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Vikings fans, repeat after Tice: Go Eagles; E-A-G-L-E-S

  • Blog Post by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson
  • January 9, 2010 - 9:30 AM

Whether he is at Chili's enjoying chips and salsa or at his western suburbs home enjoying a vodka the size of Judd Zulgad's head, Vikings coach Brad Childress will presumably be locked in on Saturday night on the Eagles-Cowboys first-round matchup.

While doing so, he needs to adopt former coach Mike Tice's one-time mantra: Go Eagles; E-A-G-L-E-S!

Why? Dallas is the worst possible opponent for the Vikings.

Quarterback Tony Romo's first two playoff games -- both losses -- would be an afterthought and he is the type of signal-caller that can give the Vikings fits. 

Romo established team records this season for passing yards (4,483), attempts (550), completions (347) and 300-yard games (eight) to go with 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He has at least one touchdown pass in 12 straight games. The Eagles don't allow 300-yard passers very often; Romo did it in both regular season meetings. In the year of the quarterback, he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Manning, Favre, Rivers, Brees, and Rodgers.

After breaking down film of Dallas' 24-0 win over Philadelphia in Week 17, NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said of Romo: "He's in a zone right now." Even with Rodgers' brilliance and Brees' skill-set, Romo is the quarterback the Vikings least want to see the rest of the way. He has 11 touchdown passes and only two interceptions in the last six games.

The recipe to scoring on the Vikings: Three-step drops with quick-strikes, which Romo pulls off as well as anyone in the NFL. Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will have to take his mind off the Buffalo Bills head coaching job long enough to game plan for such occurrences. That won't be a problem, but his safeties will.

Tight end Jason Witten, on his way to his sixth straight Pro Bowl, is very capable of causing headaches. He could easily do what Green Bay's Jermichael Finley (6-120-2 TDs) or San Francisco's Vernon Davis (7-96-2 TDs) did versus the Vikings. According to footballoutsiders.com, the Vikings are the 9th-worst team defending tight ends in the NFL.

They have a top-five offensive line, running backs that can block, and a wide receiver, Miles Austin, that plays all over the field, which could isolate Antoine Winfield or Benny Sapp. According to Winfield, his right foot won't be 100 percent until the off-season. Dallas' offense would be a good bet to put at least 24 points on the board against the Vikings.

Its defense has the best duo at getting to the quarterback of any remaing team. Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer recorded 17 tackles, four sacks, five pressures, one pass breakup and one forced fumble in the last three games. The other outside linebacker, DeMarcus Ware, strikes fear into opposing left tackles like no other. Bryant McKinnie would need constant help from a tight end or running back, which oftentimes would mean one less receiving option.

Dallas' 3-4 defense could replicate what Pittsburgh did on October 25. Be grateful the potential tussle won't take place on grass.

They even have a kickoff specialist -- David Buehler -- who can render Percy Harvin useless. Buehler led the NFL with 29 touchbacks.

FInally, should the Cowboys beat the Eagles, their coach Wade Phillips would no longer be worrying about his job security or his inability to win a postseason game (0-4). Same goes for Romo on the latter. They would instantly become loosey-goosey.

In contrast, under coach Andy Reid, the Eagles have advanced past their first playoff game every time (7-0).

For the Vikings' best chances to win their first playoff game since the 2004 season, they should hope for that trend to continue.

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