Eagles-Vikings playoff primer: TV announcers, point spreads, referee info, etc.

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Brandon Graham celebrating the defensive stand that clinched the win over the Falcons and sent the Eagles to the NFC championship game.

NFC Championship Game

Minnesota (14-3) at Eagles (14-3)

When: Sunday, 6:40 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Financial Field.

NFC seeds: Minnesota 2, Eagles 1.

Poll

What is the biggest question for the Eagles heading into this game?

TV: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers).

Radio: 94WIP-FM (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin).

105.7-FM/Spanish (Rickie Ricardo, Gus Salazar, Maria Berral).

1210-AM/Westwood One (Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Ross Tucker)

 

Line: Vikings -3. Over-under: 38.5.

Vikings vs. spread: 11-5-1.

Eagles vs. spread: 11-6.

Fun prop: The line for the longest field goal is 46.5 yards. The weather is going to be near perfect, and both kickers hit 50-yard field goals last week.

Weather report: Dry and comfortable. Temperature near 50 at kickoff with a light breeze. This is the third time the Eagles will be hosting the Vikings in the playoffs. In 1981, the wind-chill factor was 14 degrees. In 2005, it was 20. The Eagles won both games and went to the Super Bowl each time.

 

History lesson: The all-time series is tied 13-13. The Eagles are 3-0 against the Vikings in the postseason and won the most recent meeting, 21-10, last season at Lincoln Financial Field.

Referee: Ed Hochuli is one of the most popular and respected referees in the league. He’s a partner in the Phoenix law firm of Jones, Skelton & Hochuli and has biceps that are the envy of many players. He has called two Super Bowls and was the referee when the Eagles beat the Packers in the fourth-and-26 game in 2004 and when Nick Foles threw seven touchdowns at Oakland in 2013. Since 1999, the Eagles are 11-7 in games Hochuli has been the head ref, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. The Vikings are 12-11 with Hochuli reffing. This will be his first Minnesota game this season. Hochuli last week worked as a back judge for the Eagles-Falcons playoff game.

 

 

Three things to know: The Vikings defense was ranked No. 1 in points allowed (15.8 per game) and yards allowed (275.9). The last time Minnesota led the league in scoring defense was in 1971. … The Eagles were fourth in points allowed (18.4) and fourth in yards allowed (306.5). … The Eagles are the fifth No. 1 seed to be underdogs in the conference championship. The 2015 Broncos, in Peyton Manning’s final season, are the only to win the game.

What’s next: A trip to Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52, which will be either the Eagles’ third crack at winning a Lombardi Trophy or an unintended home game for Minnesota.

The pick: Love defensive fistfights. Eagles, 19-17.


AFC Championship

Jacksonville (12-6) at New England (14-3)

When: Sunday, 3:05 p.m.

Where: Gillette Stadium.

AFC seeds: Jacksonville 3, New England 1.

TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely).

Radio: 1210-AM/Westwood One (Kevin Kugler, Dan Fouts, Ed Werder).

Line: Patriots -7.5. Over-under: 46.5.

Line swing: The Patriots were laying 9 most of the week until Tom Brady showed up on the injury report with a handy injury.

Jaguars vs. spread: 10-8.

Patriots vs. spread: 12-5.

Fun prop: The total interceptions are 1.5. The Jags defense was second in the league with 21 picks, and their quarterback, Blake Bortles, tossed 13.

Weather report: Dry with temperatures in the low 40s/upper 30s with winds at 5-10 mph.

History lesson: New England is 10-1 all-time against the Jags, including 3-1 in the playoffs. Their last meeting was in 2015, a 51-17 Patriots win in which Tom Brady threw two touchdowns, including the 400th of his career. New England scored on its first nine drives.

Referee: Clete Blakeman. The Patriots are just 2-4 in games Blakeman has been the lead referee. They have not had him this season or in a playoff game. Jacksonville is 3-4 with Blakeman, including a loss at Arizona in Week 12.

Three things to know: The Patriots are in the AFC championship game for the seventh consecutive season and 12th under Bill Belichick. They are 7-4. … A 2016 Wall Street Journal report estimated the average NFL career is 2.66 seasons — which is about 37 regular-season games. This will be Tom Brady’s 36th playoff game. … The Jags defense scored seven touchdowns during the season and another last week at Pittsburgh. Linebacker Telvin Smith last week scored off a fumble recovery, his third of the season, which is as many touchdowns as Julio Jones had.

Camera icon Charles Krupa / AP
A familiar pose: Tom Brady celebrating a touchdown pass in January.

 

What’s next: For the Jags, it would be their first trip to the Super Bowl. For New England, it would be their 10th trip and their third in four years. The Patriots are 5-4 in Supes,

The pick: Teams with defenses as good as the Jags have — they have four Pro Bowlers on that side of the ball — generally don’t get blown out. Patriots, 23-16.

 

 

 

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