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Eagles vs. Vikings 2018: NFC Championship Game Predictions (plus a legendary pregame rant)

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Who will win this week?

NFL: OCT 23 Vikings at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I still can’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles are in the NFC Championship Game.

They weren’t supposed to be here.

Prior to the season, most of us thought they’d go around 9-7. Maybe win a game on Wild Card weekend.

Those expectations started to shift once we saw just how good this team is during the regular season. But hopes were shattered for many once Carson Wentz went down with an ACL injury.

The Eagles were the first No. 1 seed in NFL history be underdogs in their first playoff game.

Again, they weren’t supposed to be here.

But here they are.

And they’re not done yet.

Because today, my friends, we are not going to see the end of an incredible Eagles season. Perhaps the most fun season in memory, even.

No — today is just the game before the game that matters most. And the Eagles ARE going to the Super Bowl.

You may think my confidence is misplaced, but I don’t think it is. As I explained last week, I just have a feeling in my body and soul that the Eagles are going to win. That feeling has not steered me wrong this year.

The Minnesota Vikings are a very good team, no doubt about it. But they don’t know what they’re about to walk into. Lincoln Financial Field is going to be as electric as we’ve ever seen. The intimidation factor is real. 69,000 fans will be yelling at the top of their lungs in support of this Eagles team. Vikings players will not be able to ignore the masses of people wearing dog masks, which will only serve to reminder them how crazy and rabid this fan base is.

Mike Zimmer’s defense won’t be easy to crack. The Vikings have so much talent on that side of the ball. If there’s someone who can find a way to beat it, though, it has to be Doug Pederson. There should be confidence that the unexpected hero of the Eagles’ 2017 season is going to give Zimmer everything he’s got.

The Eagles’ offensive line will be key to victory in this game. Protecting Nick Foles, who looked much better in the second half of last week’s game, will be paramount. Give him some time and he should be able to execute the offense, especially if the Eagles can set up the run to help with play-action and run-pass options.

The Eagles’ defensive line will also be key to victory in this game. Philadelphia has the ability to get to Case Keenum. That Vikings offensive line isn’t great. It’s just a matter of actually getting Keenum, who is surprisingly elusive, to the ground. Pressure itself isn’t good enough. Jim Schwartz’s players need to finish the play.

All of this is easier said than done. The underdog Eagles have their work cut out for them.

But given the way the Birds have defied expectations, you just can’t count them out. They’ve proved their doubters wrong at every turn.

No one in Philadelphia is ready for this season to end.

So it’s time to say “they weren’t supposed to be here” for one more game ...

The one that’s set to take place in two weeks from now on Feb. 4, 2018.

TAKE IT AWAY JOHNNY B!

...

Suggested format:

Score prediction:

Bold prediction:

My predictions:

Score prediction: Eagles win, 17-16

Bold prediction: Derek Barnett strip-sack to clinch the win

Your predictions:

Leave your own predictions in the comments. Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).

Poll

Will the Eagles beat the Vikings?

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  • 81%
    Yes
    (2548 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (574 votes)
3122 votes total Vote Now