The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t started a season 2-0 since the 2016 season. Apart from the team’s success over the last few years even with starting 1-1, the team has gotten a much tougher opponent in their second game than their first to start the season.
Minnesota is a team whose history is tied just as important to the city of Philadelphia. The Eagles have faced the Vikings 29 times with four of those being in the postseason. Philadelphia has won every postseason contest between the two teams but even has a part of their history etched in Viking lore.
Randall Cunningham’s return to the NFL from Philly helped the Vikings lead one of the greatest offenses in NFL history in 1998. The Adrian Peterson years were hamstrung by poor quarterback play that helped other teams make deep playoff runs. And who can forget the magical “Minneapolis Miracle” that was quickly shushed the following week in the NFC Title game?
The Eagles and Vikings have a long history together. Let’s take a look at what you need to know in the latest matchup between old NFC foes.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings
When: Monday, September 19th, 8:30 pm – ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
How to Watch: Monday Night Football – ABC
DNP: Andrew Booth Jr.
Limited: DJ Woonum
IR: Derek Barnett, Andre Dillard
Keys to the Game
Contain Passing Attack
You can have two separate paragraphs on the importance of limiting Kirk Cousins’ connection to Justin Jefferson. Both players will be key cogs for Minnesota on Monday night. Cousins has a 6-3 record against the Eagles and has a 21:6 TD:INT ratio. Philly has struggled to find an answer for Cousins throughout his career. After a dismal showing on opening day, there is little room for a repeat performance. The Eagles must keep hold of Cousins and Vikings’ top wideout Justin Jefferson if they have any chance of keeping it close.
Jalen Hurts’ continued growth
Jalen Hurts was very good in week one against Detroit. His escape-ability allowed for the Eagles’ offense to stay on schedule and win the game. Minnesota poses a far greater challenge. Jordan Hicks, Eric Kendricks, and Za’Darius Smith are linebackers that will make life miserable for the Eagles quarterback if he can’t win from the pocket. Monday night will be an excellent chance for Hurts to prove doubters wrong and continue to show his improvement. The Eagles won’t win if Hurts doesn’t make plays with his arm.
Tackle like a pro team
We can talk about the importance of limiting the Viking offense schematically. In reality, the main culprit as to why the Eagles struggled on defense last Sunday wasn’t Jonathan Gannon: it was tackling. The team had the most missed tackles all across football in week one and repeatedly gave the Lions more chances to move past the sticks and score. The Lions are a fiesty team. The Vikings will make you pay if you miss tackles on Dalvin Cook or Adam Theilen. Philadelphia can not afford to have another poor tackling performance.
X-Factor: Eagles Offensive Line
While Pro Football Focus gives a very positive grade to the Eagles’ front line, the eye test tells a much different story from last week. Miscommunications, missed assignments, and more led to the Eagles line really struggling to deflect a pedestrian Lions group. Minnesota’s defensive line is much better. The Eagles will need to be much better up front in order to throw the ball against a leaky secondary for Minnesota. There are plays to be had in the passing game, but it won’t mean anything if Jalen Hurts is running for his life again.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire