to come up with a fitting encore to its miracle

Minnesota Vikings (14-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox
Livestreaming on Yahoo Sports app


Key player: Defensive end Everson Griffen will get some extra attention from the Eagles. Philadelphia left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai hasn’t been a liability replacing Jason Peters, after Peters’ season-ending injury, but this is a tough matchup for him. Griffen had 13 sacks this season and is one of the best ends in the NFL. Griffen could disrupt the Eagles’ game plan, and if nothing else he could force the Eagles to make adjustments in their gameplan to help Vaitai.

[Stream the NFL Playoffs live on the Yahoo Sports mobile app]

Why they’ll win: After Stefon Diggs’ miracle, are you picking against them? While it’s illogical to believe in things like “team of destiny,” if you do believe in such things then the Vikings seem like they’re the one. More relevant is their defense matching up against the Eagles. Philadelphia scored just one touchdown last week, on a fourth down. It averaged 3 yards per rush. The Eagles weren’t bad on offense last week but this is a much different challenge. The Vikings allowed the fewest yards and points in the NFL this regular season. The Eagles are going to struggle to move the ball.

NFL Network’s David Carr and Baltimore Ravens Safety Tony Jefferson break down how the two quarterbacks playing in the NFC Championship Game are different.

Why they’ll lose: There’s a flip side to the unbelievable Stefon Diggs play, and it’s that it’s a heck of a high to come down from. The Vikings coaching staff has been great all season, but it needs to refocus the team immediately from one of the greatest plays in American sports this century. It’s also worth noting that the Vikings needed a once-in-forever play to beat the New Orleans Saints at home. It wasn’t all that fluky either — before Diggs’ play the Saints had outgained the Vikings and were in position to win despite losing the turnover battle on the road. If the Saints can almost beat the Vikings on the road, it’s not inconceivable the Eagles could beat them in Philadelphia.

Keep in mind: The Vikings rely on wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen for most of their production in the passing game, and the Eagles allow a lot of receptions and yards to receivers. The Eagles allowed 2,485 receiving yards to receivers according to Pro Football Reference, which was ninth most in the NFL, and the 199 receptions to receivers

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