Eagles

Best of NFL: After another reprieve, Ezekiel Elliott leads Cowboys over Chiefs

usa-ezekiel-elliott-celebration-cowboys.jpg
USA Today Images

Best of NFL: After another reprieve, Ezekiel Elliott leads Cowboys over Chiefs

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ezekiel Elliott ran for the go-ahead touchdown after another reprieve from his six-game suspension and the Dallas Cowboys overcame Tyreek Hill's improbable last-play touchdown in the first half, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 28-17 on Sunday.

Elliott's 2-yard plunge in the third quarter came after the Chiefs turned a 14-3 deficit into a 17-14 advantage, sparked by Hill's weaving 57-yard catch with the first-half clock expired and seven Dallas defenders inside their 25 trying to prevent the score.

Last year's NFL rushing champion as a rookie, Elliott had 93 yards, ending a streak of three straight 100-yard games but outgaining Kareem Hunt, this year's rushing leader in his first season entering the game.

Hunt matched a season low with nine carries, finishing with 37 yards as a club record-tying nine-game road winning streak ended for the Chiefs (6-3) in their third loss in four games since a 5-0 start.

Elliott got an emergency stay from a New York court Friday, stopping the suspension over alleged domestic violence for the third time (see full recap)

Cousins comes through late as Washington stuns Seattle
SEATTLE — Kirk Cousins drove Washington 70 yards in 35 seconds, capped by Rob Kelley's 1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining, and the Washington Redskins rallied late to stun the Seattle Seahawks 17-14 on Sunday.

Seattle took a 14-10 lead with 1:34 remaining after Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a 30-yard touchdown pass after the Seahawks had scuffled on offense all day. But Cousins had an unexpected answer.

Taking over at his 30-yard line, Cousins hit Brian Quick for 31 yards and Josh Doctson for 38 on consecutive throws to get to the Seattle 1 with 1:02 left. Doctson beat rookie Shaquill Griffin down the sideline and made an impressive diving catch. Kelley bulled his way in from the 1 on the next play.

Kelley finished with two touchdown runs, while Cousins was 21 of 31 for 247 yards. He was responsible for a fumble in the first half, but otherwise took care of the ball against Seattle's standout defense. He also withstood six sacks and a number of other quarterback hits behind a makeshift offensive line of backups and rookies (see full recap). 

Emotional Newton leads Panthers to 20-17 win over Falcons​
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton felt the Carolina Panthers needed an emotional lift. He gave them one on Sunday.

An energetic and seemingly motivated Newton ran for 86 yards and a scored on a head-first diving 9-yard touchdown run as the Carolina Panthers erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the NFC South-rival Atlanta Falcons 20-17.

Newton pumped his fist, flexed his muscles and played up to the crowd in a game he knew the Panthers (6-3) had to have to remain a half-game behind the first-place Saints in the NFC South.

"When the Panthers are emotionless, good things don't happen," Newton said. "If we can get Bank of America Stadium with a pulse, that's when we are at our best. And that is what I was trying to do."

Newton was coming off an emotional week in which his top target — and best friend on the team — Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Buffalo Bills (see full recap.)

Goff throws career-best 4 TDs, Rams rout defenseless Giants​
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If the last two games are any indication, the Los Angeles Rams are for real — and then some.

Jared Goff set career highs with four touchdown throws and 311 yards passing, Todd Gurley ran for two more scores and the surprising Rams made one big play after another in beating the defenseless New York Giants 51-17 on Sunday.

The win was the fifth in six games for the Rams, whose 6-2 start is the franchise's best since 2001, when the club went 14-2 in the regular season and eventually lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

What's even more impressive is that 31-year-old Sean McVay's team has won the last two games by a combined 84-17 margin, including a 33-0 win over the Cardinals in London (see full recap).

What you need to know for Eagles-Vikings tailgate

usa-eagles-fans-linc.jpg
USA Today Images

What you need to know for Eagles-Vikings tailgate

Several parking lots outside the Linc will open as early as 11:30 a.m. Sunday for fans who require extra time preparing for kickoff for the NFC Championship Game.

The Wells Fargo Center lots as well as the M and N lots — located just east of the stadium — and the P lot, next to Citizens Bank Park, are scheduled to open at 11:30 a.m., the Eagles announced.

The Linc's K lot, just north of the stadium, will open at 1 p.m.

The Citizens Bank Park lots are scheduled to open at 3 p.m.

Gates to the Head House Plaza open at 3:30 p.m. and the inner gates to the stadium open at 4:30 p.m. Located on the north end of the stadium, The Head House Plaza offers outdoor bars, food stands, live music and numerous other pregame activities for fans arriving early. It also includes an entrance to the Eagles Pro Shop.

The Eagles and Vikings kick off the NFC Championship Game at 6:40 p.m.

Eagles-Vikings NFC Championship Game predictions

usa-malcolm-jenkins-stefon-diggs.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles-Vikings NFC Championship Game predictions

Another week, another game with the Eagles being the underdog.

After a dominant defensive performance in a 15-10 win over the Falcons in the divisional round, the Eagles will welcome the No. 2 seed Vikings to the Linc for the NFC Championship Game (6:40 p.m. on FOX).

Despite the Eagles being the No. 1 seed and having home-field advantage, Minnesota is the favorite to advance and play the Super Bowl on their home field in Minneapolis.

Our analysts all had the Birds winning last week. This week, we’ll see who has the Eagles advancing to Super Bowl LII.

