The biggest worry I see for Eagles fans is that the Birds' offense has tended to be much more inconsistent on the road, but really, if the Eagles somehow get to 20 points in this game, I'll be really surprised if they don't win.
The Vikings are a little like the Redskins, a team the Eagles struggled against twice this year.
Minnesota has a young quarterback who surely is a question mark, but the Vikes also have the league's best running back and a defense that can put heat on quarterbacks. Minnesota was fourth in the league with 45 sacks.
While it's possible the magic of last Sunday could carry the Birds onto an extended run, the Vikings are no speed bump - especially for an Eagles team that was just 3-4-1 on the road.
In the Chop-Socky film genre, the Ninja leading man always gets tuned up by the Ninja Master one last time before going forth into the world to right wrongs and annihilate several hundred evildoers. Ninja Master Andy-san Reid will give apt pupil Brad Childress one last tuning Sunday in the Metrodome.
It's probably a draft accident that the Vikings have the No. 1 running back in the NFL, the superb Adrian Peterson. But the Eagles run defense has evolved to the point that no running back is going to keep them on the field very long. But Childress also has a steel trap rushing defense, which all but guarantees Reid has strapped the wing tanks on the South Philly Air Force and will be planning max sorties in the passer-friendly Dome against a pass defense disguised as a spaghetti strainer.
And that's OK, Andy. This time we understand. Just try not to be too obvious about it. Line up in your two-tight end set and throw out of it. Run a few times from the four wideout sets. Despite the classic "Trap Line" that favors the Eagles by three points in a road playoff game, this could be a double-digit prelude to the Giants rubber game in arctic Meadowlands conditions.
You look at the matchups on paper and this should be an Eagles runaway. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the universe, but the Eagles proved last year they can shut him down. Professor Jim Johnson vs. Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson? Please.
The Vikings' 32nd-ranked punt coverage unit vs. DeSean Jackson? Keep those runways clear. Donovan McNabb, who has thrown nine TDs and just one interception since the Benching at the M&T Bank Corral, vs. the Vikings' 18th-ranked pass defense? Shouldn't be a contest.
But then you remember the Redskins game 2 weeks ago. Then you remember that the Eagles are 3-4-1 on the road this season. The Eagles will win, but there will be some fourth-quarter nail-biting going on before they do.
Here's the scary thing: The Eagles losing Sunday's game in Minneapolis is almost as unlikely as the series of events that allowed them into that game.
Like the Giants at the start of last year's postseason, the Eagles defense is playing its best football right now. A last-minute meaningless touchdown drive by the Giants and a turnover-fueled touchdown by the Ravens are the only real blemishes in the month of December. Against a young error-prone quarterback and an offense that relies on sore-footed Adrian Peterson, that should be enough.
Should be. We have all seen how detrimental the offense's ineptitude can be this season. Dropped passes, inaccurracy at critical times by the quarterback and the coach's propensity to panic himself right out of a game plan at even the slightest deficit - all are grounds to splash cold water on your optimism.
Oh, and did I mention they aren't so hot on the road?
That said, it will be a bumpy ride, but . . .
The only way the Vikings win is if Tarvaris Jackson doesn't throw interceptions and Adrian Peterson goes for 150 on the ground.
Hmm. Jackson has eight touchdowns and one interception in December. Peterson led the league in rushing and had three 150-plus days.
Still . . . The Birds are playing better than they have in two seasons. Donovan McNabb is playing smart and aggressive. The offensive line is stout and solid, the D-line a mish-mashed delicious mess.
Days removed now from the unexpected euphoria of the Eagles' berth in the playoffs, people still seem a little giddy in town. Minnesota? No problem. That seems to be the vibe.
As long as the other team has Adrian Peterson, this has a chance to be a long, hard, difficult day for the Eagles. It's that simple. The Eagles have done a much better job against the run in the second half of the season but they have not seen a running back like this in the second half of the season, either. This will not be easy; will not.
In the end, though, the Eagles' defense - which is playing great - will come up big again.
It might have taken a perfect alignment of stars for the Eagles to get a playoff opportunity, but now that the Birds are in, they'll make the most of it. Jim Johnson's defensive scheme will limit Adrian Peterson and force inexperienced quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to make plays. Mistakes will happen. A couple of turnovers lead to Eagles points and a victory.