The Minnesota Vikings take their perfect record to Lincoln Financial Field and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday (1pm ET on FOX).
Three weeks ago, the Eagles (3-2, 3rd in NFC East) and Vikings (5-0, 1st in NFC North) were both undefeated 3-0 teams and their week seven match-up looked like it could be a preview of the NFC Championship game. Now however, as the Vikings prepare to put their status as the last undefeated team in the NFL on the line, they do so against an Eagles team which hasn’t won since that third week of the season.
Now this preview takes a look at some of the factors that will ultimately influence our betting predictions and picks for this NFL matchup.
The Impact of the Sam Bradford Trade
Less than two weeks before the NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles made a decision that would change not just their year but that of the Vikings as well. In response to the devastating injury to Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings needed a quarterback and as it so happened, the Eagles had one they felt they could get rid of. Acting as the team in a position of strength, Philadelphia unloaded Sam Bradford (pictured) for a first round pick as they opted to begin the Carson Wentz era a year earlier than planned.
Initially, it seemed Philadelphia was getting the better of the trade and maybe they still have, given they got a first rounder for a guy who was only going to be around one more season anyway. But as far as this season goes, Bradford has helped the Vikings to perfection and has dramatically increased their postseason aspirations and reduced their Super Bowl odds. He hasn’t done it alone obviously, but Bradford is the guy at the helm and he has definitely done his part to help the Vikings be where they are despite missing Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, who went down with an injury in week one.
Bradford’s stats don’t exactly jump off the page but he has taken care of the ball and hasn’t made any costly mistakes. He has six touchdowns and zero interceptions in 125 passing attempts but perhaps most impressively, leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.4) and is second in the league in QB rating (109.8). So while it may be fair to say that Bradford alone is not the reason the Vikings are winning, it’s absolutely true that he hasn’t been a hindrance.
Meanwhile, the Bradford trade has allowed Philadelphia to see what they have in the young Wentz and so far, the results have been very good. Wentz very well could be the franchise QB this team has been on the search for since the Donovan McNabb days. In some direct comparison to Bradford, Wentz has thrown more passes for more yards and has one more touchdown. He also has one more interception, after going over 100 attempts without one to start the season. But to be fair, it was thrown late in a game on a questionable non-pass interference call.
Doug Pederson seems to be right that the trade was a win-win for both teams. It is just working out a little better for the Vikings because behind Bradford they have one of the best defenses in the NFL and one that is much more disciplined than it seems Philly’s has been.
Defense is Winning Games for the Vikes, Losing It for the Eagles
When the season began, the fact that the Eagles had gone three games and allowed a total of 27 points was all but shocking. Sure improvements were expected under new DC Jim Schwartz but it was likely that no one quite anticipated the Eagles to become that good that fast. Additionally, over the first three games the Eagles had one of the best turnover ratios, second only to Minnesota, which has been causing turnovers this year at an exceptional rate while not committing many themselves.
After Philadelphia had its early week three bye, the Eagles and the staunch defense seemed to crumble. An argument can be made that they lost to the Detroit Lions because of the team’s knowledge of Schwartz given he used to be the team’s head coach, but there is no excuse for the defensive miscues against the Washington Redskins. In all fairness, the defense itself has not been that bad in terms of stopping their opponents but they had been downright awful in staying disciplined. The Eagles have 27 penalties in their last two games and have been cost over 100 yards each. Those are staggering numbers but more importantly they are numbers that truly explain why the team has struggled in their last two games.
Minnesota meanwhile, as they have on offense, have really not been guilty of too many miscues. They are second in total yards allowed, third in passing yards allowed, second in rushing yards allowed and first in points allowed per game at 12.6. The Eagles are second in this category, although the number has climbed one full touchdown from the nine per game it sat at after the first three.
Right now, Philadelphia’s defense has once again been a liability and given the way Bradford and co. have protected the ball this year, it is hard to see this defense really being able to make the big plays they will need to win. In short, a lot of what happens rests with Wentz and his ability to get them down the field and control the time of possession. He will need to play even better than he has, which is saying something because he really has not played bad at all this season.
Our Preview’s Minnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles Betting Picks Predictions
When both teams were sitting at 3-0, this matchup looked like it would be huge. Now, the situations are a little different but this is still a big game. For the Vikings, a win puts them at 6-0 and clearly cements them as one of the best teams in the NFL.
For the Eagles, a win may be even more important as after a 3-0 start they now sit 3-2 and have arguably one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league. Playoffs are still on the table for the Birds but another loss may just have them slipping away.
Here are this preview’s picks and betting predictions:
- The Vikings hold a three point spread and our pick is for them to cover in the win. So bet on Minnesota -3pts @ best odds of -105 with BetOnline Sportsbook. The rest of the best US sports betting sites have the same three-point spread but different odds. It is -120 with Bovada and -110 with 5Dimes for the same spread.
- As for the total points scored in this NFL matchup, take the under 40pts because this should be a pretty defensive minded match-up. Bet Under 40 @ best odds of -110 with 5Dimes or Bovada. It is under 39 for the same betting with BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.