MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Oddsmakers have the Philadelphia Eagles as 3.5 point underdogs at home against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.
Both teams are coming off wins they barely eked out. The Eagles held off a late Falcons drive to win 15-10, while the Vikings needed a walk off Stefon Diggs touchdown to overcome a late comeback by the New Orleans Saints.
So, with both teams similarly built (offenses led by backup quarterbacks, strong running games and stout defenses), who are the experts picking in this weekend’s NFC Championship game?
Seven of eight experts at CBS Sports are picking the Vikings to beat the Eagles. Only Will Brinson thinks the Eagles will win at home to earn a Super Bowl berth.
“Vikings quarterback Case Keenum seems to be the charmed passer this season, and I think he continues his success here,” Pete Prisco said.
“The Vikings will get a couple short fields to beat the Eagles and get to the Super Bowl.”
Brinson, meanwhile, thinks the Eagles’ defensive line will be the difference maker in this game.
“Everyone is severely overlooking the defensive advantage the Eagles have when going up against the Vikings offensive line,” he said.
“Give me the dog to win outright in this game as well, with the Eagles covering and heading to the Super Bowl.”
Bleacher Report’s experts are just as confident in the Vikings as CBS Sports’. Seven of the nine experts picked the Vikings as NFC champions. Only Mike Tanier and Tyler Dunne picked the Eagles to win.
Tanier thinks the Eagles have the edge in a couple of key areas.
“Both the Vikings and Eagles are built for low-scoring showdowns, but the Eagles running game and aggressiveness on fourth downs will give them an edge in a game where every point is precious,” he said.
Lead writer Matt Miller says it’s time to stop doubting Case Keenum, and that the Vikings defense will get enough pressure on Nick Foles to pull off the victory.
For a No. 1 seed playing in the championship game at home, a lot of people seem to be doubting the Eagles. Only two of USA Today’s six experts picked them to win this weekend.
Before the playoffs began, the panel of experts gave their picks for NFC champion and Super Bowl champion. Five of six experts picked the Saints to win the NFC. The remaining expert – Lindsay H. Jones – picked the Vikings not only to win their conference, but also the Super Bowl.
A trend is beginning to emerge. Seven of eight ESPN experts pick the Vikings to head home to prep for the Super Bowl. Dan Graziano is the sole Eagles supporter here. He is also the only expert who picked the Jacksonville Jaguars to upset the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Bad news for people who trust in analytics – FiveThirtyEight is not quite as high on the Vikings as other sites.
The popular data-driven website gives the Vikings a 43 percent chance of beating the Eagles – obviously that means the Eagles have a 57 percent chance of winning.
They give both teams the same odds of winning the Super Bowl, though – 25 percent.
Two NFL.com experts – Elliot Harrison and Dave Dameshek – predict a close game, but both have the Vikings coming out on top.
The Vikings have been playing the underdog card all season — they will need to find a different motivator this weekend, apparently. No matter what the experts say, facing a No. 1 seed at home is a tough task. Sunday night, we’ll find out how much the experts really know.