3 bold Minnesota Vikings predictions against the Philadelphia Eagles
Minnesota Vikings fans have a special place in their hearts for the Philadelphia Eagles. The two NFC opponents have squared off four times since 2018, and today, they’ll battle again.
Each of the previous matchups has always come at a pivotal time for the Vikings, making each Eagles game a big one. The Vikings have won two of their past four, but their two Eagles losses were hard to swallow. This includes the 38-7 loss in the NFC Championship and, of course, last season’s 24-7 debacle in Week 2. Both games had one thing in common, they were both in Philadelphia, just like tonight’s matchup.
The odds are stacked against the Vikings once again, with the Eagles viewed as 6.5-point favorites, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put forth an inspired effort. They might even come away victorious for the first time this season. That may seem bold, but wait until you see what else is in store for the Vikings against the Eagles.
Justin Jefferson racks up 200 yards
A matchup between two of the best players at their positions today pits Justin Jefferson vs. Darius Slay. Last season it was Slay who got the last laugh, intercepting two passes intended for Jefferson while holding the record-breaking receiver to just seven yards, catching one of six targets. Jefferson rarely gets bottled up, and he clearly emerged from last season’s loss with regrets.
#Vikings WR Justin Jefferson on what he takes from game: “Everything – the plays that were left out there. The routes that I could’ve won on. Things that I could’ve done better. Everybody in this room definitely could’ve done something better to change the outcome of the game."
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 20, 2022
We’d be willing to bet Jefferson won’t get fooled again and go berserk for 200 or more receiving yards. If so, it’d be just his second career game topping the 200-yard mark, making this a very bold prediction even for the game’s best receiver.
Jefferson has the motivation, but what about his actual matchup? Big Play Slay will likely still line up opposite Jefferson on nearly every snap, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities to thrive.
The Eagles are shorthanded today, without linebacker Nakobe Dean, safety Reed Blankenship, and former Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry due to injury. They’ll be asking a lot of their reserves, but the Vikings will still have one of the best casts of pass-catchers in the NFL.
If Jordan Addison doesn’t have the first 100-yard game of his career, don’t be surprised if Jefferson has another unforgettable performance, but you should be used to that by now.
Vikings record five sacks on Jalen Hurts
This is, by far, the boldest prediction on this list. The Vikings want to generate pressure at a high level under first-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores. If they can, it eases the burden of a young secondary, making everyone’s job easier.
In Week 1, this meant Flores blitzing at the NFL’s highest rate, on 47 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. This is fully expected from Flores, who calls an aggressive game, but the Vikings’ gambles didn’t pay off, generating just one sack across 38 dropbacks. That’s… not a high rate of pressure.
The Vikings didn’t have Marcus Davenport, one of their prized sack artists, due to injury, and he’s questionable to go tonight too. But I’m still making the bold claim that the Vikings will do a much better job getting home on Jalen Hurts, emerging with five sacks.
As mentioned, it’s a bold claim for a number of reasons. We already mentioned the Vikings’ failures to bring the QB down, but this task is especially tough considering the Eagles have what’s regarded as the best offensive line in football, plus Hurts’ ability to slip out of a defender’s grasp presents another challenge.
I imagine no one was more frustrated with Week 1’s result than Coach Flores himself. He blitzed how often and still only ended up with one sack? Okay, that just means he needs to do better, scheming up more effective blitzes and bringing defenders from all over the field. One sack? That won’t get it done in Philly; everyone associated with the Vikings knows it.
But I didn’t just pick this idea out of a hat. Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness. One area the Vikings may be able to take advantage of is along the edges, specifically, right tackle Lane Johnson, who allowed six pressures last week alone. Johnson will be lined up opposite Danielle Hunter, who’s always a nightmare to deal with.
Yet it’s not just Johnson who struggled in the Eagles’ season opener. Philadelphia’s offensive line allowed a total of 15 pressures in Week 1, which is more than they allowed in any game last season. Whatever Bill Belichick schemed up last week worked. Expect his protege, Coach Flores, to follow suit. For the record, Hurts was sacked three times last week, but that’s merely a stepping stone for what’s ahead.
Minnesota Vikings beat Eagles by 10+
Lastly, we get to the final prediction, where I have the Vikings defeating the Eagles and doing so in convincing fashion, with a double-digit victory. It’s a hot take, and few probably envision it coming true, but football is a feast-or-famine game, and when the Vikings play the way they do, anything is possible.
Think about it. Based on what we saw against Tampa Bay, where the Vikings lived and died by their passing attack, don’t be surprised if Cousins launches dart after dart once again.
In an ideal world, the Vikings won’t have to drop back 47 times. They hope to find more consistency from their rushing attack while eliminating mistakes in pass protection. By cleaning up those areas or even just slightly reducing their errors, the Vikings’ 17 points last week could have easily turned into 31.
With explosive athletes like Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, touchdowns can happen in the blink of an eye, especially against a weakened Eagles defense missing three key starters. If the Vikings do defeat the Eagles by ten or more points, it will be their first time doing so since 2019. But the Eagles lost just two games by double-digits a season ago, meaning this won’t be an easy feat to pull off, especially considering the Vikings had just two such victories last season. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done again.
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