Game Review – PHI 24, MIN 7

Posted: September 22nd, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Week 2. Monday Night Football. Vikings, Eagles. A big test for both teams. The Eagles shut down the elite receiver and made big plays on offense and defense. They won and sent a message to the rest of the NFC.

That happened back in 2004. That Eagles team ended up going to the Super Bowl.

Nick Sirianni’s 2022 Eagles team just beat the Vikings on MNF in Week 2. The Eagles shut down the elite receiver and made big plays on offense and defense. It sure felt like they sent a message to the rest of the NFC.

We’ve got a long wait before we’ll know if this team is Super Bowl worthy, but they were terrific on Monday.

I was quietly confident in the Eagles winning the game. Minnesota had a lot of hype after their win over Green Bay, but people seemed to be buying in a little too much. The Packers were missing both of their starting OTs. They were on the road. MIN had a new coaching staff so their schemes were going to be new. They had a lot of advantages in that game and that helped them to win, 23-7.

The Eagles were going to be a very different story. They have an elite pair of OTs. They had home field advantage. They had tape to study. Everyone focused on how the Eagles would handle Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Fair enough. But the Eagles do have three good corners. The Vikings had to handle AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins with Patrick Peterson, Cam Dantzler and Chandon Sullivan. Advantage Eagles. Big time.

This wasn’t a perfect performance by the Eagles. They didn’t score in the second half. They were sloppy on STs. They had a couple of blown coverages. But that also speaks to how good the team can be. They were dominant without being perfect.

Don’t write off the Vikings. They have some things to build off. They had some crucial dropped passes (one for a long TD). Make those catches and we’ve got a different game. They did tackle well. Dantzler was very good in space. LB Eric Kendricks was a pain in the butt all night long. The Eagles only had 4 plays go for more than 20 yards. Kirk Cousins only got sacked twice on 49 pass attempts.

COACHING

The Eagles out-coached the Vikings on offense and defense. Give Sirianni, Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen credit for putting together good gameplans.

Gannon got his guys to beat a good QB for the first time in his Eagles tenure. Say what you want about Gannon, but he’s put up big QB numbers in recent years and has done well against the Eagles. Holding him to 27-46-221 and coming up with 3 INTs is impressive. Gannon mixed up his coverages and let his guys blitz more. It worked really well. Also, the tackling issues from the opener mostly disappeared.

Sirianni did a great job late in the half. The Eagles got the ball at their own 5-yd line with 1:21 left. They got a first down, but slow-played the clock in doing so. They didn’t want to risk giving the ball back to MIN with a bunch of time left. The Eagles worked their way out to the 37 with :22 left. They called a timeout. That was good enough field position to be aggressive and enough time to still get something done. Hurts then hit Goedert for gains of 19 and 24 yards to get the Eagles into FG range. Those 3 points didn’t make a difference on the scoreboard, but that had to be very deflating to the Vikings.

Kevin O’Connell called a timeout early in that possession.  He wanted the ball back. Without that extra timeout, the Eagles might not have gone down to score.

OFFENSE

The Eagles were 7 for 13 on 3rd downs. They never had to go for it on 4th down.

They were 1 for 2 in the red zone.

The Eagles had a lot of offensive success despite terrible field position. They never got the ball beyond their own 25. They had 7 possessions start inside the 20-yard line. Nothing came easy.

QB

Jalen Hurts played the best game of his career, going 26-31-333 with a TD. He also was 11-57-2 on the ground. Hurts made a few throws on the move, but did most of his damage from the pocket. He made some impressive tight window throws. He worked the middle and the left side of the field. This is real, tangible progress from last year. All  that work on his mechanics has paid off.

Hurts made good decisions and spread the ball around. Four different Eagles had 69 or more receiving yards. Eight different players caught passes. He hit Watkins for a 53-yard TD. We’ve seen Hurts miss some of those in the past. His accuracy is better than ever.

The Vikings were able to limit Hurts as a runner. Take away his 26-yard TD run and he was 10-31 on the ground the rest of the game. As I mentioned earlier, they tackled really well.

As good as Hurts was, we also have to fault the Vikings coaches. They played a lot of 2-high looks and kept things pretty static. That made life easy for Hurts and his receivers. Hurts shredded them, which is what you’re supposed to do.

