Two NFC heavyweights go at it Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.
This is a rematch of the NFC Championship game a season ago, a matchup that saw the Eagles win 38-7. The Vikings are 1-2-1 on the season, coming off a 38-31 loss on Thursday night to the Rams. The Vikings previously tied the Packers 29-29, and were blown out by the Bills 27-6 week 3.
The Eagles are 2-2, and coming off a 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans. In week 2, the Eagles lost to the Buccaneers 28-20, and beat the Colts 20-16 in week 3. The Eagles are -3 for this game, at home over the Vikings.
The Vikings went into LA, after getting hammered by the Bills, on a short week, and put on a clinic offensively against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Kirk Cousins was electric, putting up 422 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Cousins has been sensational this season amidst a crumbling offensive line. On the season, he has tallied 1387 yards while averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. Cousins currently owns a 10 to 2 touchdown to interception ratio, and has been largely carrying the Vikings offense.
The Vikings offensive line has given up an alarming 91 pressures through 4 games, and Cousins has been sacked 13 times. The Vikings run game has also struggled mightily, and as a team have 61 carries for just 191 yards, good for 3.1 yards per carry. The defense was highly touted coming into the season, but has been unspectacular thus far. They were absolutely torched last week by Jared Goff for 465 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air, and on the season have 5 players who have allowed 100 yards or more into their coverage.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
EDGE Everson Griffen (personal) – out, CB Trae Waynes (concussion) – questionable
After his much anticipated return last week, Carson Wentz was asked to do a lot in the loss against Tennessee. Although Philly led the majority of the game, Wentz still threw the ball 50 times, completing 33 for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Eagles offense was hampered by wide receiver struggles all day. They struggled with drops, mistiming on routes, and fumbles.
After being such a dominant unit a season ago, the offensive line has not lived up to their play from last year. Wentz was hit 11 times against the Titans, getting sacked 4 times. The run game has been very much by committee, with 3 backs having over 20 carries this season. Jay Ajayi has led the way, albeit dealing with injuries, but has put up 155 yards on 37 carries.
The defensive front has continued it’s dominance from a season ago, but the coverage unit has struggled. Coming into the matchup against the Titans, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby had been picked on in particular, allowing 409 yards on 34 receptions.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
S Rodney McLeod (knee)- placed on IR, RB Corey Clement (quad)- DNP Sunday. questionable
Matchups to Watch
Vikings WRs Stefon Diggs & Adam Thielen vs Eagles CBs Ronald Darby & Jalen Mills
Vikings iOL vs Eagles DT Fletcher Cox
Eagles TEs vs Vikings S/LBs
Eagles LT Jason Peters vs Vikings EDGE Danielle Hunter
Well neither teams coverage units have been all that impressive this season, after such dominant performances a season ago. However, the Eagles defensive front should feast on the Vikings struggling O-line.
Cousins has shown all season that pressure isn’t enough to slow him down, and his wide receiver duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have consistently beaten coverages and created yards after the catch.
The Philly front 4 should still create havoc, and if they cant get to Cousins a few times and create some turnovers, well…we saw how that turned out (see: Buffalo Bills). Minnesota’s run game has been nonexistent thus far, and I don’t expect it to play too much of a role in this contest.
The Rams were able to create huge chunk plays all game against the Vikes D, and Doug Pederson will have his play action game ramped up. Now that Jay Ajayi is healthy, it makes Minnesota unable to sit back and hope to get to Carson Wentz. Without Everson Griffen, the Vikings need to figure out another way to manufacture pressure. Danielle Hunter has played well, but Mike Zimmer will need to dial up some of his famous double A-gap blitzes or switch blitzes to push the pocket against Wentz.
Look for the defending champions to win, and put the Vikings in a tough spot after Week 5. Take the Eagles -3 over the Vikings.