NFC Championship Preview and Prediction – Feeling Purple

After their miracle finish to beat the Saints last week, the Minnesota Vikings are one road win away from being the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.  The numbers show that these two teams are very evenly matched across the board.

by Sean Zerillo – Wannamakeabet Staff Writer

Both teams feature defenses which have excelled at stopping the run. The Eagles, in fact, have the #1 most efficient rushing defense per Football Outsiders. Both teams are about average in adjusted sack rate on defense, excel in pass protection on offense (Minnesota #5), and are slightly below average in run blocking.

The Vikings ranked #4 in Total DVOA; #5 on offense and #2 on defense. The Eagles ranked #5 in Total DVOA; #8 on offense and #5 on defense. The two teams ranked #18 and #16 respectively in special teams. But much of those numbers for the offense bake in the production that Carson Wentz provided for the Eagles during his MVP caliber run of play.

With Wentz, the Eagles were the best third down offense in football. With Nick Foles at the helm, they have been one of the worst. With the Vikings setting an NFL record for third down defensive efficiency, Foles is going to struggle to move the ball.

Foles is 3-0 in the games he’s started this year that have mattered. But those wins also came against three of the least efficient defenses in Football per DVOA: Atlanta (#22); NY Giants (#24); Oakland (#29). Minnesota actually had more interceptions (14) this season than Atlanta (8) and Oakland (5) had combined.

This is a much harder test for Foles to pass, and a major step up in caliber of defense. This feels like the spot where his run finally ends.


  • Minnesota (-3)

(ATS: 9-3; ML: 1-0; Totals 1-0) (Favorite 6-2; Underdog 4-1; Over 0-0; Under 1-1)

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