THIS is the beginning of an absolutely wicked road trip! I swear, it’s like one of the Eagles slept with the schedule maker’s wife. Hey, speaking of DT Fletcher Cox, QB Kirk Cousins might want to dust off his track shoes. His o-line isn’t the stoutest group of pass blockers, and Homewrecker was the only guy who didn’t eat last week.
This is probably the best team we’ll face until our Bye. That said, after a few days of peeking under their hood, this feels like a “W”. Not like we could win, but like we should win. Look, if I can come up with a game plan to beat Minny, then the Eagles coaching staff has surely already done so.
Unless I’m smarter than they are…
The Eagles have a statement to make. We need to build up some conference cred, after a couple of early stumbles. A win this week, and we guarantee ourselves another week atop the NFC East.
Also, a loss this week practically invalidates last week’s annihilation of New York. Especially since the division rival right behind us, gets to rag-doll whatever we left of the Jets, this Sunday.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Vikings:
1) Stop the run: The idea isn’t to stuff every run. We just need to make it so unreliable that it becomes a liability, and they abandon any real commitment to it. At that point we’ll have taken them out of their wheelhouse, and put them someplace uncomfortable. But how do we do that? What are the nuts and bolts?
Minny likes to give their backs a choice of a high-speed lane, and cutback lane. They do this by getting an extra blocker outside of their Tackles, which triggers defenses to over-pursue. The RB hangs back, reads it and, just picks a hole. The result is every RB on their roster, averaging 5.6 yards per carry or better.
So how do we bring down a charging bull?? We do it with two small, quick tweaks.
Step 1: Staying within our Wide Nine, we use a 4 – 3 Under front with our LB’s. Weakside, Middle and Strongside (WIL, MIKE, SAM).
If that Slot WR is worrying you, don’t let it. FB C.J. Ham (yes, Fullback) has 3 starts, and TE Irv Smith has the other 2 so far. So our base Defense may be out there quite a bit until the Vikings scrap the run.
Step 2: Play contain outside of the Tackles, avoid engaging them, and take on the outside blockers, to either force runs back inside, or string them to the sideline.
Again, Minnesota relies on their RB’s to read. That means they can’t hit holes immediately. That will help us trap them in the backfield, and force passing situations. Thus the game will be put in Kirk Cousins’s hands.
2) Protect the ball: Obvious right? For the Vikings this one has more meaning. In their 3 wins, they have forced at least one turnover. In their 2 losses, they don’t have a single one between them. This team needs their opponent to help them. So let’s not do that.
3) Go BIG:
Three quarters of their secondary is the same one that WR Alshon Jeffery tormented in 2017. They have some tall DB’s, but they’re just tall. They lack the athleticism to play vs size. This would be a nice game to see rookie WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside emerge as a factor. If not, we still have this guy…
4) Show fear: That is not a typo. We need to jump on this team, from coin toss to hand shake. We make them play from behind, and then we just keep hitting them.
Early on, we need to be a lioness, desperate to defend her cubs. Later, we need to be a lion ending the next generation of a rival male. At no point should we seem relaxed. Our fear. Our urgency, should be on open display.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
The Vikings are as desperate as we are. Their only two losses are divisional, so they are 3-2 and STILL in 4th place. They need this win. Probably more than we do. That means they will come out in their Sunday best, giving 110%, leaving it all out on the hackneyed cliché, yadda blah, and so forth.
Would now be a shitty time to mention that all of their wins are against teams that have trouble scoring? The highest ranked offense they’ve beaten so far is 18th. We are not Atlanta, Oakland, or the giants. The Eagles are 7th in scoring. And that’s with a run game that we couldn’t count on half the time, and our top receivers injured.
The Vikings are a run reliant team, not a quick-strike team. They’ll make a ton of catches, because our CB’s play 20 yard cushions. Their QB will complete 700% of his passes, and he’ll roll up a lot of pointless yardage to pad his stats. However, once we take the run away, all they will have left, will be Kirk Cousins. And yes, Kirk. We DO like that.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 28 – Vikings 17