Hurts threw one INT. It was a screen pass that Kenny Gainwell bobbled and it went to a LB. Hurts threw a catchable pass. I thought he made a poor decision to throw the ball. The Eagles were up 24-7. There was 8:18 left in the game. The Eagles were at their own 24. You have to be smart in that situation. Think risk/reward. Gainwell had a DT right on him. Hurts had to throw the ball awkwardly to get it to him. Gainwell should have made the catch. No one disputes that. I just think the smart play would have been for Hurts to just run for a couple of yards and keep the clock running. Instead, the Vikings got the ball deep in Eagles territory and could have really changed the game.

RB

Miles Sanders is off to a strong start this year. He was 17-80 in this game and ran hard. He’s making the most out of the blocking. This hasn’t always been the case in the past. Kudos to him for that. Both Sanders and Gainwell had good blitz pickups. Love seeing those guys do such a good job on the dirty work. Sanders caught 3 passes but for only 6 yards. Good tackling. Boston Scott had a terrific 16-yard run on a draw. That was a great call with good blocking. And Scott executed it perfectly.

WR

The Eagles wanted to get the ball to DeVonta Smith. Seems like the Vikings wanted that as well. I saw him covered by LBs on some plays. There were at least 2 plays where guys wearing 90’s were on Smitty. He went 7-80 after going catchless in the opener.

Brown was 5-69. He had one highlight play.

Watkins was 2-69, including the long TD. Zach Pascal caught a couple of passes. Really good night for the WRs. They got open and caught everything that came their way.

TE

Dallas Goedert was 5-82. He had catches of 24, 19 and 18 yards. You throw it to him short and he just makes things happen. He’s really become a weapon. And his blocking is so good. One of the things I really appreciate is his blocking down the field. Look at his block on the Brown play above. Goedert didn’t try to kill anyone and draw a flag. Just got in their way and added yards to the play. Goedert had the key block on Hurts TD run. That was supposed to be a pass, but the defender stuck to Goedert so Hurts just ran it. Goedert paved the way for him to get near the goal line. Smart.

Quiet game for Stoll and Togiai.

OL

Jordan Mailata did not have a strong game. He gave up a sack, had a holding call and a false start. He got beaten a couple of times. Mailata won most of his battles and Hurts had time to throw on most attempts, but Mailata needs to clean some things up.

Landon Dickerson was called for being upfield on 2 plays, both legit. He’s got to clean that up.

Overall, the line played really well. The Vikings have some talented guys up front. The Eagles were able to get movement in the run game and protection in the passing game. I’ve been impressed by how natural Isaac Seumalo looks at RG. He’s fit in well there.

DEFENSE

The Vikings were only 4 of 12 on 3rd downs.

They were just 1 for 4 in the red zone.

They didn’t have any play go for 20 or more yards. They averaged just 4.5 yards per play.

DL

Jonathan Gannon talked about the DL winning a lot of matchups. I had mixed feelings on their performance. Josh Sweat and Javon Hargrave were the only two I would say had a good game. The other guys made a play here or there. Sweat was disruptive on a regular basis. He had one sack and lost another to a facemask penalty (legit call). He came close a couple of other times. He did have 3 TFLs.

Hargrave was the one DT who was disruptive on a regular basis. The stat sheet shows one tackle, but the film was better than that. He got a hand in Cousins face several times and forced errant throws.

Fletcher Cox had a strip sack. Brandon Graham got in on a couple of tackles. Jordan Davis was darn near silent. Tui outplayed him. Davis hasn’t looked the same since the first half of the opener. Did he get hurt? Are NFL blockers just giving him tough lessons? Weird.

Tarron Jackson only played a few snaps and was quiet.

LB

TJ Edwards had a great game. He led the team with 10 tackles. He had a TFL. He broke up a 3rd down pass over the middle. Edwards blitzed at least four times and got pressure on each one. He forced some bad throws. Edwards showed good range as a tackler, making several plays outside the numbers. And he tackled well. Really strong showing for him.

Kyzir White played well, but didn’t make any big plays. He was in on 5 tackles and I thought he also tackled well.

Haason Reddick is off to a quiet start. He was in on a couple of tackles and he broke up a screen pass, but he wasn’t all that disruptive as a pass rusher. He got beat by the backup TE in coverage for a gain of 17 and that set up their only TD. I have no problem with Gannon mixing up looks. Reddick just needs to be more aware when covering. He was locked in on the QB and lost the TE.

