Mixed bag from last week. Read the game right, especially regarding the snow (I thought it might HELP scoring, and wouldn't hurt it), but the Eagles won by more than the 9 point spread I threw into the teaser, so it ended up as a loss.
This week, we're looking at a much different animal: the trap game.
For starters, it's a shame I couldn't get this out as soon as the lines were released, because while the Eagles opened as 2.5 point favorites, they now stand as 6 point favorites (at Bovada, 5.5 points elsewhere).
Meanwhile, the over/under has shifted just a half point, going from 50.5 to 51.
On paper, the Eagles shouldn't have any trouble winning this game. Looking to Football Outsiders, we see the Eagles are MASSIVELY better on offense (3rd overall compared to the Vikings at 22) and marginally better on defense (22nd versus 27th). The only significant advantage the Vikings have is on Special Teams, where FO ranks the Vikings 17 spots better than the Eagles). However, that's not nearly enough to outweigh the Offense/Defense matchup.
So, breaking down the lines:
The biggest issue here is the movement. Since opening, the line has moved 3.5 points towards the Eagles, with the public obviously favoring the good guys heavily. Cardinal rule of handicapping, though, it to move against the public. It tends to overreact to recent events, reading too much into last week's games. Given that Adrian Peterson was injured early last week, and therefore didn't factor heavily into the movement in the line, we have to ask ourselves: Why did the line open at just 2.5?
Well over the past 5 weeks, the Vikings have:
- Beat the Redskins by 7 points
- Lost to Seattle by 21
- Tied the Packers
- Beat the Bears by 3
- Lost to the Ravens by 3
Not exactly an amazing stretch, but certainly better than you'd expect from a team most observers consider to be one of the worst in the league. Moreover, while the Vikings have just 3 wins overall on the year, all 3 of them have come at home. In Minnesota, the team is .500 this season (3-3), with wins over Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington.
Those teams rank 9th (Chicago), 16th (Pittsburgh), and 30th (Washington) overall by DVOA.
The Eagles rank 11th by DVOA.
Suddenly things don't look quite so simple, do they?
The good news? Look at these numbers:
211, 75 (2), 140 (2)
What are they? Adrian Peterson's rushing yards and touchdowns in those three wins. As it stands now, he's questionable to play on Sunday, and if it he does make an appearance it'll be at well under 100%.
While the Vikings do have other weapons, namely Cordarelle Patterson, I just don't see them getting much done against the Eagles defense, which hasn't allowed more than 21 points in forever (okay, week 4 against Denver). As far as point projections go, we're looking at 17-21 points for the Vikings. Their offense ranks just behind Washington by DVOA, and they've lost their best weapon. Special Teams worries me a bit, and the potential for a return TD is significant. Plus, the Vikings have scored at least 20 points in each of their last 7 games.
For the spread, let's put them at 21 to be conservative.
The Eagles look to be at a safe bet for at LEAST 28 points, and the potential for many more. If they scored 24 points against the Cardinals, they can sure as hell put 28 up against Minnesota. The offense is clicking, McCoy is running wild, and Nick Foles is doing exactly what he needs to be doing (hitting the open man, taking smart shots downfield, and avoiding bad turnovers).
That leaves me with a projection of Eagles +7....meaning give the points.
The line is 51.
The Eagles are 7-6 against the Over, while the Vikings are 10-3 (and 5-1 at home). That means that while the bookmakers have adjusted to the Eagles, they're still behind against the Vikings. Of course, my projection from above was a score of 28-21, which as all you math major know, adds up to just 49 points.
Remember, though, that I said AT LEAST 28 points for the Eagles, meaning there's a good chance they hang more. If they can get to 30, the over hits. While it looks tight, I think they'll do it.
Take the over.
This week screams TRAP. The Eagles are on a hot streak, they're playing a team that most casual fans are underrating (and one that might be missing its best player), and the line has moved heavily in the Eagles direction.
All told, you should approach with caution, and keep the stakes relatively light. However, I just don't see any way to come down more confident on the Vikings side here.
I'm taking the Eagles -6.
On the O/U, I'm going OVER 51, but I like that less than the spread.
Note a teaser to and Eagles pickem and an Over 45 would leave you feeling pretty good, but as I said above, you don't get too aggressive here. The Vikings have played surprisingly well at home, and focus could be an issue for the Eagles. While it would certainly surprise me to see the Vikings win, the conditions are ripe for an upset. If it's close in the 4th, a single Patterson touch could be the difference, especially after what we saw in the kick coverage last week (snow or not).
- Eagles vs. Vikings Fantasy Football Guide
- Eagles-Vikings Final Injury Report: Earl Wolff is Doubtful
- BGN Exclusive Interview: Eagles LB Connor Barwin
- BGN Radio: Eagles vs. Vikings 2013 Preview
- Mean Reversion and the 2012-2013 Eagles Improvement
- Eagles vs. Vikings 2013: Five Questions With Daily Norseman