Minnesota Vikings (5-0 SU, 5-0 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
TV: CBS, DTV: 712
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN -2.5/PHI +2.5
Over/Under Total: 40
Who would have guessed the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL through seven weeks would be the Minnesota Vikings, especially without their start-of-the-year quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater) and running back (Adrian Peterson). Well they are, and this week they’ll travel to the East Coast to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, who’ve been reinvigorated by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Vikings are coming off their Bye Week, and that gave them valuable time for Sam Bradford, who they got from the Eagles in a trade earlier this season, to get even more comfortable with his new team. Likewise, the first overall pick from the 2008 Draft, tackle Jake Long, will have had have 12 days to settle in with his new team (he’s replacing starting right tackle Andre Smith, who was placed on injured reserve). Finally, it also provided offensive coordinator Norv Turner a chance to work on improving the Vikings’ run game, which ranks dead last in the league averaging just 70.6 yards per game (YPG).
As for their passing game, they’re raked 24th averaging 232 YPG. All told, their offense is ranked 30th averaging 302.6 total YPG and 23.8 points per game (PPG). Kind of surprising for an undefeated team, but it’s because their real strength lies with their defense, which is second in the league holding opponents to an average of 287.6 total YPG (209.8 passing YPG; 77.8 rushing YPG) and 12.6 PPG.
As for the Eagles, they have the 21st-ranked offense averaging 338.8 total YPG and 27 PPG. Their passing game is 26th in the league averaging 225.2 YPG, while their rushing game is 8th averaging 113.6 YPG. Defensively, the Eagles are ranked 6th holding opponents to an average of 312 YPG (207.4 passing YPG; 104.6 rushing YPG) and 15.6 PPG.
The Eagles are coming off a 20-27 loss to NFC East rival Washington Redskins, a game in which they finished with just 239 yards (they’re points came from two field goals, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and a pick-six). In that game, which put the Eagles on a two-game losing streak, Wentz was sacked five times.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is going to be all about defense. It should be a low-scoring affair – personally I’d bet the under – and both offenses are going to have trouble moving the ball. That said, I’m more confident in the Vikings putting up points than I am the Eagles.
Wentz started off red hot but as seemingly cooled off, while Bradford will no doubt be looking to make a big impact during his return to Philadelphia. As mentioned, the Vikings are coming off their Bye Week and that means they’ve had more time to prepare for the game. They’ll be fresh, and hopefully they made some improvements in their running game. If they did they’ll be an even better team, one that only gets stronger each week.
This will be a close game, one that could very well be determined by a big play o either a defense or special teams, but I’m going to stick with the Vikings and say they’ll win this game while covering the spread (probably only by a field goal though).
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