The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in a bit of an unusual position with the Minnesota Vikings coming to town this Sunday.
In the Eagles’ last two games against the Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field, it was the home team that entered the matchup as underdogs.
Back in 2016, the 5-0 Vikings rolled into Philly as three-point road favorites. That didn’t work out so well for Minnesota. The Eagles’ pass rush harassed Sam Bradford all game long en route to a 21-10 victory. (Minnesota’s sole touchdown came in garbage time with 37 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.)
But that game obviously wasn’t the Vikings’ most embarrassing loss in Philly. No, that was when Minnesota came to town as 3.5-point road favorites in the NFC Championship Game earlier this year. With backup quarterback Nick Foles under center, the Eagles obliterated the Vikings by a final score of 38 to 7 in order to advance to the Super Bowl. The Eagles then won that Super Bowl hosted in Minnesota’s own home stadium. Ouch.
As previously noted, things are different for this week’s game. The Vikings are NOT favored coming into Philly. Nor should they be. Minnesota is off to 1-2-1 start and they could easily be 1-3 if Kirk Cousins didn’t have a game-ending interception cancelled by this BS penalty:
Do not hit quarterbacks high. Do not hit quarterbacks low. Do not hit them in the midriff. Roughing the passer on Clay Matthews. pic.twitter.com/pFyMnXxqxG— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) September 16, 2018
Instead, it’s the Eagles who enter this game as standard three-point home favorites. That’s how it should be.
Yes, there are very real concerns about this Philadelphia team. This weekend figures to be a tough challenge for them given how desperate the Vikings will be.
But the reality is the Eagles have the best home field advantage in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. They’re 17-3 in that span.
A potential problem is that one of those three losses came to the quarterback who is starting for the Vikings this weekend: Kirk Cousins. (Or, as Doug Pederson referred to him, “Kurt.”) Cousins, as we know, has typically played well against the Eagles in the past: 64.4% completion for 2,122 yards (7.7 average), 16 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 99.7 passer rating. The Vikings’ dangerous wide receiver duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen will certainly challenge an Eagles secondary that’s looking mighty vulnerable right now.
Heading into this season, Doug Pederson declared “Embrace the target” as a motto for this year’s team. He cautioned that the Eagles, as reigning Super Bowl champs, aren’t going to be easily overlooked. That has been the case so far and it’ll continue to be on Sunday as the Vikings try to avoid dropping to 1-3-1.
How the Eagles perform on Sunday will tell us a lot about this 2018 team moving forward.
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