The Spotlight Will Be On 2 Vikings vs. Eagles

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A devastating loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put the Vikings behind the eight ball in the NFC North, trailing both the Packers and the Lions, who won their opening match. In addition to that, Minnesota travels to Philadelphia to take on the reigning NFC champions, a group that surely looked unbeatable when the Vikes faced them in 2022.

The Spotlight Will Be On 2 Vikings vs. Eagles

The running game was stymied, the offensive line was beaten up by the feared Eagles defensive line, and the Vikings had no chance to stop Hurts passing the ball or the dominant running game behind the league’s top blocking unit.

spotlight will
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This season, the game is expected to be just as much a problem as last year, and two purple players are under pressure to perform better this time. The dynamic duo of Kirk Cousins and his favorite target, Justin Jefferson, was shut out by Darius Slay and Jonathan Gannon’s game plan, mixed with the strong pass rush, giving the passer fits.

Cousins completed 27 of 46 passes for only 221 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. One of those picks was a misunderstanding with Jefferson, who perhaps ran the route incorrectly. The other two were just bad throws.

The wideout caught 6 of 12 targets for 48 yards and was held scoreless. Philly addressed him with star cornerback Slay and a safety over the top. His teammates could not take advantage of their matchups, the offensive line couldn’t hold up, and Cousins looked rattled, so the passing offense was doomed.

Good Things Happen When the Vikings Win on Thanksgiving
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Of course, last year’s contest was in primetime, just like Thursday’s. Minnesota’s QB has a reputation for playing poorly in primetime. The statistics are interesting, though.

In 29 career games kicked off in primetime, Cousins fired up 53 touchdowns and 27 interceptions for 7,884 yards and a passer rating of 94.8. For more context, scaled in a 17-game season, that would result in 31 TDs, 16 interceptions, and 4,621 yards. Those are normal Cousins numbers with a couple of extra interceptions.

He doesn’t play much worse in those time slots, but the big talker against the Eagles will be that he can’t perform when the bright lights are on. The only way to combat that is by pulling off the upset and playing a clean game.

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Jefferson, a first-team All-Pro and Offensive Player of the Year, has shown everything he needs to be considered the league’s top wideout, although some still disagree. The narrative surrounding the 24-year-old is that he doesn’t shine against the elite cornerbacks in the league.

Indeed, some of his worst statistical performances came against Trevon Diggs, Jaire Alexander, and Darius Slay, but there is only so much a WR can do when he is going up against a great player and additional safety help. None of those guys played him one-on-one, no matter how good they were in their own rights, and the Vikings didn’t play well, resulting in Jefferson not getting many chances in the passing game.

JJ will get another chance to prove the remaining doubters wrong on Thursday. The Vikings face a formidable opponent who does the things well the Vikings struggle with. A solid performance in the trenches is essential to get Jefferson and Cousins going.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt