Why the Minnesota Vikings will beat the Philadelphia Eagles
A rough start to the Minnesota Vikings’ season has fans feeling discouraged heading into Thursday night’s battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. It doesn’t help that the last time these two teams squared off, the Eagles dominated the Vikings 24-7, which also came in Week 2 last year.
But this is a new season, with a new group of players and plenty of new coaches too. What happened last year has no bearing on future events like this week’s matchup. Betting odds suggest the Vikings are sizable underdogs, with the Eagles favored by 6.5 points. Others believe the Vikings stand no chance based on past results, the current roster outlook, and other factors. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
I won’t sugarcoat it. The Vikings aren’t expected to win against the Eagles. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t see an upset. In fact, here’s why the Vikings will beat the Eagles.
Eagles won’t be able to stop Vikings’ aerial attack
The Vikings have one of the best passing offenses in the NFL. When the Eagles are at full strength, they had the best-passing defense in the NFL a season ago. But the Eagles are nowhere near full strength.
Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry won’t be in the lineup, meaning Josh Jobe, who’s played just 20 defensive snaps in the NFL, starts opposite Darius Slay. Look for coach Kevin O’Connell to target Jobe and other Eagles backups with this week’s game plan, peppering passes past the inexperienced cornerback.
This means the Eagles will have key decisions to make on the fly should Justin Jefferson continue to be the unstoppable force that he is on gamedays. Do they have Slay follow Jefferson’s footsteps all across the field? That only leaves T.J. Hockenson, Jordan Addison, and K.J. Osborn as lethal weapons waiting to strike when called upon
The fact is, it won’t matter what the Eagles do. They’ll always be a few steps behind the playmakers this offense features. This just leads into our next section and how Kirk Cousins is a much better QB in certain primetime matchups than the popular narrative would have you believe.
Minnesota Vikings have motivation and Kirk Cousins on their side
It’s no secret that the Vikings were absolutely embarrassed against the Eagles last season. Yet, what’s so different about this matchup is that, unlike last year when the Vikings went on the road to a hostile environment at Lincoln Financial Field, this time they’re doing so after getting upset in Week 1 instead of entering the matchup feeling overly confident following a win.
That ugly Eagles game in Philadelphia last season? Justin Jefferson and the Vikings haven’t forgotten. In fact, this one’s a bit personal for Jefferson, who was held to one catch for seven yards on six targets when covered by Slay a season ago. Slay even caught more passes from Cousins than Jefferson did by getting two interceptions, both in the red zone.
So it’s no surprise to hear Jefferson’s comments earlier this week stating, “There’s definitely some tension going into the game.” Personally, I’d be willing to bet this matchup’s been circled on No. 18’s calendar from the moment the Vikings schedule was released.
It also doesn’t hurt that Kirk Cousins has been dynamite in primetime Thursday night matchups since joining the Vikings. Don’t show these stats to anyone who says Cousins can’t play under the lights. But they probably wouldn’t believe you anyway.
Kirk Cousins in Thursday games since 2018:
- Win/loss record: 3-1 (Vikings averaged 29.7 PPG)
- Passing yards: 1,222 (305.5 YPG)
- Completion rate: 71.5%
- TD:INT ratio: 8 TD, 3 INT
Players and teams often complain about having to play on a ‘short week,’ with just three full days of rest in between games, but for whatever reason, Cousins seems to thrive under these conditions. He hasn’t lost on a Thursday since 2018, his first season with the Vikings.
Heading to Philly armed with Jefferson looking for revenge plus a roster of players eager to erase the bitter taste of defeat, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Cousins and Co. don’t put their best foot forward. That’s why I feel the Vikings will head into Philly and defeat the Eagles, even though they’re the defending NFC champions.
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