MINNEAPOLIS, MN –
The Eagles are bringing a two-game win streak into U.S Bank Stadium to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have had plenty of ups and downs this season, and both teams at times can be their own worst enemies. Both the Eagles and Vikings are facing tough competition in their respective division, and this is a major match-up for both sides. Here’s what to watch for tomorrow:
1 – Hand It to Howard: I like Miles Sanders, but I love Jordan Howard. Since entering the league, Howard has been one of the most electric running backs, both as a rusher and receiver. Howard is a dynamic playmaker, and his athletic ability is taking plenty of pressure off Carson Wentz and the passing game. The Eagles need to continue to pound the run game, and it will pay major dividends if the Eagles are able to establish a ground game on the road.
2 – Step-up Secondary: The Eagles’ secondary will face their biggest test this week since week two against the Falcons. The Vikings boast two explosive receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and they will be looking to carve up a weak, injury-riddled secondary. The Eagles need to force Kirk Cousins to hand the ball off, not beat them through the air. The Eagles will find themselves in a much better situation late in the game if they shut down the Vikings’ lethal receiving threats.
3 – Win with Wentz: I’m interested to see what kind of impact Carson Wentz has on this game. Wentz threw for an average of 268 YPG in the 1st three games; however, in the last two match-ups, he is averaging just 175 YPG. Will Wentz crack that 200-yard mark again? I think the Eagles need to continue to bolster their run game, but I also want to see Wentz take more shots downfield. It doesn’t help that Wentz is dealing with a plethora of drops from his receivers, but I’d like to see more deep balls thrown and the offensive line keep him clean. Maybe Nelson Agholor can break a big one while Desean Jackson is still healing.
4 – Unknown X-factor: I truly believe this game will come down to an X-factor. My two guesses would be either Dalvin Cook, who has been absolutely stupendous so far this season averaging 5.9 rushing yards per attempt, or Zach Ertz, who definitely is Carson Wentz’s safety blanket. Both teams have good offenses and run defenses, so this is a game where every inch, snap, and ounce of effort matters. Don’t be surprised if this game comes down to the very last play.
5 – History: The Eagles and Vikings have split the all-time series 14-14. The Vikings won the most recent match-up, but I believe that Eagles fans are much more interested in the 38-7 victory at Lincoln Financial Field, which was followed up by a Super Bowl 52 victory over the Patriots. Can the Eagles find similar success as when the confetti was raining down, or will the Vikings establish home-field dominance again and retake the series lead?
Tune in to FOX at 1:00 to catch the game… You can also follow the action and join the conversation as we live tweet on Twitter: @BirdsInformer during the game.