Patrick Johnson got some snaps. He had a couple of good rushes. I think he was at fault on the TD pass. Johnson engaged the TE and then let him to go the flat while he went after the QB. Easy TD. I could be wrong on that. So hard to know without the playbook.

SAF

Marcus Epps was in on 6 tackles but didn’t make any big plays. He had a big hit on the TE over the middle. Clean, tough hit.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was in on 5 tackles. Both he and Epps helped to limit the Vikings to underneath throws. They also helped shut down Jefferson.

CB

Big Play Slay was the star of stars on defense. He picked off 2 passes. He was credited with 5 PDs. By my count, he could have had 4 or 5 INTs. Cousins just kept throwing the ball in his direction. Slay was aggressive vs Jefferson and shut him down when they went head to head. Sometimes Slay got help, sometimes he was on his own. There was one negative. Slay bit on an underneath receiver and left a TE wide open for a long TD. Thankfully the TE dropped the ball. Slay should have played deep first. He got lucky.

James Bradberry had a TFL on the opening 3rd down to kill a drive. He covered well most of the night. Tackling remains an issue. He missed on a couple of them. You can’t have a starter missing as badly as he does.

Avonte Maddox had an outstanding game. He was in on 8 tackles and had a beautiful INT.

Beyond that pick, Avonte covered well. He was good in man or zone. He made life tough for Cousins. Avonte played with a lot of energy and performed at a high level. Really good game from him.

Zech McPhearson played late. He just missed getting his first NFL pick. He got his hands on the ball, but couldn’t get it under control before going out of bounds.

ST

The lone weak spot. MIN blocked a FG and returned it deep. Patrick Peterson came close on one attempt. They moved him to the other side and he blew by Noah Togiai for the block. Ugh.

The Vikings got good pressure on two punts. That could have been huge.

The Vikings kicked the ball short, which shows they don’t think much of the Eagles blocking on KOs. They were able to pin the Eagles deep each time.

The highlight of the game was Arryn Siposs chasing down the Viking after the blocked FG. Great effort, great tackle. Saved a TD.

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The Day After – Good Answers

Posted: September 20th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 17 Comments »

Going into Monday night’s game with the Vikings, there were serious questions for the Eagles to answer. The spotlight was on Jalen Hurts and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Could Hurts beat a good team? Could Gannon shut down a good offense? Neither happened in 2021. This was the first chance of 2022 and we wanted answers.

Let me clarify that. We wanted good answers.

Hurts and Gannon delivered in a big way.

Hurts came out smoking. He completed his first 11 passes and helped the Eagles build a 24-7 lead at halftime. Hurts threw one TD and ran for the other two. He made play after play. But this wasn’t Hurts doing crazy things that will be remembered for years. There was no 88-yard pass to DeSean. Hurts didn’t bounce off Carl Banks and then throw a TD. There wasn’t a 14-second scramble before a bomb to Freddie Mitchell.

The beauty of Hurts performance is that he did things that he can do next week, next month or next year. He showed good pocket presence. He made smart reads. He made accurate throws. Hurts wide receivers had 232 yards last night. WRs never came close to that much in a single game last year. Hurts has good weapons this year and is taking advantage of them.

He didn’t ignore his RBs and TEs. They also were part of the passing game and delivered some big plays. Hurts isn’t locking in on one position or player. He’s not just living off play-action. he’s sitting in the pocket and making good reads. That’s a huge jump from last year.

Hurts also ran the ball well. He was 11-57-2 on the ground and those were impressive TDs. He used a combination of speed, quick feet and power to get into the end zone. Hurts isn’t just a QB who can run a little. That’s Carson Wentz or Rodney Peete or Mark Sanchez. Hurts is a weapon when he runs. The coaches know that and build runs into the gameplan. That makes life tougher for the defense and makes the offense that much more dynamic. Right now the Eagles lead the NFL in total yards. Hurts is a huge part of that.

This was the best game of Hurts career. That doesn’t mean he’s suddenly the Eagles long term answer and an elite star. Hurts showed what he can do in a big game. The challenge now is to do it again. And again. That’s how you go from the middle of the pack (like a Kirk Cousins) to star status (Mahomes, Allen, etc.).

***

Jonathan Gannon shut down the likes of Tyler Heinicke, Jake Fromm, Trevor Siemian and Sam Darnold last year. That’s not why he was hired. Those are the kind of QBs you should shut down if you have functional players.

