The Eagles put it all together defensively in Saturday's 15-10 win over Atlanta, holding the Falcons to just 210 total net yards. It was a magnificent performance from start to finish, right? Well, not so fast says defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who isn't quick to go overboard for any reason.
"I think early on in that game, we weren't tackling very well. We were stopping our feet and sort of reaching and grabbing. There's an old adage that you tackle with your feet and you run through, and our guys were sort of stopping their feet," Schwartz said, laying down some knowledge. "I think some of that could probably be attributed to having an off week and going through what we went through and that's sort of the double-edged sword of getting some rest is sometimes you can get a little bit rusty on fundamentals like that.
"A little bit like a first preseason game, but after the first drive or two, we got back to personality. There were a couple big parts of that game: Third-down efficiency was really big. We really didn't care about yards. It was keeping points off the board and trying to get drives stopped, and we went through a good streak of getting drives stopped. Held them to some third-and-longs. That's a tough offense when it's third-down-and-3, third down-and-4. There's so many options, there's so many places they can go with the ball. They have good players at a lot of different positions. We forced some third down-and-long situations that had a lot to do with the final score in that game."
OK, so now it's time to move on.
Minnesota is playing with a backup quarterback who isn't playing like a backup quarterback in Case Keenum, and they don't have their home-run hitter at running back with rookie Dalvin Cook out for the year with an early-season knee injury but the Vikings sure are good on offense.
And Schwartz knows his defense has to be ready to play its best game to advance to Super BowlLII, starting its focus on Keenum.
"He's played outstanding at the quarterback position. They have a lot of good players around there, too," Schwartz said. "They have run the ball really well. They are a little bit - I made a big deal last week about if you combine the running back totals how it would be an All-Pro player. These guys aren't that far off it and they lost their potentially best running back in Dalvin Cook early in the season.
"I think they have done a good job on first and second down, that's taken them to third (down). (WR Adam) Thielen took a big jump to being a Pro Bowl player. (WR Stefon) Diggs, (TE Kyle) Rudolph, they roll about five deep at wide receiver. All those guys have a role, and the quarterback is a smart, veteran player that knows where to go with the ball and hasn't made a lot of mistakes."
In other words, there is a lot to prepare for. That's nothing new for Schwartz, who has had his defense playing at an extremely high level since the team returned to Lincoln Financial Field after a three-game road trip.
"We just try to prepare them for the game they are going to prepare on Sunday," Schwartz said. "Every game is a little bit different. How the opponent - trying to stay ahead of how the opponent is going to play us; what their strengths are, things like that."
The Eagles host Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game. Here are the key Vikings to watch.