Eagles must stay aggressive against Vikings

0
12

In five games against playoff teams during the regular season, the Vikings averaged 18.5 points conceded, with the Carolina Panthers being the only team to put up more than 30 points in that collection. Losing Sam Bradford was bad enough, but losing Dalvin Cook as well should have been the end of the Vikings.

The Eagles’ offense, despite losing both quarterback Carson Wentz and left tackle Jason Peters for the season, staying among one of the best in the National Football League is a credit to Pederson and the job he has done calling plays. Because no matter how many times that play is shown on highlight programs and replayed on social media, it remains just one step in the direction of a championship. Nobody realized at the time but that was an important score as this not only shifted momentum towards the Eagles favor but also proved that they can move the ball against this defense.

After a thrilling victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday Night, if you are still not a believer in this team than you do not believe in destiny.

The Eagles defense, featuring Kendricks’ brother Michael at outside linebacker, is almost as stout as Minnesota’s, meaning points could come at a premium in Sunday’s matchup. On the NFC’s side a dome team will attempt to go on the road and win in an outdoor stadium, something history has taught us doesn’t happen much in professional football. The Minnesota Vikings used a miracle 61-yard touchdown reception as time expired to propel them to the NFC Championship.

If it takes an underdog to appreciate one, nobody is more of an authority on it than Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who spent his professional career as an understudy.

Once again, it is not hard to understand why. Quarterback Nick Foles faked a pitch to a running back and gave the ball to wide receiver Nelson Agholor on an inside handoff, which left Atlanta’s defense fooled and Agholor with space to run.

They led 24-23 with 25 seconds to play after going into halftime 17-0 down.

In the Eagles’ case, they overcame a 10-6 deficit with three field goals from place-kicker Jake Elliott, then withstood a last-minute drive by the Falcons that ended with a fourth-down incompletion from the 2-yard line. That was insane. I was sitting there going insane in my house as a fan of the game.

Kendricks said the Vikings need to be prepared for the Eagles’ run-pass option schemes and their many playmakers.

Even with Pederson’s bag of tricks working and run-heavy offense clicking, the Eagles managed just one touchdown and 15 total points against the NFL’s eighth-ranked defense. The key will be keeping Case Keenum from getting on the same page with Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, and Stefon Diggs.

Like last week, however, the Eagles are underdogs.

“Overall, they’re solid”, Keenum said of the Eagles defense.

But Minnesota’s miraculous win over New Orleans certainly captivated TV audiences in those two markets: The game averaged a 55.5 rating in the Minneapolis market and 57.3 in New Orleans. I wish we could’ve won, but you know, it was a great game.

The Vikings are used to playing outdoors in similar field conditions in Chicago and Green Bay and have multiple options of cleats they could wear.

Philadelphia’s best shot is to withstand the onslaught for the first three-quarters of the game. But it will have to be real close.

Vikings fans and a lone Saints fan cheer on their teams at Walk On’s Bistreaux and Bar on Sunday Jan. 14, 2018.

So, there is a chance.

The Vikings’ season was basically over.

Keenum said he has heard from some current and former players but wouldn’t name them.

He’s completed at least 70 percent of his throws in eight games and threw multiple interceptions (2) just twice.

Advertisement

By contrast, if Foles and Keenum are able to connect with their receivers, extend drives with third-down conversions and set up a touchdown or two, you’ll be in fantastic shape with the risky over bet. Foles’ familiarity with that system was a big reason the Eagles inked him to be Wentz’s backup last offseason.

Frank Reich Titans

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY