The Eagles' defense is playing with a lot of confidence right now. It has given up just 40 points in the last four games, including six in Sunday's 44-6 playoff-clinching dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys.
Since giving up 219 rushing yards in a loss to the New York Giants in early November, the Eagles have been tough against the run. In their last seven games, they've allowed just 77.8 yards per game on the ground and just 3.1 yards per carry.
They held the Cowboys to 87 yards on 19 carries Sunday, including 29 yards on 10 first-half attempts.
"We're playing really well defensively right now," defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "We're stopping the run, we're getting pressure on the quarterback and we're forcing turnovers."
The Eagles had five takeaways — four fumbles and an interception — against the Cowboys, bringing their season total to 29, which is 10 more than they had in 2007.
They converted those five turnovers into 31 points Sunday, including fumble returns for touchdowns by defensive end Chris Clemons (73 yards) and cornerback Joselio Hanson (96 yards).
"They drove down into the red zone, and our defense forced some turnovers and capitalized on them in a big way," coach Andy Reid said. "Any time you can score a couple of (defensive) touchdowns, that's a great thing. We kept playing hard and aggressive."
The Eagles faced Peterson and the Vikings last year. Johnson showed a tape of some of Peterson's better runs interspersed with clips from the movie "The Gladiator," the night before the game. They went out and held him to 70 yards on 20 carries in a 23-16 Eagles victory.
"Peterson is one of the best running backs in this league," Johnson said. "But we're playing pretty well right now. We'll see how it goes. You can't completely shut down a guy like that. You just try to keep him from gashing you with big runs."
Said middle linebacker Stewart Bradley: "We're a much more experienced defense now than we were earlier in the season. We've come into our own. We've been playing the kind of defense that we have the ability to play.
"We knew coming out of training camp that we were talented and there were going to be some growing pains and ups and downs along the way. But we're really hitting our stride right now. When everyone is playing at this high level, it makes it easy to play defense."
Quote: "This is the NFL. I'm proud of the guys, but we're not done yet. We got to the doorstep, but now we have to climb up the steps and get in." - Coach Andy Reid.
By the numbers: Opposing quarterbacks have a 54.1 completion percentage against the Eagles this season. That's the lowest completion mark by the Eagles' defense in the 10 years that Jim Johnson has been the team's defensive coordinator.