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NFC Championship - Sunday, Jan. 21
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 1/18/2018  at  10:18:00 PM
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NFC-Championship — Lincoln Financial Field — Philadelphia, PA
Kickoff: Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET
Line: Vikings -3, Total: 38.5

The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday for the NFC Championship Game, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

The Vikings came roaring out of their first-round bye Sunday, forcing punts by the Saints on their first three possessions and moving 55 yards in eight plays for a touchdown run by RB Jerick McKinnon on their first drive. Aided by two pass interference calls for 54 yards, the Vikings reached the 1-yard line before settling for a short field goal on the next possession. They pushed the lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter when RB Latavius Murray plowed in from the 1-yard line. Saints kicker Wil Lutz's 43-yard kick with 25 seconds remaining, however, punctuated a forceful rally from that 17-point deficit, which had stood until 1:16 remained in the third quarter. Minnesota QB Keenum completed a last-ditch heave near the sideline on the game's final play to WR Stefon Diggs, who slithered away from the Saints for a 61-yard touchdown as time expired to give the Vikings a 29-24 victory.Underdogs for a second straight week, Philadelphia was the first No. 1 seed in league history not favored to win its first playoff game. Expectations for the Eagles have understandably dropped since QB Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14—the offense clearly isn’t the same without Wentz, who is an MVP candidate after tossing 33 touchdown passes in 13 games. QB Nick Foles, however, is 3-1 in Wentz’s place, with the only loss coming in Week 17 when the starters only played one quarter. That includes Sunday’s 15-10 victory over the Falcons. There have been four previous times since 2000 that the home team has been an underdog four times in the NFC title game. The underdog Giants beat the Vikings in January 2000 and the Cardinals beat the Eagles in January 2009. The Bears lost to the Packers in Chicago in January 2010 and the Falcons lost to the 49ers in Atlanta in January 2012.

When a pair of teams with win percentages of at least .750 have faced each other past the midway point of the season since 2013, road teams coming off a victory are just 1-14 straight-up. Meanwhile, home teams that have gone Under the total by a combined 35 or more points over their previous three games are 16-1 straight-up against conference opponents since the start of the 2015 season. The Eagles come into this one having gone 7-0 ATS since the start of last season against opponents that allow an average of 90 or fewer rushing yards per game.

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