Gannon had no answers when his guys went up against Mahomes, Brady, Prescott, Herbert and Derek Carr. Those are good QBs. No one expects the Eagles to have answers for all of them, but the Eagles didn’t have answers for any of them.

Cousins may not be an elite player, but he can fill a stat sheet when he’s on. Last year he completed 66 percent of his passes, threw 33 TDs and had a passer rating of 103.1. He’s exactly the kind of QB who would have lit up the 2021 Eagles.

Thankfully, this is 2022.

Gannon has better players this time around and he used them well on Monday night. The Eagles played more man coverage. They blitzed. They were situational with their fronts and personnel. We didn’t see much of this against the Lions. Maybe Gannon was saving it for someone he considered to be a tougher opponent. Maybe having game tape to study led to him changing plans. Whatever the reason, the results were outstanding.

Cousins finished the game with a rating of 51.1, his lowest figure in two years. The Vikings only had 264 yards of offense and scored just 7 points. Minnesota got the ball at the Eagles 30-yard line and the Eagles 9-yard line and failed to score both times. They were just 1 for 4 in the red zone.

One game doesn’t suddenly turn Gannon into Buddy Ryan, Jim Johnson or Bud Carson. It was good to see Gannon open up and take chances. I think his more aggressive style brough out the best in his players. He challenged them and they came through. It will be interesting to see what Gannon does going forward. Don’t expect this to be the new norm, but he did show he can change things up.

***

Beyond Hurts and Slay, there were two players who stood out to me.

Dallas Goedert is not a normal TE. He is a real weapon after the catch. Most TEs are built to move the chains. Goedert is more of a playmaker. He caught 5 passes and led the Eagles with 82 receiving yards vs the Vikings. He had plays of 24, 19 and 18 yards. Goedert is averaging 17.8 yards per reception on the season. Most TEs are down around 12 ypc. Also critical, Goedert is a terrific blocker. He was the key guy on Hurts long TD run. Goedert can help in pass pro. He is a good in-line blocker or out in space on run plays.

TJ Edwards had an excellent game. He led the Eagles with 10 tackles, had a TFL, a QB hit and broke up a pass. Edwards wasn’t just piling up numbers. He flew around the field and tackled well. The Vikings didn’t have many catches turn into big plays. Their run game never got going. Edwards was disruptive as a blitzer.

Edwards PBU came on 3rd down and ended a drive. He was an impact player last night. I didn’t like his performance in the opener. Others felt he played well. His game on MNF is not up for dispute. That was outstanding LB play.

Edwards and Kyzir White give the Eagles a pair of talented LBs in the middle of the defense. No offense to Alex Singleton and Eric Wilson, but this duo is a slight upgrade. And by slight…I mean grand canyon-sized.

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Eagles Dominate on MNF

Posted: September 20th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Week 2 is way too early to really know what is going on in a given season, but the Eagles sure sent an notable message to the rest of the NFL by dominating the Vikings 24-7. The guys in green were dominant on offense and defense. They piled up almost 500 yards of offense and made Justin Jefferson a non-factor for the Vikings. Rough day for the Skol crowd.

Jalen Hurts played the best game of his young career. He was 26-31-333 through the air and got his first TD pass of the year. He was 11-57 on the ground and ran for a pair of TDs. Minnesota played soft coverage almost all game long and Hurts sliced and diced them. He spread the ball around. Four of his receivers had at least 69 yards. Eight different Eagles caught passes.

And things weren’t exactly easy. The Eagles had poor field position all night long. They only had two drive start beyond the 20, with their own 25-yard line being the best starting point. Penalties were an issue so Hurts had to deal with some tough down-and-distance situations. He just dropped back and got the ball to his guys.

It was great to see DeVonta Smith come alive, going 7-80. There won’t be any questions about why someone didn’t get the ball this week.

The Eagles ran for 163 yards. Miles Sanders led the way (17-80). The run game wasn’t dominant, but part of that is because the passing game was so effective.

The OL played well. You don’t rack up those yards without good protection. There are some penalties to work on, but the OL kept the Vikings pass rushers under control most of the game. That allowed Hurts to sit in the pocket and get the ball out.

As for the Eagles defense…what a difference a week makes. They were aggressive and smart and made plays. The Eagles had some extra bounce in their step. They heard the criticism this past week and knew they had to play better. Give credit to Jonathan Gannon for putting together a good gameplan and his players for making it come to life.

