September 14, 2023
The Eagles are preparing to host the Vikings on Thursday Night Football in South Philadelphia. Ahead of that matchup, here are five over/unders for the big prime-time game, including numbers for Kirk Cousins, Jalen Carter and more...
(lines are my own creation unless noted)
On Wednesday, I dove into the "Kirk Cousins sucks in prime time" agenda and concluded that it's mostly true. Why? He turns the ball over more. In Minnesota's Week 2 Monday Night Football trip to South Philly in 2022, Cousins threw three picks and the Vikings scored just seven points.
It'll be hard for Darius Slay to replicate his two-interception performance that night when he also completely shut down Justin Jefferson. I'll say Cousins throws just one pick. Second-year pro Josh Jobe ,likely making his first career start in place of an injured James Bradberry, will nab it for his first career pick.
line via DraftKings Sportbook
Dallas Goedert, notably, did not have a catch in the Eagles' Week 1 win. The sixth-year tight end only had one target and he came on an errant throw from Jalen Hurts. It feels on brand for Nick Sirianni to swiftly rectify that and feed Goedert early against Minnesota. A similar scenario played out in 2022 where DeVonta Smith had zero catches in Week 1 before being targeted seven times for seven catches in Week 2.
Bill Belichick did a great job making Jalen Hurts uncomfortable and taking away some of his bread-and-butter middle-of-the-field throws in Foxboro. Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores is a Belichick disciple, but the last two decades of NFL coaching have showcased that the apple does in fact fall from the coaching tree.
The Sirianni-Brian Johnson-Alex Tanney nucleus will be prepared for that challenge. I'll predict a six-catch, 58-yard night for Goedert. That'll make fantasy managers rejoice.
Jalen Carter looks primed to immediately be a star in the NFL. In his first pro game, Carter had seven pressures in Week 1, more than any other defensive tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus. That's not among rookie DTs. Carter bested defensive tackle, period.
Carter feasted against a banged-up Patriots offensive line down to some backups. The Vikings' o-line is similarly in flux. Minnesota center Garrett Bradbury has been ruled out with a back injury. Austin Schlottmann is the Vikings' backup center. Schlottmann, 27, went undrafted out of TCU in 2018 and has just 11 career starts to his name. Carter is a fresh face in this league, but he's already got the goods. It'd be a rough day Schlottmann.
In the hopes of not being overly optimistic and claiming that Carter is already an elite defensive tackle, I'll go slightly under here and say he finishes with "just" five pressures.
line via DraftKings Sportsbook
In Week 1, the Patriots targeted tight ends Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki a total of nine times. They combined for eight catches, 92 yards and a touchdown against the Birds. T.J. Hockenson is hanging around top-five tight end status in the NFL and facing an Eagles defense susceptible to throws over the middle. The Eagles were already rail thin at linebacker before Nakobe Dean was placed on injured reserve, missing at least the next up. They're also light at safety and Reed Blankenship's rib injury only makes things more dicey there.
I'm going on record with an Eagles victory, but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if Hockenson had a touchdown or two and put up 60-70 receiving yards.
I was in attendance at Gillette Stadium, but I was told the CBS broadcast did not mention Nick Foles during the Eagles-Patriots game. I wondered if that would happen in last week's over/unders column. Cowards! The Eagles, in case you've been living under a rock for six years, thrashed the Vikings 38-7 during the 2017 NFC Championship Game, an iconic moment in the Birds' Super Bowl run.
It would be a disservice not to do a quick cut to that game, but with the vast majority of players from that postseason matchup gone, I don't think it'll be brought during the Prime Video broadcast.
That's a shame.
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