NFC championship: Eagles to host Saints or Vikings after beating Falcons, 15-10

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Eagles’ corner Jalen Mills celebrates after breaking up the Falcons’ fourth-down attempt in the fourth quarter to seal the Eagles’ 15-10 win.

The Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons, 15-10, Saturday night in the NFC divisional round, so they will host the NFC championship game against the winner of Sunday’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

The NFC championship game is to be played Sunday, Jan. 21, at 6:40 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. The game will be televised on Fox.

This is the Eagles’ first appearance this deep in the postseason since January 2009, when they lost at Arizona one game shy of the Super Bowl. It’s their first time hosting the NFC Championship Game since January 2005, when they won to advance to the Super Bowl.

The Eagles haven’t played either the Vikings or the Saints this season.

The Vikings finished 13-3, just like the Eagles, but the Eagles secured the top seed and home-field advantage based on record against common opponents. The Vikings also lost their starting quarterback this season when Sam Bradford, who was acquired from the Eagles, re-injured his knee early in the season. Case Keenum filled in and has been one of the NFC’s biggest surprises, throwing for 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Keenum is a former teammate of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who lost his job to Keenum in St. Louis in 2015. But the strength of the Vikings is their defense, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total yards (275.9) and points allowed (15.8). Head coach Mike Zimmer has taken the Vikings to the playoffs in two of his four seasons in Minnesota. If the Vikings win Sunday and next Sunday, they’ll be the first team in NFL history to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium.

The Saints went 11-5 and won their opening round playoff game over Carolina. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees leads the Saints offense, although their strength this season has been Pro Bowl running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The duo became the first pair of running backs in NFL history to both top 1,500 yards from scrimmage. Their defense is improved this season, led by defensive end Cameron Jordan (13 sacks) and rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Saints coach Sean Payton is 7-4 in the playoffs and has twice eliminated the Eagles.

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