As well as Mello and I get along here in vox-land, we were squarely in opposing cheering sections today as the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to Minnesota to face the NFC North champion Vikings in a Wild-Card playoff match-up.
As an Eagles fan, it was a tense game. Even with the Eagles leading (16-14) in the first half thanks to a few long David Akers FGs and a crucial pick by Assante Samuel on an ill-advised Tavaris Jackson pass, it certainly didn’t feel like they were in control of the game. The Vikings were moving the ball fairly effectively; they were converting a lot of third downs; and they had gotten a big TD run from Adrian Peterson.
Things seem to slowly but gradually tilt the Birdz way in the second half. The Eagles were able to mount decent drives deep out of their own zone (though they didn’t result in points, it really helped with field position). The defense was better able to stop the Vikings offense, and that seemed to rattle Jackson – and except for his first half TD scamper, they seemed to have a lock down on AP. The game blew open on an unassuming looking screen pass to Brian Westbrook, who picked up some good blocks upfield from his lineman and then some great blocks downfield from his WRs. That play really seemed to shake the Vikings for the remainder of the game – Jackson began to play with an air of desperation and Minnesota never threatened again. The Birdz tacked on another FG to win 26-14.
Next week, it’s back to the unfriendly confines of the Meadowlands to face the Giants. The Eagles split the season series with them this year, and it will be interesting to see which Giants team shows up, the one that started 11-1 or slumped into the playoffs dropping three of their last four.