Minnesota (14-3) -3 @ PHILADELPHIA (14-3)
If you watched the divisional round games last week, you'll remember that both these teams are playing on borrowed time this week. Neither deserves to be here.
The Eagles stopped the Falcons on 4th and 2 because the Falcons went with a play that surprised no one but still probably would have converted if Julio Jones did not slip on the field turf. Poor decision making from the Falcons coaches is the only reason their season ended last week in Philly.
The Vikings erased a history of heartbreaking playoff losses with an improbable 61-yard TD as time expired. The play was set up to get a catch down the sideline so Diggs could jump out of bounds and the Vikes could try a game winning field goal. Instead, the safety took the wrong line on the hit and gave Diggs a free pass to the end zone. Game over - or was it. Due to NFL rules, in regulation the scoring team must attempt the extra point. This is due to point differential (re: Vegas) being used as a tie-breaker in the regular season. As the line varied during the week between -4.5 and -5.5, a lot was riding on that extra point including me winning $600 in a squares pool. We had Saints +4.5, so the miracle touchdown made that bet a very bad beat. But still lots of drama. If they kick the extra point, they win by 6 and cover all lines (plus I win my square). If they run in for two, they win by 7 and cover. If they kneel, some win, some lose, some push and I lose my square. After a solid 10 minutes for Stephon Diggs to finish his Rod Tidwell celebration and to get everyone back on the field, they knelt. Boooo!
Side note: Jerry Maguire came out in 1996. If it comes out in 2018, Tidwell's catch gets reviewed for 10 minutes while the announcers flip flop on whether or not he maintained possession all the way through the catch. Since he loses consciousness, the likelihood that he maintained a firm grip on the ball is slim. The catch gets reversed. Tidwell, who obviously suffered a significant head injury on the play, is placed on a backboard and carted off the field. His elaborate celebration doesn't happen and we lose our feel good ending. Man, we suck in 2018.
Anyhoo, I'm still not over that this game should feature the Falcons vs. Saints in New Orleans and we'd be watching two fierce rivals battle for the 3rd time this year. Instead we get the Vikings in Philadelphia. I guess these were the two best teams in the NFC this year, so that's one way to get excited for this game. For some reason, I just can't. Maybe it's the lull coming off of the Vikings crazy finish. Or that the Falcons blew a 4th down from the 2-yard line for the win giving Eagles fans something to celebrate and starting one of the dumbest fads in sports when Chris Long and Lane Johnson wore dog masks on the field post game. Get it, they were underdogs.
Palm meet face. I don't just hate this because it's the Eagles and I hate everything from Philly, I hate it because it's stupid and idiot Eagles fans have bought so many of these dog masks that they have repeatedly sold out on Amazon. I guess I should be happy for the novelty company in China that is making millions on the stupidity of Eagles fans. Instead, I find my "Silver Linings Playbook" knowing that the Eagles will lose this week and 50,000 dejected Eagles fans will be stuck with these silly dog masks.
Take Minnesota big and give the points. The defense is way too good for a Nick Foles led offense.
PICK: Minnesota -3