They also have a better chance of matching the coaching of Doug Pederson and his coordinators (with Mike Zimmer and his), than the group last week that included Steve Sarkisian.
There are concerns about his effort and he’s been suspended multiple times already, but if he wants to try, he’s the missing piece on the Jaguars defensive line. Jacksonville just ended the argument on who the best defense in the NFL is, now they’ll find out if it’s good enough to carry them to a Super Bowl.
Falk, the Pac-12’s all-time passing leader, has the ideal size for a pocket-passer and makes plays with defenders in his face. He can complete throws while taking hits, but also demonstrates great pocket footwork by avoiding rushers or stepping up in the pocket to find open throwing lanes. His awareness to get rid of the ball is sometimes a concern, and he has often seemed confused by disguised coverages.
Falk has average arm strength, good trajectory to fit the ball in tight windows and can drive to the middle of field, but he needs air under his ball on the outside-intermediate to deep routes. Falk is mentally tough, but makes bad decisions when pressing. He needs improvement in several areas, but everything seems fixable. He likely won’t dominate practice, but NFL teams expect him to show his mental process in interviews.
In a close game, it’s bound to come down to someone getting a key takeaway on defense and/or a critical special team play. The Vikings will be in better position to do just that, and they will return home for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
David Steele: How much does emotion and momentum carry over from week to week, including during the playoffs? And if they do, what happens when both teams are riding an adrenaline rocket into their meeting?
It might be smarter to push aside the dramatic endings of the Eagles’ and Vikings’ divisional-round wins last week and dive into the 58 minutes or so that preceded them.
That came after Pence left a game between the 49ers and Colts in Indianapolis earlier Sunday, citing player protests during the anthem. Trump tweeted that he’d directed Pence to do just that if such protests occurred. Pence’s early exit came on a day when the Colts were honoring their former great quarterback, Peyton Manning.