Darius Slay had an insane game. He picked off 2 passes. He was credited with 4 PDs. My notes show that he had a chance for 5 other INTs. I can’t remember ever seeing something like that. Slay covered well, but you also have to credit the pass rushers. They bothered Kirk “Don’t call me Kurt” Cousins all game long. Slay shut down Jefferson when they were matched up. Great game by Big Play Slay.

The Eagles defense had 2 sacks, 4 TFLs, 3 INTs and 11 PDs. They were credited with 7 QB hits. Gannon let his guys blitz more and they really got to Cousins. There were multiple plays where he just threw the ball up for grabs to avoid being sacked. Really bad game for him.

Avonte Maddox came up with his first INT of the season. It was a leaping grab. Really impressive pick. The defense tackled much better than last week and generally played better. They held the Vikings to 264 yards. Minnesota was only 4 of 12 on third downs and only 1 of 4 in the red zone.

Just a terrific showing by the Eagles.

It wasn’t perfect, of course. The Vikings were able to block a FG. That has to be cleaned up. Amazingly, Arryn Siposs chased down the Viking who had the ball and kept him from scoring. A couple of plays later, Maddox got his pick.

The Eagles KOR unit struggled. Blocking has to improve. Quez Watkins doesn’t have any room to run.

The offense failed to score in the second half. They did have one long drive, but that led to the blocked FG.

The Eagles had problems with penalties, again. They were 8-60 this week. That has to be cleaned up.

After two weeks, the Eagles are 2-0 and have wins over good/solid teams. The Lions beat Washington on Sunday and were in control all game long. The Vikings played really well in the opener.

https://twitter.com/ericeager_/status/1572074654021582850

The Eagles are the most impressive NFC team to this point. That doesn’t mean anything obviously, but it beats being 2-5 and trying to figure out how to save the season. Nick Sirianni has his guys playing good football this fall and that could lead to a really exciting season.

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Gameday – MIN at PHI

Posted: September 19th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Kickoff for the Eagles home opener is about an hour away. No big updates today, but we do have some personnel news.

And

Covey will be the PR. He was solid last week. It would be wild if he had a better night as a returner than Jalen Reagor.

Togiai will be the #3 TE.

Tarron Jackson will be active and replaces Derek Barnett as the #3 DE. It will be interesting to see how he does. The coaches love Barnett, but he was quiet last week. Jackson has a big opportunity to show what he can do over the rest of the season.

This will be the home debut for some key guys (AJ Brown, Haason Reddick, Kyzir White, etc.). It will be interesting to see if they are extra pumped early in the game. If that happens, it can be good or bad. You love guys having an extra bounce in their step, but you don’t want them to play out of control.

This is a big game for Week 2. The result won’t have definitive meaning, but it will give us some real hints about this team.

If the Eagles are going to win, the D-line has to make their presence felt. Sacks. Hits. Hurries. They need to make Kirk Cousins uncomfortable.

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Game Preview – MIN at PHI

Posted: September 19th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Minnesota Vikings went 8-9 last year, costing coach Mike Zimmer his job. Offensive guru Kevin O’Connell is now running the show and got the team off to a really impressive start, beating the Packers 23-7 in the opener. One game is just one game, but that was a heck of a performance.

Are the Vikings a contender this year?

If the team plays like they did last week, heck yes. We just don’t know if that will happen. There is a lot of talent in Minnesota and all the reason in the world to be optimistic, but we’ve been fooled by early season success before. It happens every year.

The Vikings underachieved in recent years. Zimmer had been a fantastic head coach and defensive guru, but he started to struggle as the game evolved. Football is different now than in 2002, 2012 and even 2017. O’Connell was hired to fix an offense that only finished inside the Top 10 in scoring once in the past 12 years. They’ve had plenty of talent, but it wasn’t being used right.

O’Connell comes from the Mike Shanahan-Sean McVay tree. He should help the Vikings be more consistent and more creative on offense. With a good QB in Kirk Cousins, an outstanding pair of receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and a stud RB in Dalvin Cook, there is no reason for the Vikings to have five games of 19 or fewer points as they did last season.

The defense is now being run by Ed Donatell. He worked under Vic Fangio in Denver the past couple of years so his scheme will look similar to what the Eagles do. The Vikings went from being historically good in 2017 to bad the past couple of seasons. Donatell was hired to get this group back to being able to shut down opponents, which they did in the opener. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers only scored one TD and didn’t look good.

