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September 14, 2022

Week 2 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Vikings

The Eagles are coming home to the Linc for Week 2 but go in with a strange amount of concern and uncertainty for a team that's 1-0 to begin the season. 

Despite putting 38 points on the board last week, they did also give up 35 to a Detroit team that, though improved, is still generally considered pretty weak by comparison, leading to pressure on the defense and coordinator Jonathan Gannon

Can the Eagles clean up the problem areas and be ready to go for a Minnesota Vikings team coming off a dominant opener against Green Bay?

Let's see what everyone thinks...

• PhillyVoice: Our writers are split here, but ultimately it comes down to how confident you are in Jonathan Gannon's defense being able to stop Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. For a few of us, it just isn't there after Week 1.Editor Evan Macy writes:

This is a strategic choice to be a loss for the Eagles. First off, the defense looked bad against the Lions, and I have very little faith they will have better success slowing down Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson. I also think the Eagles are not quite good enough to be 17-0 this season, and looking at their schedule with fresh eyes after Week 1... I honestly don't know if they have a better team on the schedule than the Vikings.

Maybe the Colts in Week 11? Maybe the Packers in Week 12? Maybe the Saints in Week 17? 

The schedule looks even weaker than it did before, and Minnesota could be their first real test for a while if Dak Prescott misses the Cowboys game in a few weeks. I expect the Vikings to win in a shootout and then the Eagles to win a bunch of games in a row shortly after. [PhillyVoice]

• It can go either way for the Inquirer beats too, though two of three did pick the Eagles. Jeff McLane writes:

I think this is a toss-up game. Cousins may not always dazzle, but he doesn’t make many stupid mistakes. He’ll take sacks rather than force throws, so it’s imperative that the Eagles generate a more consistent pass rush. Gannon has yet to deliver an above average performance against a quality offense, so there is genuine reason to wonder how he’ll be able to contain a Vikings team with multiple studs. But the Eagles offense will pose its problems and Monday night could turn into a shootout. I picked the Vikings in my preseason predictions, so I’m sticking with them after getting the opener against the Lions correct, but I don’t feel very strong about it. [The Inquirer]

• Bleeding Green Nation: Four of six BGN writers are taking the Birds.

• The Athletic: Senior writer Vic Tafur is going with the Eagles. Jalen Hurts will be the X-factor, plus he sees a deceptive spread because of how both teams' first games played out.

Two teams I am high on face off against each other. So I will pass …

Can’t do that? Well, Justin Jefferson is serious about giving Davante Adams a run at this best-receiver title, and I think Kirk Cousins will have a lot more success off play action against the Eagles than Goff did last week. (Cousins was 10-of-13 for 155 yards and two TDs against the Packers, while Goff was 6-of-11 for 70 yards against the Eagles.)

But given the apparent ease with which the Vikings beat the Packers, plus how the Eagles blew a huge lead against the Lions, there might be some line value here. The Eagles at home maybe should be favored by 4 or 4.5.

They, after all, have the X-factor in Jalen Hurts. Hurts’ 17 rushes vs. the Lions were the second-most of his career, and his success rate as a runner in that game (64.7 percent) was the seventh-highest of his career. (Of the six games in which he posted a higher success rate as a runner, he never logged more than 10 rushes.) And the Vikings … dating back to the start of last season, they rank 27th in defensive EPA/snap vs. QB runs.

The pick: Eagles (-2) [The Athletic]

MORE: Eagles vs. Vikings: Predictions, betting odds and more for Week 2

• Gregg Rosenthal, Eagles 30, Vikings 27. A close one, but once again, Hurts' creativity under pressure could be the difference here. 

The Eagles’ defense was less than the sum of its parts in Detroit, which could be a problem against a Vikings offense that isn’t just running Sean McVay’s old playbook. Kevin O’Connell did a great job blending schemes he’s worked in and finding ways to get Justin Jefferson open against the Packers. Minnesota's defensive line faces a much tougher test here; Jalen Hurts’ ability to create when pressured could be the difference. Hurts is set to have one of the best rushing seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. []

• ESPN: Seven of 10 analysts are going with the Eagles on Monday night. 

 Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: An offensive shootout here, but one the Eagles ultimately win out. 

This is one of the best games of the week, with two 1-0 teams coming off impressive victories. The Minnesota defense was outstanding last week against the Packers, but this is a different style of offense. The Eagles will roll to a lot of points here, but the Vikings will get theirs too. This will be a shootout with the Eagles getting the best of it. [CBS Sports]
Pick: Eagles 32, Vikings 26

• ProFootballTalk: It's a split over at PFT. Michael David Smith likes the Vikings. Mike Florio likes the Eagles. 

MDS’s take: Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown looked like the two best receivers in football in Week One, and I think they’ll both have big games in Week Two. A late Jefferson touchdown wins it for the road team.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: The Vikings are improved, but beating Philly in their home opener is too much to expect this early in the season.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Vikings 21. [PFT]

• USA TODAY Sports: Picking against the 2.5-point spread, USA Today's writers are leaning Eagles save for one exception

[Prince J. Grimes]: Eagles

I’ll take the Eagles by a field goal. It’ll be a close game, but Philadelphia has the better defense.

[Blake Schuster]: Eagles

I’m with Prince. The Vikings are due to come back to Earth a little bit this week.

[Caroline Darney]: Vikings

I will allow myself to be swayed by the Vikes’ Week 1 performance. Philly has a good defense, but I think it’ll be a late push by Minnesota.

[Charles Curtis]: Eagles

Philly at home in a game with lots of points? Eagles by a field goal. [USA Today]

MORE: All of Jimmy Kempski's Week 2 NFL picks

• Bleacher Report: B/R's panel of seven writers is leaning toward Minnesota with five picks going in favor of the Vikings winning 28-26.

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Kapadia is leaning Vikings this week too. The Eagles won their first game but looked way too sloppy doing it. That's not gonna fly against Minnesota, which efficiently dismantled Green Bay.

Last week’s performance was pretty much ideal for Eagles fans. The team won, but they still had plenty to complain about. The offense went up and down the field, piling up 27 first downs and 455 yards against the Lions. But the defense was a disaster, allowing the Lions to score touchdowns on four of their final five possessions.

The Vikings looked like one of the NFL’s best-coached teams in Kevin O’Connell’s debut. They schemed up explosive plays for wide receiver Justin Jefferson, and their defensive performance was encouraging. If last week was any indication, the Vikings defense will play a lot of zone and mix up their fronts to make life hard for opposing quarterbacks.

This is a toss-up game, but the bottom line is I have very little faith in the Eagles defense after what we saw last week.

The pick: Vikings (+1.5) [The Ringer]

• Bill Bender, Sporting News: Bender has the Vikings to win. 

This is a legit Monday Night Football matchup between two teams trying to shake up the NFC playoff picture. Justin Jefferson (184 yards) and A.J. Brown (155 yards) had the best receiving outputs in Week 1. Ultimately, the Vikings pass rush will irritate Jalen Hurts enough to force a few turnovers, and Kirk Cousins continues to thrive in first-year coach Kevin O'Connell's offense. 

Pick: Vikings 27, Eagles 22 [Sporting News]

• Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: And Iyer with Minnesota covering the 1.5-point spread. 

The Vikings unleashed Justin Jefferson in their new offense against the Packers and also supported him well with Dalvin Cook. They also found some newfound energy with their 3-4 defense to stifle Green Bay. The Eagles got rolling with A.J. Brown and Miles Sanders around Jalen Hurts in Detroit. In this high-scoring affair, it comes down to who can run better, backed by big pass plays. Trust in Minnesota's defense a little more than Philadelphia's.

Vikings win 31-27. [Sporting News]

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