Reuben Frank (15-2)
Two great defenses blah blah blah. Underdogs blah blah blah. Carson Wentz got hurt blah blah blah. Forget all the storylines you've heard this week, and say these 16 words out loud with me: "Case Keenum is not going to come into the Linc and win the NFC Championship Game." OK, LOUDER: "CASE KEENUM IS NOT GOING TO COME INTO THE LINC AND WIN THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME." Maybe I'd feel differently if the Vikings were home or if a future Hall of Famer like Drew Brees were coming to town, but you're talking about a relatively inexperienced quarterback who plays his home games in a dome coming into South Philadelphia and dealing with crowd noise, changing weather, a hostile environment and a ferocious defense that's allowed five touchdowns and 9.2 points per game in its last six home games. I don't think Case Keenum can handle what he's about to face Sunday afternoon. I think we're all headed to Minneapolis. 

Eagles 18, Vikings 9

Dave Zangaro (14-3)
I never thought this day would come, if I'm being honest. If you told me in the summer the Eagles were going to be in the NFC Championship Game, I wouldn't have believed you. 

If you would have told me they were going to be in the NFC Championship Game without Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis, I would have told you that you were crazy. 

Now, I'm the crazy one. Because despite all of that and despite the Eagles' technically being the underdogs in this game, I think they're going to win it. 

Had the Saints won last Sunday, I probably wouldn't think that. The thought of Brees coming to town would have been enough for me to pick against the Birds. But then the Minnesota Miracle happened and as great as it was for the Vikings, it could end up being great for the Eagles too. 

Sure, the Vikings are a really good team and maybe they have the best statistical defense in the league and maybe Case Keenum will never come back to Earth. But the Eagles have a pretty good defense too, a good defense that's even better at home. Nick Foles doesn't need to be Wentz, but he will need to make some big-time throws Sunday; I think he does. I think the defense clamps down at home. I think this improbable run somehow keeps going. 

I think the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. 

Eagles 18, Vikings 13

Derrick Gunn (14-3)
These two teams mirror each other so much. Both are guided by quarterbacks who were backups on their depth charts when this long journey began. Both have defenses that can clamp down on opposing offenses. Both with identical records. And both have never won a Super Bowl (Vikings 0-4, Eagles 0-2). 

For Foles, it's imperative that he stays within himself. Stick to the short, high-percentage passing game and hopefully get some much-needed help from the run game. 

Against the Falcons, the Eagles had 49 yards rushing in the opening quarter but only 47 the rest of the game against Atlanta's ninth-ranked run defense. 

Minnesota's defense is ranked No. 1 overall, No. 2 against the run, No. 2 against the pass and No. 1 in points allowed. 

The Eagles' defensive front has to get to Keenum before he can find Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Both are excellent route runners with exceptional hands. What a matchup up this is. Pat Shurmur's offense against Jim Schwartz's defense. 

I've gone back and forth all week on who will win this game in what could be your basic backyard brawl. So what I came up with is this: In the final seconds of the game, the Eagles will be down one point when Jake Elliott gets the call and nails a 50-yarder as time expires. Eagles win and dance their way to the Super Bowl.

Eagles 23, Vikings 21

Ray Didinger (15-2)
Offenses are scoring at a record pace and yardage totals keep mounting. The typical NFL Sunday is all about the point totals climbing and fantasy owners cashing in. But now we're in the post-season and this is when the defense flexes its muscles. This is when scores go down and hitting picks up.

When the Eagles and Vikings meet for the NFC championship, it will be all about defense. The Vikings allowed the fewest points (15.8 per game) and fewest yards (276 per game) during the regular season. The Eagles allowed the fewest yards rushing (79 per game) and allowed just 26 points in the last three games, including the 15-10 win over Atlanta in the divisional playoff.

The Vikings had the best defense in the league on third down allowing 25.2 percent conversions. The Eagles defense was equally stingy at home (26.6 percent). The key to winning this game on the offensive side will be avoiding negative plays. A sack, a penalty, anything that creates a third-and-long situation will kill a drive. A five-yard run will be a big play in this game.

I think the Eagles pressure will eventually get to Keenum and that will be the difference.

Eagles 16, Vikings 13

Andrew Kulp (14-3)
The Vikings are a vastly better team than the Falcons in 2017-18, so I'm not sure I quite understand the confidence in the Eagles locally. Nonetheless, I tend to agree with the notion that it's hard to pick Keenum at Lincoln Financial Field in the NFC Championship.

Home-field has and will continue to be a big advantage for the Eagles. The crowd will rattle Keenum the way it did Matt Ryan last week, while simultaneously allowing Foles and the Birds' offense to communicate protection calls against the Vikings' exotic pressure packages.

Compare the two rosters side by side, and they're relatively close in terms of talent. It's pretty much a coin flip. The fans are what move the needle here. Plus, the way this entire season has gone, how can anybody around here possibly pick against the Eagles?

Eagles 26, Vikings 17

Corey Seidman (12-4)
Equal QBs. Eagles have the run game advantage. Vikings have the better WR group. Eagles have the better TEs and offensive line. Vikings have the better secondary. 

This one feels like an extremely close game. But with homefield advantage and a better kicker, I’m 52 percent confident the Eagles pull it out and advance to the Super Bowl. 

(Wouldn’t it be the most Philly thing ever, though, if the Jaguars upset the Patriots, Eagles fans go crazy, and then the Birds lose?) 

Eagles 13, Vikings 10