The Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles both won their opener and jumped ahead in the NFL odds to be the favorites in their respective divisions going into Week 2. Now they meet in the second game of a Monday night doubleheader in Philadelphia.
The Eagles are a 2.5-point home favorite with a total of 50.5 points at many of the top-rated sportsbooks.
With both teams having serious playoff aspirations in a wide-open NFC, this game should be a great litmus test for two franchises that have not won many big games since they met in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.
Monday, September 19, 2022 – 08:30 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
All-Star Wide Receiver Show: Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown
If you are tuning into this game over the Bills-Titans game going on at the same time this Monday, it might be because you want to see these two great wide receivers make plays.
Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson and Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown lead the NFL in receiving yards after Week 1 and will now meet in Week 2. Jefferson’s 184 yards against Green Bay are a career-high as he looked outstanding in his first game with new head coach Kevin O’Connell.
Brown also tied his career high with 155 yards against Detroit, showing in one game exactly why the Eagles felt he was worth the draft-night trade from Tennessee.
With these receivers, it does not matter if you can throw veteran corners like Patrick Peterson (Vikings) and Darius Slay (Eagles) at them. They deserve a double team, and defenses seem to hesitate to do that in this league.
Other Weapons Are Just as Important
But it also comes down to who the other weapons are too, and this is where the Eagles should have an edge. Dallas Goedert is a better tight end than the Minnesota duo of Irv Smith Jr. and Johnny Mundt.
Adam Thielen has been a fine receiver in the NFL for Minnesota, but at 32, his best days are behind him.
The Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith in the first round last year for explosive plays. On Sunday, he had the first game of his career without a catch on four targets.
But have no fear, Smith also had season lows of one catch for 15 yards on three targets in Detroit last year. The Eagles lit up the scoreboard in both wins.
Smith is going to be a bigger part of this offense starting in this game. If Brown and Jefferson cool down from their absurd production in the opener, look for Smith and Goedert to pick up the slack better than the Minnesota supporting cast.
Which Quarterback Do You Trust?
With the way the Packers and Cowboys look right now, it is very possible that the Vikings and Eagles take over those divisions this year and win at least 10 games. If they do become those kinds of teams, then this is an interesting matchup as these are precisely the games both teams have been losing for years.
Since Kirk Cousins joined the Vikings in 2018, the team is 3-23 against teams that go on to win at least 10 games. Two of the wins have been against the Packers, the division foe the Vikings just got the best of again on Sunday.
Since Jalen Hurts was drafted in 2020, the Eagles are 1-15 against playoff teams, including an 0-7 record in 2021. The only win was Hurts’ first start against the 2020 Saints, but even that game featured Taysom Hill at quarterback instead of Drew Brees. It is not a stretch to say this would be the biggest win of Hurts’ NFL career.
Cousins was once 0-9 on Monday Night Football before winning a game each of the last two years against lousy Chicago offenses. Can he step up if the Eagles hang a decent point total here? The Eagles scored at least 22 points in all but one home game under head coach Nick Sirianni last season.
If both teams go on to make the playoffs, it would not be a stretch to say for the winner that this was one of the biggest wins they have had in the last five seasons.
The Run Game Edge Goes to Philly
Both teams are going to stay committed to the run, but can we trust the defenses?
The Vikings’ Defense
The Vikings got a solid game out of Dalvin Cook with 90 yards against Green Bay, but their own run defense had some holes, with the Packers averaging 6.6 yards per run on 17 attempts.
Green Bay just lacked the polished receiving corps without Davante Adams to properly deal with the Minnesota defense. The Eagles won’t have that issue with Brown, Smith, and Goedert.
The Eagles’ Defense
Meanwhile, the Eagles rushed for 216 yards in Detroit with four different players scoring a touchdown, including another for Hurts and finally one for Miles Sander after he was shut out from the end zone in 2021.
However, the Eagles got pushed around a bit on the ground by the Lions, a rare thing to say in the NFL. D’Andre Swift popped an early 50-yard run, but even subtracting that, the Lions still had 131 yards on the ground and nearly came back from a 38-21 deficit in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia has some work to do there as the 181 yards allowed to Detroit would have been the team’s second-most allowed in a game in 2021.
But with Hurts’ ability to run, I would give the edge to the Eagles in the rushing department in this matchup.
Vikings vs. Eagles: Our Betting Pick and Prediction
The Vikings bring a more accomplished quarterback to this matchup, and they have the best wide receiver (Jefferson) and best running back (Cook) in this game too. But the Eagles stack up well with a more balanced offense, and Brown is on a short list of receivers who could upstage Jefferson in this game.
With the offensive talent involved and both teams showing issues with stopping the run in Week 1, I like the NFL odds of the over to hit in this game. Since 2020, the over has hit in 64.7% of Minnesota’s road games, the third-highest rate in the league. Under Sirianni, Philadelphia’s home games have seen the over go 6-2 since 2021.
I trust corners Darius Slay and James Bradberry to do their best against Jefferson more than I trust Patrick Peterson and any other Minnesota defensive back to contain Brown. Peterson should have been burned for a 75-yard touchdown on Green Bay’s first play on Sunday, but rookie Christian Watson dropped the ball. Brown is catching that if he’s open.
As hard as it is to trust either of these teams in a big game, I am going to go with the Eagles to cover at home where they have usually protected the ball and scored well under Sirianni. But it should be fun to see these two teams try to ascend to the next tier in the NFC this year.
NFL Pick: Eagles -2.5 (-108) at MaximBet
NFL Pick: Over 50.5 (-110) at BetMGM