The Minnesota Vikings were projected to be one of the top teams in the NFL during the preseason. So far, they’re not even one of the top teams in their division. Granted, they’re in one of the best divisions in football, but taking losses against two NFC North foes (Packers and Bears) puts the Vikings in an unexpected hole to start the season.
Luckily for them, they look like a team that’s about one win away from building some snowball momentum. Unfortunately for them, so do the Philadelphia Eagles.
These three matchups will decide the outcome of the game, and potentially each team’s season.
1. Momentum vs. Momentum
Both 3-2 teams are coming off wins against inept New York squads. Just a few days after some in-house drama, maligned quarterback Kirk Cousins had the breakout game he was looking for as the Minnesota Vikings dominated the Giants.
Meanwhile, Philly’s defense put on a show against the hapless Jets. The Eagles recorded a whopping ten sacks to go along with two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. The team had recorded a total of three sacks in the three previous games.
Both teams should feel good about themselves going into this game. The outcome could launch either team into title talks or pull them back down into mediocrity.
2. Kirk Cousins vs. Philly’s Shoddy Pass Defense
Cousins will have a shot to be great again against Philadelphia’s inconsistent pass defense. Philly ranks 27th in the league in passing yards allowed per game at 271.2 yds/g. They are, however, tied for fourth in interceptions and rank tenth in opponent passer rating. With starting cornerback Ronald Darby still out and starting CB Avonte Maddox listed as doubtful, the Eagles will be vulnerable.
Cousins has been solid this year with an even 100 passer rating, but he’s been lackluster against teams with winning records. This is his chance to enforce his will against a good team with a depleted secondary. He needs to show the Vikings that he can lead them to the promised land. Up to this point, the Vikings have leaned on breakout star running back Dalvin Cook to do the heavy lifting. This week, that tactic might not work.
3. Philadephia’s Run Defense vs. Vikings’ Ground Game
Philadelphia’s top-ranked rush defense will be facing Dalvin Cook and the Vikings’ third-ranked rushing attack. Cook has been excellent, averaging 5.9 yds/carry with 5 touchdowns so far.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, Philly’s run defense has been better. They’re allowing a league-low 63 yds/g on the ground. Two weeks ago, they walled off Green Bay RB Aaron Jones to the tune of 21 yards on 13 carries.
Cook’s stellar play was put on pause during the one game he faced a top-ten rushing defense. Chicago held the star back to 36 yards on 14 carries. If Cook can’t get going, Cousins will feel even more pressure.
Philadelphia has a defense that can neutralize the Vikings’ greatest strength, but Kirk Cousins will licking his chops against a depleted secondary. A raucous Minnesota crowd should help push the Vikings to victory.
Vikings 27, Eagles 24
Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:07 PM