Just call this one the battle of the backups. If you had told anybody at the beginning of the season that Nick Foles would be facing off against Case Keenum in the NFC title game for a spot in the Super Bowl, they would have likely laughed in your face.
But here we are and one of these two journeyman backups will have a shot at hoisting pro football’s ultimate prize: the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 20, 2018
It took a miracle for the Vikings to even make it here after surviving a near-death experience last week against the New Orleans Saints. Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees was able to overcome a 17-point deficit and had his team seconds away from a trip to Philly.
But then the football gods intervened, a rookie Saints cornerback made one of the worst defensive plays in the history of the playoffs and Stefon Diggs took a 61-yard Keenum pass to the house with no time remaining.
It was a lot easier and less stressful for the Eagles who just leaned heavily on their kick-ass defense by snuffing out the Atlanta Falcons.
The Eagles were not supposed to win that game. The offense had struggled mightily ever since budding young superstar Carson Wentz was lost for the year with a knee injury. Wentz is being touted by many as the next Tom Brady and could lead Philadelphia into a similar dynasty but when he went down so did any shot at this year’s Super Bowl.
But Foles made just enough key plays last Saturday to lead Philly past the defending conference champ Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in a game every bit as ugly as the score. He actually outplayed Matt Ryan but Foles didn’t have wrecking ball Fletcher Cox breathing down his neck all game.
When the two meet up at Lincoln Financial Field it is expected to be a defensive battle. The Vikings also happen to have a kick-ass defense and perhaps a bit of serious motivation knowing that a win would put them into home field advantage in the Super Bowl. Something that has never happened before.
The really great storyline with this one? Both Keenum and Foles were teammates with the St. Louis Rams in 2015.
The scoop: it could go either way depending on who gets a break or two because both defenses are nails.
The game is at 6:40 pm ET on Sunday.