This time, it’s the teams in the NFC facing off. The day starts with a match-up between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, and ends with the Seattle Seahawks taking on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Players who are drafted by the Minnesota Vikings seem to stick with the team. Their top three rushers and top five receivers have all spent their entire careers in Minnesota. Of course, part of that may be due to youth: top running back Dalvin Cook is in his third year, while leading receiver Stefon Diggs is in his fifth season. But then there are veterans like wide receiver Adam Thielen (6 years) and Kyle Rudolph (9 seasons) who have stuck with the squad despite only three playoff appearances in the past decade.
On the other hand, Thielen noted that the New Orleans Saints have a similar situation: “They (the Saints defense) have a ton of veterans who have played a lot of football and have experience in the playoffs.”
Watch: Minnesota Vikings at the New Orleans Saints at 1:05 p.m. ET on Fox.
Seahawks look to flip script, remain successful on the road against Eagles
This season, the script is flipped: the Seahawks have relied heavily on road victories in their run to the playoffs. At the normally intimidating CenturyLink Field, Seattle went 4-4, buoyed by a 7-1 record on opposing teams’ turf. Luckily for the Seahawks, they’ve already won on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, a 17-9 victory in Week 12.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are looking to build off the momentum they ended the regular season with. In four straight games against division opponents, the Eagles went from a mediocre 5-7 to a respectable 9-7 with an NFC East division title. But just making the playoffs isn’t the end goal for a squad that won the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
For Eagles veteran defensive end Brandon Graham, blocking out the noise is nothing new. After being named captain for the playoffs, the Super Bowl champ said he was looking to help young players avoid the pitfalls of the postseason.
That mindset has led to a deep team bond among the Eagles, especially as injuries took their toll on the starting unit. Running back Boston Scott is living proof of its success. A practice squad player who was put on the active roster in October, Scott ended up scoring three touchdowns on the last day of the regular season to help clinch a division title for Philadelphia.
“We always talk to guys on the practice squad, let them know you’re part of the team, too,” Graham told reporters. “Your opportunity will come one day, just make sure you’re ready.” The Eagles hope their backups, not to mention their starters, are ready for the road-tested Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.
Watch: Seattle Seahawks at the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:40 p.m. ET on NBC