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October 12, 2019

Week 6 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Vikings

The Eagles and Vikings find themselves both at 3-2 and seemingly evenly matched heading into Sunday's Week 6 tilt in Minneapolis.

We've broken down the injuries, given you some matchups to watch and offered our own predictions for Eagles vs. Vikings. Now, as we do every week, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how various experts, both local and national, see Sunday night's matchup playing out.

• PhillyVoice staff: Four of our six writers picked the Eagles to win this one, with Matt Mullin and Joe Santoliquito going rogue and predicting Minnesota to prevail Sunday. Here's what Joe wrote:

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. 

• ESPN staff: In a completely even split, the 10 ESPN experts went five for Philly and five for Minny.

• Tim McManus, Vikings 26, Eagles 24

• Rich Cimini, Vikings 30, Eagles 28

• Gregg Rosenthal, Eagles 20, Vikings 17

What a delicious matchup of two would-be NFC Super Bowl contenders that know their path grows even more brutal if they lose Sunday. The Vikings will have to call plays against type offensively because the best way to beat the Eagles' defense is to throw over the top while using the running game as a side dish. Minnesota's coaches displayed the confidence to pull off that strategy against the Giants last week, but will they show the same faith in Kirk Cousins against a slowly awakening Philly pass rush? There are fewer questions about the Eagles, who are growing healthier and more like the team everyone expected them to be.

• staff: Eight experts made picks over at CBS, with five going the Eagles way. Pete Prisco took the Eagles. Here's why:

Is this a big game? It seems like it. That's not good news for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings and Cousins impressed last week against the Giants, but not this week. The Eagles have found themselves and they are getting right. That continues here. Eagles win in an upset.

MORE: Eagles vs. Vikings: Predictions, betting odds and broadcast info for Week 6

• OddsSharkOddshark seems to be very much in favor of the Vikings this week, with their projection in favor of Minnesota by a pretty one-sided score of 27.5 to 13.8

• Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Vikings 27, Eagles 21

The up-and-down Vikings should be up again this week, since they’re playing at home. And since the game isn’t in prime time.

 Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 20, Vikings 10

This feels like a game that we might look back on in December and say it changed the NFC playoff race. I don’t trust Kirk Cousins to have two good games in a row.

• Bleacher Report, NFL staffEagles 24, Vikings 21

At this point, it's hard to justify picking Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings in a big game against a winning opponent, especially when they're laying points. 

Cousins is 4-27 in his career against teams with a winning record. And after defeating the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets in Weeks 4 and 5, the Philadelphia Eagles have themselves a winning record. With that in mind, our entire group of analysts expects Philadelphia to cover a three-point spread and win outright Sunday at the site in which they won Super Bowl LII. 

"This pick is less an endorsement of Philadelphia than an indictment of Minnesota," Davenport said. "I don't buy that the Vikings passing game is suddenly all puppies and rainbows because it lit up a terrible New York Giants secondary. The Eagles are better at throwing the ball, and it's going to take throwing the ball to win this game. The Eagles will do so outright, at which point we'll have another week of infighting and drama to look forward to in Minnesota." 

The Vikings were indeed productive through the air in New Jersey, but they've been comically inconsistent in the passing game the last couple of years, and it's clear they want to win by pounding the rock. Unfortunately for them, the Fletcher Cox-led Eagles have a run defense that ranks fourth in DVOA. 

This'll be Dalvin Cook's biggest challenge yet, and he might not be well-supported by an unreliable quarterback and a shaky offensive line. 

Take the points and run.

 Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Former Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia is now making picks against the spread for every game over at The Athletic. This week, he thinks the Eagles will win on the road as 3-point underdogs. Some more from him:

The Eagles have been underdogs 14 times in the last three seasons under Doug Pederson. They’ve gone 9-5 straight up in those games, and Pederson has had standout performances against some of the league’s brightest defensive minds. The Eagles scored 43 and 30, respectively, in two wins on the road against Wade Phillips and the Rams. They dropped 38 on Mike Zimmer and the Vikings in the NFC title game during the 2017 season and followed that up with a 41-point performance against Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. Even two weeks ago, against a Packers defense that had been playing well, the Eagles scored 34 in a an upset win. One matchup to watch here: the Vikings in 21 personnel (two RBs, one TE, two WRs) against the Eagles’ base defense. The Vikings averaged 12.1 yards per play out of 21 personnel last week against the Giants — the highest average of any grouping in Week 5. The Eagles have mediocre to below-average linebackers who are vulnerable to play-action. This should be a fun game that’s close down the stretch, but the Eagles pull the upset. 

• SBNation staff: Some respect for Philly at SB Nation, as seven of their 10 writers picked the Birds in Week 6.

• Bleeding Green Nation staff: Nine writers made picks, and all but one picked the Eagles (reverse jinx attempt by John Stolnis perhaps?)

MORE: Week 6 NFL picks Les Bowen and Paul Domowich picked the Eagles by slim margins, while Jeff McLane was less optimistic, taking the Vikings 27-23. He wrote a lengthy explanation for his pick — here is a snippet:

The Eagles have been able to move the ball on Mike Zimmer’s defense in their two previous meetings. But the master of the double-A-gap blitz and other such pressures doesn’t get out-coached by many offensive coordinators, especially three straight times. 

Doug Pederson has been able to win the last two weeks without having to ride the back of his quarterback, but this might be the week he needs Carson Wentz to be otherworldly. Can he do it without field stretcher DeSean Jackson? Sure. But I’m not sure the Eagles have a significant advantage in any matchup on offense. 

I’ve picked the Eagles every game this season, so tread softly with the comment-section hate. But I’m begrudgingly siding with the Vikings here. Cook is the kind of speed running back the Eagles defense could have trouble with, and I’m not still not convinced that the inconsistencies on offense will be cleaned up.

• staff: Seven sportswriters over in Jersey picked Week 6 games, with four going Eagles and three going Vikings.

• Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Vikings 26, Eagles 24

The Eagles' struggling pass defense looked against the Jets (as it should), and the Vikings' struggling pass offense looked good against the Giants (as it should). The key to this game, though, will be whether Minnesota can generate space for Dalvin Cook against the NFL's best rush defense in terms of yards allowed. The Vikings failed a similar test against the Bears a couple weeks ago, but that was before they rediscovered their passing groove. Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Co. will earn just enough attention for Cook to keep Minnesota's offense balanced.

• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 24, Vikings 23

The Vikings almost blew a big lead but were able to win in Philadelphia last season. The Eagles will return the favor in Minneapolis. Both teams can stop the run, so it comes down to which quarterback, Carson Wentz or Kirk Cousins, can distribute the ball under some heat without committing turnovers. Cousins will hit on some big plays against the Eagles' secondary, but Wentz will be a little more versatile as the Eagles play the better ball-control game. .

RELATED: Eagles vs. Vikings: 5 matchups to watch

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