The Philadelphia Eagles come into this matchup again as a home team underdog for the second straight week. On the other hand, the Minnesota Vikings entered the week after a thrilling 29-24 victory over the Saints. The Vikings were leading 17-0 at halftime but squandered the lead as the Saints fought back. Ultimately, they won on a Stefon Diggs 61-yard touchdown as time expired. Minnesota is a dome team and the weather for this Sunday night is supposed to be in the low 30’s, an advantage for the Eagles as their last four games have been in sub-freezing temps. In addition, out of the four teams remaining in the playoffs, three have never won a super bowl. The Eagles will look to get their first but before all that, they must take down the Vikings.
I know this technically isn’t a position but this is going to be a huge factor in this game. Which coach can game plan better and give their team the best possible chance to win? Peterson needs to give Foles the opportunity to shine with his limited skill set against a very good defense. In addition, Mike Zimmer needs to find a way to slow down the Eagles pass rush and give Keenum some time to settle in the pocket.
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I believe that this is closer than people are saying it is. Last game, especially in the second half Nick Foles looked like a half decent quarterback. Case Keemun in the second half looked shaky when the pressure got in his face and the Eagles will most certainly bring some pressure this week. I give this advantage to the Vikings but not by much.
Advantage Eagles here. Ajayi and Blount are a force to be reckoned with. It’s supposed to be in the mid to high 30’s on Sunday night and hitting those guys for three quarters is going to get old. I think we see Ajayi break a big one this game.
Another close matchup here. With the Vikings having the now famous Stefon Diggs after his 61-yard winning touchdown catch, and Adam Thielen. Against the Eagles Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor a group of receivers with very diverse skill sets. But under current circumstances with Thielen appearing to be dealing with a lower back injury I have to give the advantage to the Eagles pretty heavily in this case.
This one is a no-brainer in my opinion. The Eagles have one of the best tight end cores in the league. With three tight ends that all get involved and are good at what they do it is hard to find anyone that compares. The Eagles leading receiver this year is tight end, Zach Ertz. Last game the Falcons shut down Ertz and we saw Brent Celek and Trey Burton get some looks and receptions. While the Vikings do have Kyle Rudolph a decent tight end, no team plays tight ends like Philadelphia does.
Again, an advantage to the Eagles. The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the league. The whole right side of their line are pro bowlers and two of the three are first team all pro players. That’s Jason Kelce at center, Brandon Brooks at right guard, and Lane Johnson at right tackle. The left side of the line is the only shaky part of the whole operation, but even they put up some highlights last game especially Stefen Wisniewski when he took out three defenders on one screen. The Vikings line allows Keenum to be pressured too much which is extremely detrimental when Keenum is not great while being pressured.
Another close matchup as we move onto the defensive side of the ball, as both these teams have very high ranked defenses expect a lot of close matchups. Even though its close it’s hard to beat the Eagles depth on their defensive line. With eight guys that can all go in and make plays it’s going to be hard for the Vikings to get anything going up the middle. Also, the Eagles have some of the best pass rushers in the league which is going to have to be dealt with if the Vikings have a chance. Keenum as mentioned before does not do well under pressure, last game he posted a quarterback rating of just 5 while under pressure. The Vikings need to deal with the rush if they want to have Keenum be successful in the backfield.
This one is a semi-lobsided one. This advantage goes to the Vikings. The Eagles have just been decimated this year at the linebacker position. They lost two middle linebackers to injuries this year and their third Dannell Ellerbe is dealing with a hamstring injury. While the Vikings have a great core group of backers and are also relatively healthy at the position. Two of the highlights at the position for the Vikings are Erik Kendricks and Anthony Barr. Both play very well in the scheme where they blitz and make plays. It is going to be on the Eagles to try to slow down their rush and make plays around these two as they will be locking down the middle of the field.
Another close one, but I would have to give the slight advantage to the Vikings here. It’s hard to argue with results and the Vikings defense is very capable of great results. While the Eagles defensive backfield has been lacking in the turnover category as of late. The Vikings defensive backfield is led by corner Xavier Rhodes who constantly shadows teams top receivers and shuts them down. He will probably be shadowing Jeffery this week so look for some other Eagles receiver to get involved in the passing game. Meanwhile, for the Eagles corners, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills will have their hands full this week with Diggs and Thielen assuming he plays. They will need to make some plays and possibly get a turnover or two to help the offense against what is sure to be a stingy Viking defense.
I think this is going to be a low scoring game. Both defenses do not give up a lot of points and both will be looking to set up their offenses for success against the opposition. But, I think that the Eagles pass rush and home-field advantage will prove to be too much for the Vikings to overcome. I predict that the Eagles will prevail and advance to Super Bowl 52 by a score of 17-13.