After starting the season with a victory in Detroit, the Eagles look to move to 2-0 as they welcome the Vikings into Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football.
The Vikings started their season off with a impressive 23-7 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. While the Eagles also added one to the win column with a 38-35 victory against the Lions. Before these two teams kick off under the lights, let’s take a look at some key components of this matchup.
Dealing with Justin Jefferson
Do we really need to say anymore? Here in Philadelphia we know the name Justin Jefferson far too well. Of course he was on the board when the Eagles selected in the 2020 NFL Draft but the Eagles opted for Wide Receiver Jalen Reagor instead. The third year receiver out of LSU has posted 3,200 yards and 19 touchdowns in his short career. If the Eagles are going to have any chance in this game they will need to at least contain Jefferson. In week 1 the Pro Bowler had 184 receiving yards and 2 Touchdowns against a good Packers secondary. If Darius Slay and James Bradberry can slow him down, we have a good shot to win this game.
The Vikings do have other good options on offense as well in Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielan. The Eagles struggled mightily with Lions running back D’andre Swift last week and Cook has the potential to be no diffrent. Last week Cook rushed for 90 yards while also catching 3 passes. If the Eagles defense wants to shake off last weeks poor performance they are going to have to do a way better job in the run game.
This offseason Howie Roseman handed out a lucrative 3 year 45 million dollar contract to linebacker Hasson Reddick. In his last two seasons Reddick had 12.5 and 11 sacks respectively. If the Eagles want their defense to be better it has to start up front and Reddick is a big part of that. Last season the Vikings offensive line allowed 30 sacks which was 5th best in the entire NFL. After only one sack on a dropped snap last week the Eagles, and Reddick, need to find a way to get to Cousins.
According to PFF Cousins was their number 1 rated Quarterback when given a “clean pocket” and their 17th ranked Quarterback when he was “under pressure” in 2021. If the Eagles defensive line can create pressure, either organically or with blitzes, it will force Kirk to make quick throws and potentially create some turnovers.
Jalen showed why he is one of the more dynamic Quarterbacks in the NFL in week 1. Against the Lions Jalen threw for 243 yards while also running for 90 yards on 17 attempts. He showed some improvement in ball placement and deep field accuracy while also struggling in areas like pre snap blitz recognition. The Lions blitzed on nearly 50% of their defensive snaps in week 1. Luckily Jalen was able to escape and show how dangerous he can be with the ball in his hands turning potential sacks into first downs. After seeing the damage that he did to the Lions defense with his legs, its pretty safe to assume the Vikings are going to do everything in their power to make him beat them with his arm.
With weapons like Aj Brown, Devonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert he has everything he needs to make the Vikings defense pay for forcing him to throw. He will need to do a better job of staying in the pocket and progressing through his reads as the Vikings can be classified by their own fans as shaky in the secondary. They have some big names like Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith but they are both on the other side of 30. They had a good game in week 1 against sub par receivers from Green Bay so this week will be a big test for them as they go against one of the top receiving cores in the NFL.