The Philadelphia Eagles won outright as a home dog last week, and they’ll play as a home dog again Sunday night in the NFC championship game against miracle-aided Minnesota (6:40 pm ET, Fox). Do we take Philly and the points with our free NFL playoff pick?
Most NFL playoff betting odds opened Minnesota at -3.5, with an over/under of 38. As of mid-week most books had dropped the hook on the Vikings, and bumped the total to 39.
NFC Championship Game Match-Up
Minnesota (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS this season) advanced to the NFC championship game for the first time since 2009 with a crazy 29-24 victory over New Orleans last week. The Vikings basically dominated the Saints for about the first 40 minutes of that game, and led 17-0. But thanks in part to some iffy play calling and a terrible interception thrown by QB Case Keenum Minnesota let New Orleans come all the way back to take a 24-23 lead. The Vikes then got a little help from above in the form of a 61-yard pass-catch-run touchdown connection by Keenum and Stefon Diggs on a fourth down on the final play of the game for the victory.
Minnesota outgained the Saints 403-358 and won time-of-possession by a 33-27 split.
The Vikes should have covered that game at -5.5, but pissed away the cash by allowing New Orleans to rally. Minnesota then declined to kick the extra point with no time on the clock.
The Vikings are now 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS this season against teams that made the playoffs.
Philadelphia (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS), meanwhile, is back in the NFC championship game for the first time since 2008 after knocking off Atlanta last week 15-10. The Eagles trailed the Falcons just before the half 10-6, but got a 53-yard field goal from Jake Elliot at the buzzer, then won the second half 6-0.
Philly was the beneficiary of probably the biggest play of the game, when Atlanta S Keanu Neal botched an easy interception around midfield late in the second quarter. Eagles WR Torrey Smith grabbed the rebound and ran for 10 more yards, helping set up Elliot’s key kick.
In the end the Philadelphia defense clinched the victory with a stop on a fourth down from its own 2-yard line.
The Eagles outgained the Falcons 334-281.
Philly is now 3-1 both SU and ATS against teams that made the playoffs.
Philadelphia averaged 390 yards per game in the 13 games started by QB Carson Wentz this season. In the three games started by back-up Nick Foles that actually meant something the Eagles have averaged 297 yards.
These teams met most recently back in October of last season, a 21-10 Eagles victory also in Philly. Wentz and Sam Bradford quarterbacked that day, and as the teams combined for just 521 yards of offense that game played under a total of 39.
Unders are 9-8 in Vikings games this season, which are averaging 40 points.
Unders are also 9-8 in Eagles games, which are averaging 46 points.
Free NFC Championship Game Picks
We’ll give Minnesota a short edge at quarterback, and another short edge on defense. So we’re giving the points with the Vikings. Also, these two defenses both rank in the top four in the league, so we’re thinking points might be very hard to come by. We’ll go under on the total.