Minnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles Pick
Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
When: October 7, 2018, 4:25 PM EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
By: Rick Wise
Spread: MIN +3/PHI -3 (Opened at 3)
Takeaways From Week 4
If there is such a thing as choking in style, the Eagles certainly earned that backhanded compliment Sunday against the Titans. They managed to blow fourth quarter and overtime leads, all while seemingly in complete control of the game mind you, en route to a 26-23 walk-off OT loss. One of the worst losses of the Doug Pederson era needs little more explanation than the Birds having given up three fourth-down conversions in overtime. Nelson Agholor’s four dropped passes (the most noteworthy being a sure big gainer from Carson Wentz in the first quarter and one in overtime) didn’t help much either.
On closer inspection, there are a number of places to point the finger. But because it’s the unit probably most responsible for the loss from a purely visual standpoint, the secondary gets the nod. They were abysmal. No play in the entire game better encapsulates that point than Marcus Mariota managing to convert a 4th and 15 from the Titans own 31-yard line in OT. The odds of a successful conversion in that instance were probably somewhere between never and not in a million years. But veteran safety Corey Graham covered Taywan Taylor short of the sticks, leaving him wide open for an easy 19-yard catch. Even aside from Graham’s rookie mistake, Ronald Darby missed tackles and both Sidney Jones and Malcolm Jenkins committed overtime penalties.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Tennessee was more of a running team, ranking second to last in the NFL in pass attempts. In the win over Jacksonville last week, they ran the ball 35 times to just 21 pass attempts. This week they flipped the script, throwing it 43 times and running it 22 times. The Vikings, meanwhile, are the most pass heavy team in the NFL, throwing the ball at a 73.45 percent clip versus running it 26.5 percent of the time. And that’s unlikely to change against Philly, even if Dalvin Cook returns from injury. After what Mariota managed to do, it’s safe to say, that the matchup between Kirk Cousins and the Eagles secondary will more than likely determine the outcome. Throw in this game being a must-win for the Vikings and we may see even more Cousins than we did in his back to back games with over 50 passing attempts.
You’d think that the Eagles and the Vikings would be somewhat familiar with each other, as both have tasted a fair amount of NFC success over the years. But they’ve only met six times since 2007, with the last time being that 38-7 beatdown Philly unleashed last January in the NFC Championship game en route to its first Super Bowl title. In those six meetings, Philly has had the upper hand 4-2, but the series dates all the way back to 1962 and the win-loss numbers are virtually split down the middle, with the Eagles having a slight edge 14-13. That’s also a snapshot of the last four matchups—Philly took the last two, while Minnesota won the previous two. That might explain the tight betting line.
The Vikings are a little banged up here and there but a lingering hamstring injury to running back Dalvin Cook, who was sidelined in week 3 and limited to just 10 carries against the Rams last Thursday, is chief among them. As of Monday, Oct. 1, Cook was listed as questionable for the Eagles game. Other key players listed as questionable include C Pat Elflein (ankle), S Anthony Harris (hamstring), RT Rashod Hill (foot), TE David Morgan (Knee), and CB Trae Waynes (ankle).
When the Vikings Have the Ball
Whether Dalvin Cook is healthy or not, the Vikings and Kirk Cousins have proven through four games that they’re gonna put the ball in the air more than not. Adam Thielen has gone over 100 yards receiving every time out so far this season, and as Swiss cheesy as the Eagles secondary looked against Tennessee, that trend is likely to continue. And don’t forget about Stefon Diggs, who sits right behind Thielen in receiving yards and is every bit as dangerous. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is a nice third option given the off chance that both Thielen and Diggs get bottled up. If Cousins is on, which he’s been lately in throwing for over 400 yards in two of his four starts this season, it could be a long day for the Eagle defensive backs.
When the Eagles Have the Ball
Carson Wentz is finally back from an ACL tear, but in his first start this season there were no indications that he’s anywhere near the same quarterback that dominated much of the league last year before he got injured. His mobility is of course not what it was, but thanks to underwhelming offensive line play, Wentz was under duress all day against the Titans, taking four sacks and 11 hits. It’s a good thing Minnesota is coming off of its worst defensive performance since head coach Mike Zimmer took the reins in 2014, surrendering 556 total yards to the L.A. Rams Thursday. Wentz did throw for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns, which is a darn good stat line but it’s overshadowed by the result. Facts are facts and the fact is, the Philadelphia team that won the Super Bowl last season has yet to make an appearance this season and they’re running out of time with NFC East play right around the corner. Alshon Jeffrey’s also back and he showed how important he really is to this offense with 8 catches and 105 yards against the Titans. Look for Wentz to stay in hot pursuit of last year’s magic with 45 or more passing attempts against the Vikings because while Jay Ajayi has proven to be a solid runner, he’s far from capable of carrying this offense.
- Minnesota is 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 games
- Minnesota is 13-4-1 SU n its last 18 games
- Minnesota is 1-3-1 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 6 games
- Minnesota is 1-3-1 in its last 5 games on the road
- Minnesota is 1-3-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 game on the road
- Minnesota is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 games when playing in Philadelphia
- Minnesota is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games when playing Philadelphia
- Minnesota is 1-8 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
- Minnesota is 1-8 SU in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
Temps are expected to be on the warmer side of things for October with a high of 76 degrees under mostly cloudy skies with 65 percent humidity and a 7 percent chance of rain.
Rick Wise’s Pick: Eagles -3 & Over 44.5
With such a tight line, this is very nearly a toss up. You might be tempted to tease it but points are wasted crossing the 0. You could easily see both Wentz and Cousins throwing for well over 300 yards, the question is which team’s secondary can provide the most resistance. Both are coming off performances (Minnesota surrendered a whopping 465 yards and 5 TDs to Goff, while Philly gave up 345 yards and 2 TDs to Mariota) they’ll need to put in the rear view real quick, if they haven’t already. I see Malcolm Jenkins and company winning that battle, so look for the Birds to cover at home and, with this much firepower on both offenses, the point total to easily go over 45.