Well, the Vikings' Three Amigos of Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook woke up and played to their abilities, albeit against an inferior Giants defense. Was it a mirage? They get a bigger test in the Eagles, who have won two straight and face a tough test on the road.
But if you combine that laugher with a huge win over Green Bay in Week 4, then building enthusiasm for the Eagles (3-2) seems warranted. The Vikings (3-2) are tough at home, but most likely can’t withstand Philadelphia’s strong pass-rush.
Both teams can stop the run, so it comes down to which quarterback, Carson Wentz or Kirk Cousins, can distribute the ball under some heat without committing turnovers. Cousins will hit on some big plays against the Eagles' secondary, but Wentz will be a little more versatile as the Eagles play the better ball-control game.
Keep betting against Kirk Cousins when he faces good teams until the quarterback proves he can beat a true contender. Minnesota’s offense has played well against mediocre competition while struggling against winning teams. Philadelphia remains one of the NFC’s top teams. Carson Wentz will make the plays down the stretch that Cousins can’t.
Is this a big game? It seems like it. That's not good news for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings and Cousins impressed last week against the Giants, but not this week. The Eagles have found themselves and they are getting right.
There may not be a single team in the NFC the Eagles deserve to be this big of an underdog against, certainly not the up-and-down Vikings. Philadelphia has one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, one that’s gotten a bit healthier over the last two weeks, even though the market continues to price it otherwise.
Philadelphia has allowed 3.2 yards per carry this season, but it hasn’t faced a team with a good ground attack yet. The Eagles will be tested this week against Dalvin Cook, who’s averaging nearly six yards per carry. Minnesota also ranks third in net yards per play, while Philly, despite its 3-2 record, is 23rd.
Is there a more overpaid, overrated player in the league than Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who gets $28 million this season with a record of 35-32-1 since becoming a full-time starter. He needs to be aware of that Eagles pass rush that had 10 sacks last week against the Jets.
If the Eagles have proven one thing this season, it's that they can't stop the pass. Although they only gave up 61 yards to the Jets on Sunday -- against New York's third-string quarterback -- they're still giving up more passing yards per game than almost any other team in the NFL (They're sixth-worst in the NFL, surrendering 271.2 yards per game). The Eagles are going to spend so much time focusing on Dalvin Cook that it's going to give Cousins a chance to prove to the Vikings that they didn't just throw $84 million in the trash when they signed him to that fully guaranteed deal last year.
The most evenly-matched game of the week. Minnesota (3-2) and Philadelphia (3-2) both have great strengths and obvious flaws. Give me the home team, even if the quarterback is terrifying to bet on against a decent team.
Mike: Vikings. The Eagles haven’t faced a running attack like Minnesota’s (5.4 yards per carry) this season, and the Vikings are much better at home, averaging 31 points per game in their big glass house.
Pro Football Focus has Minnesota with the No. 1 run defense grade and No. 1 tackling grade. It also has the Vikings with the No. 5 coverage grade, which is unsurprising when you consider Minnesota ranks first in opponent yards per completion (8.0). The Eagles will have trouble moving the football against the Vikings’ defense, which is supremely talented at all three levels and built to slow Philadelphia’s collection of weapons.
LOCK (1.5 UNITS)