October 09, 2019
On Sunday, the Eagles will take the field in Minnesota looking to pick up their third straight win and improve to 4-2 on the season after a surprising 1-2 start. And over the last few seasons, these two teams (and fanbases) have become quite familiar with one another.
Since 1980, the Eagles are 14-7 against the Vikings, including 4-0 in the playoffs. And that's where this rivalry has really heated up in recent years. After the Eagles routed the Vikings, 38-7, in the NFC Championship Game in January of 2018 — and Vikings fans watched in horror as Eagles fans flaunted that win right in their sad faces — they then went on to win the Super Bowl in Minnesota's brand new stadium and they had to deal with partying Eagles fans all over again.
In fact, there was a run there where you could say the Eagles "owned the Vikings' souls," as our own Jimmy Kempski put it.
But that changed slightly last fall, when the Vikings returned to Philly with revenge on their minds. And they got it, with a 23-21 win over the Eagles. But even then, it was 9-7 Eagles edging out the 8-7-1 Vikings for the final NFC wild card spot last season, so once again, the Birds got the final laugh.
On Sunday, these two teams will face off again in a game that could have big playoff implications down the line should the Eagles and Vikings find themselves once again competing for a playoff spot. Here's everything you need to know for this weekend, including how our writers see the game playing out...
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Vikings (-3) | TOTAL: 44.0 (via Bovada)
When I look at these two teams, I see a pair of strength-on-strength matchups that should cancel each other out:
I see one matchup that should significantly favor the Vikings:
And one that should significantly favor the Eagles:
I believe it will be easier for the Eagles to help their corners than it will be for the Vikings to help the interior of their offensive line, which has been truly abysmal at times this season. Give me the Eagles, with a breakout performance from Fletcher Cox.
This feels to me like another game where the Eagles start slow, make it a game midway through and perhaps even grab a lead toward the end. And then they'll need to rely on their secondary to handle Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Expecting the first four games (before the Jets game) to just be a mirage at this point is ridiculous, as the team obviously is what it's going to be at this point.
I think the Eagles offense struggles without DeSean Jackson again and the first team to 20 points wins it. With almost no confidence whatsoever, I am picking the Eagles thanks to what I predict will be a potent pass rush and a defensive touchdown. I also expect them to control the clock with the run game. They'll keep pace with the Cowboys for first in the NFC East but by a hair.
To be honest, I haven't watched a ton of the Vikings this season, but I have watched plenty of Kirk Cousins over the years, enough to know that he's actually been pretty good against the Birds. In eight career regular season games, Cousins is 5-3 against Philly with 17 touchdowns to just five interceptions — and he's never thrown more than one in a game vs. the Eagles. And with the Eagles boasting one of the best, if the not the best, run defenses in the league, Cousins could be the difference in this one.
If the Eagles are able to contain Dalvin Cook, it will force the Vikings to try to score through the air, and that could be trouble if the Birds' decimated secondary isn't up for the challenges that comes with trying to stop Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. That duo gave the Eagles tons of issues last season as they combined for 17 catches, 205 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' 23-21 win.
Beyond their issues at cornerback, there's another factor working against the Birds: the Vikings boast a Top 5 defense in the NFL. That means that while the Eagles were simply able to outscore their opponents in previous wins, like they did against Washington and Green Bay, that likely won't be the case on Sunday. I think the Eagles are the better team. But with no DeSean Jackson to stretch the field and keep the Vikings defense honest, and without several of their top secondary pieces to keep the Diggs and Thielen in check, it's going to be tough to leave Minnesota with a win.
I think the Eagles go 1-1 over their next two games, so a loss on Sunday just means a win over the Cowboys the following week. At least that's the hope.
I don’t always like using betting lines as indicators, but from where we sit today, most of Vegas has settled in around Vikings -3. That’s a standard home team bump declaring the game even, which feels fair for a pair of teams that have been up and down this year.
The reason I feel good about this one for Philadelphia is that they should be able to stop, or at least slow down Dalvin Cook, setting up a scenario where Kirk Cousins will have to beat them. He had a bounce-back performance last week, but I generally don’t trust him to play well against any good team on the schedule.
Vikings fans are going to be fired up for this one, and as the DeSean Jackson injury situation drags on, I don’t feel wonderful about the state of the passing game. But I think they can grab a win here.
I'm not a believer in the Eagles' secondary. I know last week that they shut down the Jets' dangerous Luke Falk, who won't be confused with the next Tom Brady any time soon. Kirk Cousins is a real NFL quarterback who has a very potent core of weapons at his disposal. The Eagles needed two defensive TDs to reach 31 against a horrible Jets team. The offense has not looked good at all. I see the Vikings getting out big and the Eagles playing catch-up, coming up just short of tying it late.
The Eagles' three-game away string gets off to a bad start.
This is going to be a close one! Despite Kirk Cousins looking rather sharp this year, the Vikings pass protection has been one of their weaknesses. As long as the defense pressures anywhere close to the way they did last week against the Jets, he should be easily containable. The Eagles have also bested their opponents on the run this year as well, so Dalvin Cook should not be as much as a threat as he has been against the other teams the Vikings have faced. The Birds have scored at least 20 points in every game, so I expect this one to be similar.
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