Thanks to their 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons this past Saturday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the NFC title game for the first time since 2008. Doug Pederson’s club parlayed a big defensive effort against the defending conference champions and will now host the NFC Championship for the first time since 2004. So are these Birds truly Super Bowl bound? It won’t be easy considering the competition this weekend.

Back on track?

After a pair of shaky outings in a 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders and a 6-0 setback to the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles was under the gun a bit as the payoffs began.

After throwing four touchdown passes without an interception in a Week 15 victory over the New York Giants, the Birds’ current field general managed one score while being picked off twice in those games vs. Oakland and Dallas. And he and the Eagles looked nervous in the first half against the Falcons. Foles connected on 11-of-15 passes but for only 101 yards. He was sacked once and fumbled twice and his team trailed at intermission, 10-9.

But the former Pro Bowler would finish the game strong. In the final 30 minutes, he connected on 12-of-15 throws for 145 yards and helped the Eagles for the majority of the second half on the way to a 15-10 win.

This Sunday’s opposition

While it took a Case Keenum-to-Stefon Diggs 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game for the Minnesota Vikings to knock off quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this past weekend, Mike Zimmer’s club is a very worthy foe.

The Purple Gang is seeking to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. The last time the Vikings advanced this far in the postseason was 2009. It culminated with a 31-28 overtime loss to the Saints in the Superdome in the Nfc Championship Game. And the last time the franchise reached the “Big Game” was way back in 1976, when head coach Bud Grant and his club fell to the Oakland Raiders, 32-14, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Like that club, the emphasis was on defense. And the Philadelphia Eagles will be dealing with a team that allowed the fewest total yards and fewest yards in the league in 2017. Zimmer’s team also features an improved offensive unit led by quarterback Case Keenum and the NFL’s seventh-ranked running game. Of course, no team in the league has given up fewer yards rushing this season than the Birds. It makes for a very intriguing battle on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.