By DJ Sixsmith
Carson Wentz’s torn ACL changes everything in the NFC. Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles were a trendy to pick to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Now, many wonder if Philly can win a playoff game with Nick Foles at the helm. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings are trying to become the first team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl on their home field and the New Orleans Saints are looking to get back to the championship game for the first time since 2009.
There’s certainly a lot to talk about when it comes to the NFC playoff picture. CBS Local Sports caught up with Inside the NFL analyst and former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason to discuss the impact on Wentz’s injury on the Eagles, why he likes the Vikings and how Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers could dictate who represents the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Esiason, along with Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and James Brown break down this and other NFL storylines all season long each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime’s Inside The NFL.
CBS Local Sports: What will be the biggest ripple effect of the Carson Wentz knee injury?
Boomer Esiason: The biggest ripple effect will be the opportunities now for other teams in the NFC to make the Super Bowl. I’m sure the Saints and the Vikings already felt like they could get there, even if Carson Wentz was healthy. Now all of the sudden, you are taking out a big portion of the Eagles offense. He’s a guy that made so many plays on his own, much like Russell Wilson has been doing week in and week out. You’re replacing him with a statue of a backup quarterback in Nick Foles, who’s a good player, but now the other 52 guys on that roster all have to raise up and support their backup quarterback. If I were in the NFC right now, I’d be licking my chops thinking that I could get to the Super Bowl.
CBS Local Sports: The Seahawks and Paackers are both hanging around at the bottom of the NFC playoff picture. Which team has a better chance to make a late season run?
Boomer Esiason: I think the Seahawks are probably going to make it. I still feel that even though they lost to Jacksonville this past weekend, that’s not that big of a loss simply because it is an AFC loss. In the NFC, you want to win your NFC games. That’s why Atlanta is where they are now in the sixth spot because most of their losses come from the AFC. Teams like the Saints and the Vikings and the Seahawks have rough and physical defenses, they have quarterbacks that can make plays and they all have to feel that the door is now open for us to get to Super Bowl 52. Especially the Vikings, who have played really well, have a tremendous defense and that defense can win on the road. If they have a home game leading into Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis, that would be incredible.
CBS Local Sports: Who is a dark horse team to make to the Super Bowl from the NFC?
Boomer Esiason: I would say Carolina. They’ve been there and they know what’s going on, just like Atlanta. One of those two teams out of the NFC South can still make a lot of trouble for everybody else. Those are thr dark horse teams. The Saints are not a dark horse team because they’ve been there all year long. I have a feeling that the Vikings are going to be one of those teams in the NFC championship game.