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summer. The long-hitt
10-08-2018 03:34 AM
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summer. The long-hitt
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Premi :



Matchups for the NFC championship game Sunday between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles:



When the Vikings (14-3) have the ball

Watch out for Stefon Diggs (14) on a desperation pass!

Seriously http://www.saintsauthorizedshops.com/aut...ard-jersey , Vikings receivers are more dangerous than given credit for. Indeed, that’s also true for Philadelphia’s wideouts.

Diggs, breakout star Adam Thielen (19), Jarius Wright (17) and even journeyman Michael Floyd (18) can make plays, though the big confrontations will be Thielen and Diggs against CBs Jalen Mills (31) and Ronald Darby (41). These matchups favor QB Case Keenum (7), who has gone from undistinguished fill-in to standout clutch passer.

The passing game will be a key for the Vikings, who will want to get TE Kyle Rudolph (82) involved early. Although the Vikes rank seventh in rushing yardage gained this season – Latavius Murray (25) led the way with 842 yards and eight touchdowns, and was backed by Jerick McKinnon (21) – the Eagles, led by DT Fletcher Cox (91) on a solid front seven, were stingiest against the ground game.

If DLs Cox, Brandon Graham (55), rookie Derek Barnett (96), Chris Long (56) and some of the linebackers can win against an offensive line filled mostly with castoffs – but an efficient enough unit to help Minnesota’s offense score 40 touchdowns – Keenum will need to improvise.

Of course http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/a...son-jersey , he’s shown he’s pretty good at that.



When the Eagles (14-3) have the ball:

The Vikings have the NFL’s top-ranked defense overall, with splits of second against the rush and the pass. It is led by cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) and safety Harrison Smith (22), both All-Pros, and a terrific line featuring ends Everson Griffen (97) and Danielle Hunter (99). Few teams have a better linebacking group, with Anthony Barr (55) the main playmaker.

Philly’s challenges include protecting QB Nick Foles (9), who’s not nearly as creative or elusive as Carson Wentz was. Foles needs time to connect with the likes of WRs Alshon Jeffery (17), Nelson Agholor (13) and Torrey Smith (82) and TE Zach Ertz (86). Ertz’s matchups with Barr or Smith could be decisive.

The Eagles have a deep backfield, though the way they use Jay Ajayi (36), LeGarrette Blount (29) and Corey Clement (30) can be confounding.

If they get room to run, it will be because All-Pros center Jason Kelce (62) and RT Lane Johnson (65) won against that impressive D-line on the other side.

Foles comes off a strong performance that should silence the doubters. He also is facing a better defense – the best D – this week.



Special Teams

Kai Forbath (2) has missed 8 of 55 extra points in 24 games with Minnesota. After going 15 for 15 on field goals in 2016, he fell off in 2017 by converting 32 of 38. But Forbath went 3 for 3 in single-digit temperatures at Green Bay on Dec. 23, including a 49-yarder. In the divisional-round win at home over New Orleans, he went 3 for 4 Rashaad Penny Color Rush Jersey , including the go-ahead 53-yard kick with 1:23 left.

Marcus Sherels (35) is one of the smallest players in the NFL, but one of the most accomplished punt returners with five touchdowns over the past six seasons. He ranked seventh with an average of 9.5 yards in 2017.

Ryan Quigley (4) finished his first regular season with the Vikings without a touchback, just the second punter to do so in a full season since the NFL began tracking the statistic in 1991.

The player to watch the most is long snapper Jeff Overbaugh (44), who became an emergency replacement after Kevin McDermott hurt his shoulder at Green Bay.

Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott (4) set a postseason club record with a 53-yard field goal last week, but he missed his fourth extra point in 43 tries this season. Elliott is 6 of 7 from 50 or more yards, including a 61-yarder.

P Donnie Jones (8) ranked 17th in net average and Kenjon Barner (38) filled in nicely after Darren Sproles (43) was injured. Barner’s best return went for 76 yards.

Coverage units are solid despite losing special-teams captain Chris Maragos



Coaching

Two longtime assistants who have had impressive success in charge.

Mike Zimmer achieved plenty as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, but often was passed over for head coach openings. That changed in 2014 when the Wilf family turned to Zimmer, whose upfront style has been refreshing in the Twin Cities. He is 40-26.

In Pat Shurmur (offense) and George Edwards (defense), he has two top coordinators. Shurmur, a former head coach in Cleveland, has been on several team’s radars for such openings this month.

Former NFL QB Doug Pederson was a loyal assistant for Andy Reid, and he’s got Reid’s former team back in contention for the big game. Pederson’s best skill might be finding the right players for each situation.

He’s 21-12, and he got the Eagles this far despite losing MVP contender QB Carson Wentz in December.

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich also has plugged in plenty of players – including Foles – and prospered. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz could be headed for another head coaching opportunity.



Intangibles

Neither team has won a Super Bowl. The Vikings haven’t even been to one since their fourth loss in as many tries Taven Bryan Color Rush Jersey , in the 1977 game. No member of the current team was born then.

Minnesota’s incentive is enhanced by the chance to become the first franchise to host the big game in its stadium. Don’t underestimate that kind of motivation.

And don’t overlook the impetus the Eagles are getting from

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or 877-836-9477. For reruns, call the Service Desk 800-838-4616 or your local AP bureau.

As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.

All times are Eastern.



MONDAY, April 9

SOC–JOHN LEICESTER-DESCHAMPS’ DILEMMA

PARIS – If football was a mere financial equation, a simple matter of assembling the game’s most valuable players, France coach Didier Deschamps might already be dreaming of having one hand on the World Cup. The squad he will take to the tournament in Russia will, on paper at least, be worth a fortune, packed as it is with eye-wateringly expensive young stars. But it is short an ingredient that France had in abundance when Deschamps captained Les Bleus to World Cup victory in 1998: the maturity and experience that enables players to cope under football’s brightest spotlight when things get tough. ”To react well Oren Burks Color Rush Jersey ,” he tells The Associated Press, ”you have to been through it before.” By Sports Columnist John Leicester. 800 words. UPCOMING, photos, online video.

—-

TUESDAY, April 10

HKN–PLAYOFF PRIMER-NEED FOR SPEED

NHL executives, coaches and players are quick to say the game is played faster than ever. Technology is available to track how fast players are skating, how hard they’re shooting and how quickly they’re getting the puck from end to end. ”That’s the next wave,” Vegas general manager George McPhee acknowledged. As the expansion team prepares for the playoffs, McPhee was not interested in sharing any secrets. ”I don’t tell people what we do,” McPhee said. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.



WEDNESDAY, April 11

GLF–GRAYBEARD COLLEGIAN

BELLEVUE, Neb. – Bellevue Univİmageersity golf coach Rob Brown knew he wanted Don Byers on his team the first time he met him last summer. The long-hitting freshman has game http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/au...lee-jersey , and the lifelong Nebraskan fits right in on a team made up mostly of Latin Americans. Byers also happens to be a 61-year-old grandfather. By Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 800 words, with photos and video.



Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports
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