AFTER churning out 216 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 5.5 yards per carry, all on the ground, guess what we’re getting! A Vikings team that allowed the lowly Packers, to run for 118 yards and a 6.2 yard average. Looks like this HOME OPENER is one of those “Just run the ball” (mainly with RB Miles Sanders) type situations. SO LET’S GO!!!
A win means going to 2 – 0, and holding onto the division lead by virtue of defeating two conference opponents. A loss makes us .500 and probably puts us in second place. That is, unless the entire division loses out, which would leave things just as they are.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: Vikings
1) Stop Being Lazy Tacklers: Last week, there were too many repeated instances of our defenders not wrapping up. It also looked as if fatigue was a factor. Players didn’t play during the preseason, so none of them got “seasoned”. They came to camp in workout shape, but never played their way into FOOTBALL shape.
What happened is, they got tired, and the tackle attempts became lazy. Listen, our guys don’t need a refresher in tackling technique. They’re defensive players. They’ve been tackling people for years now. They know how to do it, they just have to not be lazy about it this week.
2) Don’t Get Rattled: Minnesota’s victory last week looks dominant at a glance, but when you get under the hood, context tells a very different story. It was a game where they scored a first quarter, and a late second quarter touchdown. Their final three scores were just field goals. From 17 points in the first half, to just 6 in the second. Green Bay clearly figured out how to slow them down. We can learn from that.
Speaking of the Packers, two of Minny’s key defensive contributors, OLB Zadarius Smith and CB Chandon Sullivan, jumped ship from Green Bay this offseason. So the Viking defense got two guys who could explain Green Bay’s defense, and who had also gone against QB Aaron Rodgers in many practices. So the Vikings had the Packers blueprints! They’ll have no such advantage this week.
3) Eagles vs Kerrigan: From 2017 and 2019, we swept the Redskins for three years straight. Our game plan was simple. Use their strength as a weakness. Since their 3-4 OLB’s (one of which was Ryan Kerrigan) were more like DE’s in a 5-2, the Flat was generally going to be 7-11 (always open). We killed them for years throwing Outs to TE Zach Ertz, and Wheel routes to RB’s like Darren Sproles and Boston Scott.
Fast forward to now. Having OLB’s who are 263, and 272 pound pass rushers, the Vikings actually have DE’s playing more of a 5 – 2 front. With their pass rush coming off the edge, and trying to contain QB Jalen Hurts, this week would be a great week for some RB Screens, and some Outs to TE Dallas Goedert.
4) Work the Hash: Hurts likes to bootleg to his right. Everyone knows it, which is why last week, Detroit repeatedly stacked blitzers on their left edge. Hurts didn’t throw any picks against it, but he was hurried repeatedly. Expect to see that keep happening, until Hurts solves it. Okay now here’s how to solve it: Passes to the TE or the Slot WR right along the hash.
Any edge blitz in a 5 – 2 they’d have to declare early. So they won’t do that. What they’ll more likely do, is walk an ILB up into a gap, and cause an overloaded end. If that happens, then the TE should be immediately open, up the hash. The only way to take that away, would be to drop the OLB, giving Hurts room to run.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
Last week’s game against the Lions had no business being as hard as it was. We played down to a lesser team, and it may be providing this week’s opponent with more confidence than they would otherwise come to Philly with. Unfortunately, we created that problem, and we’re going to have it until we prove it’s no longer a problem.
As far as covering the Vikings WR’s, that’s why we have CB Darius Slay, and CB James Bradberry. We also have depth there, but the focus will be on forcing QB Kirk Cousins to hold onto the ball. The Vikings don’t run the same offense as Detroit, so stop being haunted by QB Jared Goff’s release time last week. Focus on the opponent in front of us.
If this game were being played in Minnesota, I’d write it up as a loss. There would be too many intangibles against us (opponent confidence, us being haunted by a shaky performance, their crowd, travel, etc.) However, playing here means that that playing field has been leveled.
With a level playing field, it’s down to superior talent and execution. They have a great roster, but they don’t have ours. The Vikings scored 23 points last week. We scored 24 points. In the second quarter last week. They’re a legit team, but not worth worrying over.
FYI: WR Jalen Reagor has started in an NFL Playoff game. WR Justin Jefferson has never even been in an NFL Playoff game.
Prediction: EAGLES 27 – Vikings 20
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.