A pair of 3-2 teams looking to make playoff pushes match up on Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the host Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are coming off victories over teams from New York, with the Eagles topping the Jets last weekend while the Vikings were beating the Giants.
Philadelphia has won two straight coming into this contest, pulling into a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Minnesota is trying to keep pace in an NFC North that has all four teams with winning records. The Vikings are tied with the Chicago Bears for third in the division with 3-2 records, a game behind the first-place Green Bay Packers, who are 4-1.
The moneyline for this contest has the Philadelphia Eagles +155 and the Minnesota Vikings -175. Minnesota is a three-point favorite at home, while the over/under for the game has been set at 44.
On A Roll
Philadelphia has bounced back from a 1-2 start with two straight victories, including a road win against Green Bay two weeks ago. Carson Wentz has been solid under center despite injuries to many of his top receivers, throwing for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns while tossing just two interceptions. Tight end Zach Ertz is one of Wentz’s favorite targets, with a team-high 29 receptions for 312 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles would like to get Jordan Howard (248 rushing yards, four touchdowns) going against the Vikings, but Minnesota has the ninth-ranked rush defense in the league, allowing just 88.2 yards per game.
Speaking of tough defenses against the run, Philadelphia ranks No. 1 in the league, giving up just 63 yards on the ground per contest. Defensive end Brandon Graham is having a big season, leading the Eagles with three sacks and five tackles for loss, while safeties Rodney McLeod (team-high 29 tackles), Andrew Sendejo (19 tackles) and Malcolm Jenkins (18 tackles) have been making plays all over the field.
Starting To Play
Kirk Cousins has been getting a lot of headlines this season, but not for the best reasons. The Minnesota signal-caller has thrown for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns, but 306 of those yards came last week, easily his highest output of the season. With receivers Adam Thielen (20 catches, 309 yards, four touchdowns) and Stefon Diggs (16 catches, 253 yards, one score) wanting all the passes thrown to them they can get, Cousins’ lack of production has upset them a bit. But it’s been more about Dalvin Cook becoming more of an all-around offensive threat, as he leads the team with 21 receptions for 200 yards as well as ranking second in the NFL in rushing with 542 yards.
Minnesota’s defense is ranked fourth overall in terms of yards allowed, with opposing teams averaging just 292.4 yards per game. The fact that the Vikings have four of their top six tacklers from the secondary shows how much the defensive backfield comes up in run support. Defensive end Danielle Hunter has been solid as well, leading the team with five sacks and seven tackles for loss to go along with his 28 tackles.
Vikings Pull Out Home Win
Minnesota hasn’t lived up to expectations yet, but they took a step towards them last weekend. The emergence of Cook has been a good thing, but the offense is still adjusting to it, with the passing game becoming more of a focus in recent weeks. Philadelphia is dealing with a lot of injuries on both sides of the ball. They’ll play the Vikings close, but I’m going with Minnesota -3 to win this one.