A few months ago, the (2-2) Philadelphia Eagles routed the (1-2-1) Minnesota Vikings en route to winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. This Sunday (4:25 PM ET), again in front of the Philly faithful, Minnesota have their chance at redemption.
While the Vikings would love to get a win over the champs on their own home turf, they will have a lot more than revenge and redemption on the mind. At 1-2-1, the Vikings are watching their chances to win the NFC North for the second straight year start to slip away. Despite this being so early in the season, a loss takes the Vikings to 1-3-1 and that could be devastating for their playoff hopes.
For the Eagles, their focus isn’t on the Super Bowl or any sort of NFC Championship rematch. Another team that has had a less than stellar start to the season, Philadelphia is currently in the midst of the tightest divisional race in football. All four teams are separated by just two games with the top three teams at .500 or better and within one game of first place. A win against the Vikings will go a long way to the Eagles’ hopes of returning to the playoffs in defense of their title.
Most NFL teams will tell you that if they could play 16 games at home each season they would, and after all why not? You play in front of your fans, in your stadium, in your city where guys get to sleep in their own beds and spend time with their families. Home games are the best and no one is denying it.
That being said, some teams play just okay at home while others play out-of-their mind amazing. Since 2016, the Eagles have fallen into the latter category. Whether it’s that home cooking or 70,000-plus rabid fans singing the fight song in deafening tones, Lincoln Financial Field has been a haven for the Eagles. Since 2016, the team has lost just three of 20 games played in Philadelphia including both postseason games last year. One of these losses was a meaningless end of season contest against the Dallas Cowboys which was played after the Eagles had already secured home field advantage throughout the NFC.
The Linc has been more than kind to its ‘Birds and that’s been a big part of why Philadelphia has had so much success recently. The Eagles just need to improve on the road, something that they did well last year, which no doubt had its bearings on the team reaching and winning the Super Bowl.
Speaking of teams who were better last year, the Vikings defense has been just a shell of itself in 2018. In 2017, a year that saw the Vikings win 13 games, Minnesota’s defense was absolutely lethal. They ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, yards per game, points allowed and points per game. The Vikings allowed their opponents just 15.8 points per game last year. The team also ranked second in passing and passing yards per game allowed, and rushing and rushing yards per game allowed.
This year however, the script has flipped. Minnesota’s defense has seriously regressed, ranking just 19th in yards allowed, 20th in yards per game, 21st in passing yards, 14th in rushing yards and most concerning ranking 21st in points per game, an average of 27.5.
Defensively, these numbers aren’t what Vikings fans should want to see especially because the team’s offense just can’t keep up. The Vikings made a change at QB, bringing in Kirk Cousins from the Washington Redskins, but so far the upgrades to their offense haven’t really been enough. Cousins’ stats are pretty pedestrian but what’s worse for the offense is the absolutely anemic running game. The Vikings rank dead last in the league with an average of just 63 rushing yards per game. They are also the only team in the NFL not to have a rushing touchdown. Last year through four games, the Vikings had three such touchdowns and averaged over 90 yards per game on the ground.
The Vikings have a lot of problems right now on both sides of the ball and if they hope to get back to the postseason, if they hope to win the NFC North again, they’ll really need to figure it out sooner rather than later.
Our Preview’s Minnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
When the schedule was first released for this season, everybody marked Sunday, October 7 on their calendars as one of the top games to watch. It was more than just an NFC Championship rematch as the way most people, and the odds saw it, it was a possible NFC Championship preview as well. The expectations were high for both teams and to this point, both have underwhelmed.
For the Eagles, injuries have been a huge detriment to what could have been a great season. The team only got Carson Wentz back two weeks ago, it has been without star wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey for the entire season, as well as Darren Sproles. Injuries aside, Philadelphia has played a little sloppy, which has been tracked by the amount of penalties the team has had called against them this season. The Eagles are fourth in the NFL and first in the NFC with 35 flags costing the team 343 yards. What isn’t tracked is that these penalties have been extremely costly to the Eagles, especially in their loss last week against the Tennessee Titans.
The Vikings have had their fair share of injuries as well, including to top running back Dalvin Cook, which explains the rushing woes Minnesota has had. Cook is still dealing with a hamstring issue and while he is expected to play on Sunday, it won’t be at 100 percent. He will be facing one of the areas the Eagles still excel in, run defense, where they rank first in the NFL.
Much of the Eagles problems are fixable as they come down to discipline but for the Vikings, their road back to elite status seems a little less certain.
Taking into account the best options from a choice of the top online U.S. sportsbooks, these are our Minnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions for this preview:
- Look for the Eagles to continue their home dominance by covering the three point spread they are favored. So the first of our two betting picks is to bet Philadelphia -3pts @ best odds of -115 with 5Dimes or Intertops.
- While the over seems appealing, six of the Eagles’ last seven games at home have hit the under with a combined score of just 29 points per game. So take the under on 47pts total points to be scored @ -110 with Bovada. The other bookies have a lower spread.