The divisional rounds of the NFL playoffs are in the books, with the final four set. The No. 1-seeded Eagles will host the No. 2-seeded 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at 2:00 p.m. hosts the Bengals.
On paper, this is one of the most even Final 4s in recent history. Unusually, I don’t have a clear favorite. Currently, the spread in both conference title games is within 3 points of him.
The Eagles look like the most complete team in the NFL, but they’re putting up a tough fight against the 49ers’ elite defense and skill position arsenal. The Chiefs could have been the favorites had Patrick Mahomes not injured his ankle against the Jaguars on Saturday. The Bengals and an underrated defense led by Joe Burrow could easily see him return to the Super Bowl for the second time in a row.
All 4 teams are great. These are clearly the NFL’s four best teams, and I think even Bills and Cowboys fans would agree with that assessment. Hopefully he has two great matches this Sunday.
An angle of concern, or at least notable to Viking fans, is the Minnesota will face all four of these teams next seasonWith a tighter schedule in 2023, it will be very difficult for Kevin O’Connell’s team to return to a 13-4 record, even with significant progress in his second year as head coach.
If you win the division, you will get the 1st place schedule. The Vikings are set to play across the AFC West next season, which includes the Chiefs and Chargers, and will be the last two teams to play at U.S. Bank Stadium. Also facing the NFC South, he gets the #1 team from NFC East (Eagles), NFC West (49ers) and AFC North (Bengals).
The Chiefs and 49ers are coming to Minneapolis. The Vikings move on to face the Eagles and Bengals.
It can also be seen as a positive. Playing against these four teams gives us a good sense of how close the Vikings are to meeting his NFL elite class.
One thing is clear: it needs improvement. The Vikings he won 13-4, but with a negative points difference, he finished 27th in the DVOA. The defense needs to get better, highlighting the importance of Minnesota’s current defensive search for his coordinator. The offense needs to be more consistent despite putting up good numbers and showing dominant potential.
As you watch the final three games of this NFL postseason, remember that the Vikings will be testing their mettle against all these teams later this year.
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