American Football: Eagles advance to fourth straight NFC championship game

Thanks to the best clutch performance of Freddie Mitchell's four-year career, the Philadelphia Eagles advanced to their fourth straight NFC championship game, routing the Minnesota Vikings 27-14 yesterday.

Donovan McNabb and the Eagles (14-3) got plenty of help from the self-destructing Vikings (9-9), who showed exactly how they lost seven of their last 10 regular-season games to back into the playoffs. Minnesota's high-powered offense couldn't handle defensive end Jevon Kearse and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter - neither of whom was with the Eagles last season.

Philadelphia, which has lost three consecutive conference title games, the last two at home, hosts Atlanta next Sunday. The angst level this week in Philly will be off the scale as the Eagles attempt to get to their first Super Bowl in 24 years.

The inept Vikings didn't exactly provide a test, but Michael Vick and the Falcons should be a more formidable hurdle. While Philadelphia was getting two touchdowns from Mitchell - and one takeoff of Moss' simulated mooning as Mitchell pretended to pull up his pants after his first score - it also benefited greatly from Vikings' errors.

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