Looking to continue their winning ways, the Philadelphia Eagles take on a familiar foe in the Minnesota Vikings (1 PM ET Sunday). It is the first time Philadelphia has returned to Minnesota since winning the Super Bowl in 2017-18.
The Minnesota Vikings don’t like the Philadelphia Eagles and there is good reason for it. Because the penultimate time these teams faced off, the Eagles defeated the Vikings in the NFC Championship and not by a little either – the final score was 38-7. That allowed them to advance to the Super Bowl, which was played at the Vikings’ home stadium. Looking to host and play in the Super Bowl, something that had never been done before in the history of the NFL, the Vikings took it as a personal slight that the Eagles grabbed that opportunity instead. Then there is the one-sided manner in which the Eagles embarrassed the Vikings, who had been favored with the United States’ offshore oddssetters to win that game.
These squads met again last season in Philadelphia but the result was different. The Vikings got a measure of revenge when in week five of the 2018-19 season, Minnesota and new starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, defeated the Eagles at the Linc, 23-21. The longtime Washington Redskins QB, Cousins was no stranger to facing the Eagles. In his first game against the divisional rival, Cousins had a career game, throwing for 427 yards, three touchdowns and a 103.4 rating. The Redskins lost 37-34, but it is hard to put any of that on Cousins.
Since then, Cousins has been somewhat of a Philly killer, winning five of his seven starts against the team, including his most recent, the Vikings win over the Eagles almost a year ago to the day of this week’s showdown.
Behind Cousins, the Vikings should feel confident coming into this week’s game, their second home game in a row. Minnesota is coming off a victory against the New York Giants and is 2-0 this season when playing in front of the purple and yellow supporters. Overall, they are 3-2 with both road losses unfortunately coming against divisional opponents, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.
The 2017-18 Super Bowl and 2017-18 NFC Championship game are certainly in the rearview mirror but that doesn’t mean the Vikings aren’t going to come into this week’s showdown with perhaps a little extra juice. As much as they need the win to keep even with their divisional opponents, beating the team whose last memory of Minnesota is celebrating a championship, is just a little cherry on top.
The Eagles can’t be too nostalgic either. Yes, the last time they left this stadium it was with a trophy that had eluded the city forever, but this is a different circumstance and for Philadelphia, a much different roster. The stakes may not be as high as winning a Super Bowl but the Eagles have a tough schedule on the horizon and could really use another victory here at U.S. Bank Stadium.
They will be led into battle this time by Carson Wentz, who is having a good, if unspectacular, year. Wentz has thrown 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions, 1,152 yards and has a 94.3 rating. Those are pretty good numbers no doubt but not quite the kind of numbers Nick Foles put up (340+ yards and three touchdowns) when he helped the Eagles trample the Vikings in the championship game. That has kind of been the story of Wentz’ season, fighting off comparisons to Foles and having every shortcoming put under a microscope as a result.
Wentz has been good for the Eagles in a year where Philadelphia has found itself having to fight a war of attrition on the injury front. The juggernaut offense that took the field in week one has suffered the most with top receivers missing time and DeSean Jackson especially, a notable absence. On defense a pretty good secondary has been reduced to second and third stringers. Don’t be surprised if Adam Thielen, Minnesota’s top receiver and one of the best wideouts in the game period, has another epic day.
Wentz played well against the Vikings last year, totaling two touchdowns and over 300 yards with no interceptions. Good but not good enough. It’s hard to say what exactly Wentz will need to do and the kind of numbers he’d need to put up against a tough Vikings unit. Luckily for him, he won’t have to do it alone. One area where the Eagles might actually see an uptick in production from the team that won the NFC Championship, is in their rushing game. Then lead back, Jay Ajayi, totaled 73 yards on the ground in the championship game, a good but overall modest output. After weeks of running back by committee, it seems the Eagles have settled on their lead back as Jordan Howard, who has scored a touchdown in each of the past three weeks and has over 240 yards despite limited carries.
The Eagles aren’t the only ones who have gotten better in the backfield since the NFC Championship. The Vikings replaced Jerrick McKinnon with all-pro Dalvin Cook, who has at least one touchdown and 100 yards in four of the five games this season. Cook is playing like the NFL’s top rusher and much better rush defenses than Philadelphia’s have been hard-pressed to stop him so far.
Our Betting Preview’s Philadelphia Eagles vs Minnesota Vikings Predictions & Picks Conclusion
Philadelphia is injured and Minnesota is looking to prove they can beat good teams. The NFC Championship is long over and for the Vikings, this should be the Cousins and Cook show. Our Philadelphia Eagles vs Minnesota Vikings predictions look like this: