I’m no Kirk Cousins fan.
But even as one of his biggest skeptics, I can admit he at least offers a level of competency.
And that much should concern Eagles fans entering Philadelphia’s home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football.
Because whenever Jonathan Gannon has been tasked with stopping a quarterback who isn’t obviously one of the worst starters in the league, well, the results haven’t been pretty.
- Jimmy Garoppolo: 22/30 (73.3%), 189 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 100.6 passer rating
- Dak Prescott: 21/26 (80.8%), 238 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 143.3 passer rating
- Patrick Mahomes: 24/30 (80%), 278 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT, 131.0 passer rating
- Tom Brady: 34/42 (81%), 297 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 102.1 passer rating
- Derek Carr: 31/34 (91.2%), 323 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 113.6 passer rating
- Justin Herbert: 32/38 (84.2%), 2 TD, 0 INT, 123.1 passer rating
- Tom Brady (again): 29/37 (78.4%), 271 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 115.2 passer rating
What evidence is there to suggest Gannon will effectively limit Cousins? The Eagles just gave up 35 points to the Lions last week. And Detroit doesn’t have Justin Jefferson or Dalvin Cook.
This isn’t to suggest the Eagles don’t stand a chance at winning on Monday night. Their offense’s ability to put up points could allow them to win in a shootout. Minnesota appears to be vulnerable on the ground and the Birds should be able to take advantage.
Will Nick Sirianni stay committed to running the ball if the Vikings go up big early, though? Will Jalen Hurts be able to carry the Eagles with his arm if need be?
I don’t love picking against the Eagles when considering they’ll have a raucous crowd that will only help Gannon’s unit. Ultimately, though, Philly’s defensive coordinator just doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt right now. He has much to prove in a big spot.
Though it’s only Week 2, the stakes are relatively high. The result of this game could impact seeding in the NFC playoff picture (perhaps for the No. 1 overall spot?!) down the line.
And for a team that struggled against quality competition last year, this is a chance for the Eagles to show they’re not just about beating up on cupcakes. A win tonight gives the Birds more credibility.
Let’s see if they can prove the doubters wrong.
Score prediction: 42 to 35, Eagles lose.
Bold prediction: Kirk Cousins completes at least 88% of his attempts.
Leave your own score predictions in the comments.
Which team will win?
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