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Matchups Week 2: Vikings vs. Eagles

Vikings vs. Eagles

Monday Night Football: Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

Spread: Eagles -2.

Game Total: 51.5.

Team Totals: Eagles (26.75), Vikings (24.75)

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns. 

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Eagles -2.
  • This line fluctuated between Eagles -1.5 and Eagles -3 at various books earlier this week. It’s now settled between Eagles -2 and Eagles -2.5 as of Friday night.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Eagles -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Eagles -2.
  • This total opened at 49.5 points for a very brief period before it was steamed up to the 51.5 and 52-point area Monday morning.
  • This total moved up fast before sliding back down late this week between the 50.5 and 51.5 range. If you’re considering betting this total, make sure you shop for the best line first. 

Notable Injuries

Eagles: OT Andre Dillard (IR), Edge Derek Barnett (IR), LG Landon Dickerson (Questionable).

Vikings: None.

The Eagles Offense vs. the Vikings Defense

The Eagles have a premium offensive line that will give them an edge against Minnesota’s front in the run game. However, Minnesota’s pass rush led by their edge duo of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith is a quality group that beat up Aaron Rodgers on opening day. While the Eagles offensive line gives them an edge in the run game, I’m treating this as more of a minimal edge for Philly in pass protection.

The addition of A.J. Brown was huge for the Eagles offense, as it made wide receiver DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert complementary pieces. This trio is capable of giving most secondaries problems, including Minnesota’s. Eagles pass catchers have a mild edge against the Vikings secondary.

Notes and Observations

  • The Eagles are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Eagles are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Jalen Hurts was eighth in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Hurts was last in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • Hurts led all quarterbacks with 90 yards rushing last week.
  • Having watched every snap of Lions vs. Eagles, A.J. Brown was very impressive, but Jalen Hurts did not look like he improved as a passer this offseason.
  • The Vikings allowed the 12th most rushing yards and the fifth most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Minnesota yielded the fifth-fewest receiving yards on the 12th fewest receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • The Vikings gave up the seventh most receiving yards on the sixth most receptions to tight ends in Week 1.
  • Minnesota held Aaron Rodgers Packers to just seven points on opening day.

The Vikings Offense vs. the Eagles Defense

Philadelphia has a top-ten caliber front four headlined by their deep and talented interior. They will be tough to handle for Minnesota’s solid but unspectacular offensive line. The Eagles front four has a moderate trench advantage against Minnesota.

The Vikings have one of the best skill groups in the NFL, headlined by Dalvin Cook and Offensive Player of the Year candidate Justin Jefferson. Outside of maybe the Saints wide receivers, few position groups saw a more significant infusion of talent than the Eagles secondary this offseason. Last year, the Vikings pass catchers would have had a notable macro edge against the Eagles secondary. Philadelphia has closed that gap substantially with the additions of CB James Bradberry and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Notes and Observations

  • The Vikings are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Vikings are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Kirk Cousins was fourth in play-action pass percentage on opening day. 
  • Cousins was next to last in air yards per attempt among opening day starters.
  • Minnesota faced a trench disadvantage in Week 1 against Green Bay. That could explain Cousins’ surprisingly low air yards per attempt in the opener. It could also suggest that a similar macro game plan (meaning short, quick throws to help mitigate pressure) is coming against the Eagles on Monday night.
  • The Eagles gave up the third most rushing yards and the 15th most receiving yards to running backs in Week 1.
  • Before you automatically apply that figure as a positive for Dalvin Cook, the Lions have a top-ten, bordering on top-five type of offensive line. I have Minnesota more towards the back side of average in that area.
  • Despite playing with a lead for most of opening day, Philadelphia allowed the 12th fewest receiving yards on the 15th most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Eagles allowed the 18th most receiving yards on the 17th most receptions to tight ends on opening day.

This is What You’re Betting On in Vikings vs. Eagles

A bet on the Eagles is a bet on one of the very best non-quarterback rosters in the league. The Eagles have top-ten, bordering on top-five caliber lines on both sides of the ball. The acquisition of A.J. Brown gives them an excellent collection of pass catchers. After their offseason additions, even the Eagles secondary is in the conversation as a top-ten type of unit. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni showed last year that his staff is willing to adjust as needed. That sounds like that should be a given for every coaching staff, but it isn’t. I view Sirianni’s staff as more of an asset today than I did a year ago.

Jalen Hurts’ ability to throw the football consistently and effectively is the only real question mark keeping the Eagles from being a team that can contend for the top spot in the conference. If Hurts plays well this season, Philadelphia is right there. That also makes Hurts your biggest concern with any Eagles bet against a talented Vikings team this Monday night.

A bet on the Vikings is a bet on a very talented offense headlined by an often-misunderstood quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Consistency can sometimes be an issue for Cousins, especially in primetime games. Overall, at least a dozen NFL teams would immediately upgrade at quarterback if Cousins took over for them. A bet on the Vikings is a bet on a top-ten caliber offense. A bet on Minnesota in this spot can also be a bet against Jalen Hurts.

I have two main concerns on a Vikings bet here. The first is that they played their A-game last week in their dominant win over Green Bay. While that doesn’t preclude a good team like Minnesota from playing well again in Philly, some negative regression is on the table here. My second concern is that the Eagles have a few matchup advantages in this game while having a strong enough roster to mitigate some of Minnesota’s strengths.

Vikings vs. Eagles Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: This is a relative coin flip game in winner pools. However, it would not surprise me if the Vikings ended up being taken in roughly 60% of entries despite being an underdog. That pushes me closer to taking Philly in mine. In confidence pool rankings, I expect whoever I go with in this matchup to be ranked in my bottom five.

Spread Pool: I think I will stay away from this game in tournaments, but as of now, I’m going to take the Eagles in my every-game ATS pools.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.