Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)
This game is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship, with the Vikings returning to Philadelphia, where they lost 38-7 last year. The common narrative is that both teams have disappointed since then and that seems to be reflected in this line, as the Eagles are just 3 point favorites at home, suggesting that these two teams are about even, but the Eagles are much better positioned coming into this game.
The Vikings rank 23rd in first down rate differential at -2.15%, while the Eagles rank 7th at +2.95%. The Vikings’ secondary has surprisingly struggled and is now without starting cornerback Trae Wayne with a concussion, while their defensive line is not nearly the same with Everson Griffen out. A defense that suffered next to no injuries last season is showing it’s cracks. On offense, their passing game has been potent, but they’ve struggled to run the ball with Dalvin Cook in and out of the lineup with injuries and an offensive line that struggles to block.
The Eagles, meanwhile, haven’t played quite as well as they did last year, but Carson Wentz looks great in his return, which is the most important thing, now going into his 3rd straight start, and they could easily be 3-1 right now, after an overtime loss in Tennessee last week. If the Eagles were 3-1 right now, I think they’d be favored by at least 4.5 points, probably 6 points in this game. Even in a loss, the Eagles played well on the road against a solid team.
The Eagles are not fully healthy with running back Darren Sproles, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, safety Rodney McLeod, and defensive end Derek Barnett out, but they weren’t fully healthy last year either. They’ve also gotten running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery back from injury and overall still have one of the best rosters in the NFL. The Vikings are a solid team, but I have this line calculated at Philadelphia -7.5, so we’re getting great line value with the Eagles this week. My one concern with the Eagles is that they have to play the Giants again in 4 days on Thursday Night Football, but this is a much bigger game for them. Without another obvious choice this week, the Eagles are my Pick of the Week.
Philadelphia Eagles 31 Minnesota Vikings 23
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -3
Confidence: Pick of the Week