Posted on October 04, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles met in the NFC Championship game last season, the Vikings were expected to win the day. That, of course, did not happen. Months later and with both teams starting different quarterbacks, they meet again.
A win this week doesn’t mean anywhere near as much, but you know the Vikings are going to want to win this one a little bit more than the rest.
But can they?
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Carson Wentz is back in charge of the Eagles offense and looking like he hasn’t missed a beat. He is not quite back to where he was, but he is playing well two weeks into his return. But so far, overall, the Eagles are off to a slow start this season having gone 1-1 with each quarterback.
With Foles at the helm, you can point the finger a little bit more at the quarterback play. But Wentz went 33-5 for 348 yards and two touchdowns last week, but the Eagles still lost the game in overtime. The problem is simple—the defense is not holding up its end of the bargain.
This is something head coach Doug Pederson is aware of and is trying to deal with:
“…The sense of urgency from players and coaches needs to heighten just a little bit. It’s not a panic mode, but it’s a heightened awareness of who we are as a football team, where we want to get to.”
Injuries have played a factor, but not enough to explain why the unit is not performing better.
They will certainly have their work cut out for them against the Vikings this week. Case Keenum is now in Denver, but Kirk Cousins seems to have the offense working as well if not better; well—the passing offense at least. Minnesota is fifth in the league in passing but can’t seem to get the running game going (32nd; 63 yards/game).
While the lack of a run game is a concern, there may be more over the defense. The once-proud unit has not been living up to its reputation so far this season. They are currently 21st overall, 22nd in points allowed, and 23rd against the pass. But head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t worried:
“This isn’t a time for ‘woe is me.’ If people remember we were 2-2 this time last year, [and] we finished 13-3. We were 5-0 the year before, and we finished 8-8. We were 2-2 the year before that, and we finished 11-5, so all the predictors, this isn’t a good time to predict.”
This will be a better game than the NFC Championship game was. The Vikings offense is in good hands with Kirk Cousins, run game or not. However, the Eagles offense appears to be in slightly better hands—Carson Wentz and Jay Ajayi.
If the Vikings can get a run game established, they could steal the win. But there is no reason to believe they will. But with Ajayi back in the lineup, the Eagles appear to have a decent rushing attack. Should they get out to a lead late in the game, it is easier to see them kill the clock than Minnesota.
It will be close, but once again, the Eagles will win. However, don’t count on the Eagles covering the three-point spread.