Tonight’s game will be an interesting test for both the Vikings and Eagles. The Vikings beat a good team last week. They want to prove that wasn’t an anomaly. The Eagles haven’t beaten a good team since 2020. They want to show they can win a game like this.

This game is a huge test for Jonathan Gannon. His defense was shredded by good QBs throughout the 2021 season. The Lions then scored 35 points last week. Gannon needs to show that his defense can play well, even reasonably well, against a good offense. If the Eagles continue to struggle, Gannon will have some tough questions to answer. He’s been given good players to work with. It is up to Gannon to get the most out of them.

It’s just Week 2, but this has the feel of a big game.

OFFENSE

Jalen Hurts played well in the opener. That said, he’s got plenty to work on. The goal tonight is for the passing game to be better. I’m sure getting the ball to DeVonta Smith will be a priority since he didn’t have a catch last week.

The Lions were aggressive with blitzing. The Vikings should be different. They’ll rely more on stud pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter to pressure the
QB. They will use creative fronts and disguises. Hurts and the Eagles OL need to be smart in identifying what is going on. The Eagles always talk about building on the OL and how important it is. This is a game where you’ll see  that. If Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson can control the rushers, the passing game should be able to make some plays.

Minnesota doesn’t have a great secondary. The advantage should go to AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Hurts will need to be careful working the middle of the field. LBs Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks are both good in coverage and can make plays.

The Eagles should be able to run the ball. The Packers ran for 111 yards last week against Minnesota and the Eagles have a better run game. Another big game from Miles Sanders would be a big help.

DEFENSE

Cousins was only sacked once in the opener, but the Packers were credited with 8 QB hits. They did get some pressure on him. The Eagles will need to get more hits than they did last week. This isn’t just about sacks. They need to affect Cousins, who is a pocket passer. The DL was very up and down in the Lions game. Only Milton Williams seemed to play a complete game. Hopefully some of that was just rust. Tonight will be a good chance to prove their value.

Keeping control of RB Dalvin Cook won’t be easy. He’s got explosive ability, but is also tough to tackle. The Eagles got a rude awakening from D’Andre Swift last week. They missed a ton of tackles. If they aren’t better vs Cook, it will be another long game. I’m really curious to see if James Bradberry is much better this week. His run defense was embarrassinigly bad last week.

Obviously the biggest challenge for the defense will be dealing with WR Justin Jefferson. The Eagles don’t play a lot of man coverage so they’ll have to do a good job of seeing where he lines up and making sure the DBs in that area are ready on a play-by-play basis. Jefferson moves around a lot. The Vikings don’t want to make it easy on teams to bracket him or plan defensively. There will need to be good communication and pre-snap attention. The goal isn’t to shut him down so much as to limit what he does.

One advantage for Gannon and his defense this week is that they have tape to study. They can review their own performance and see where mistakes were made and why they were made. That will help them to find solutions. Gannon also has a game of Vikings tape to study. He’ll have a better feel for what they want to do than he did going into the Lions game.

STs

Neither team had anything too crazy happen on STs last week. Jalen Reagor is the punt returner for the Vikings now and it will be interesting to see how that goes. He sees this as a revenge game. That could help him make a big play…or a big mistake.

MISC

Situational football was an issue for the Eagles last week. The Eagles struggled with 3rd down defense in the second half. They struggled with red zone defense all game long. Those are critical areas that must improve.

Penalties were another problem. The Eagles had 10 of them. Some of that can be excused due to opening game sloppiness, but those mistakes must be fixed. Several of the penalties were costly.

Crowd noise was a problem last week. This is the home opener so the Eagles won’t have that issue. I will be watching to see if they get plays called in a more timely fashion. The offense was up against the play clock for a lot of the game in Detroit. That can’t happen again.

Minnesota was 3-6 on the road last year. Playing in Philly in a wild atmosphere will be a good test for them. Will crowd noise affect their offense?

The Vikings offense struggled on 3rd downs (4 of 13) and in the red zone (1 of 3). Their defense played well in both areas, limiting Green Bay to 3 of 9 on 3rd downs and 1 of 3 in the red zone.

There is also this nugget.

Cousins won his last two MNF games, but both were against bad Bears teams. This is a stat that is worth noting, but also might not be too relevant with coaching changes, scheme changes, experience, etc.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Vikings were the more impressive team in Week 1, but the Eagles might benefit from playing in the tougher game. They were put into tough situations and responded well enough to come away with a good win on the road.

It is so early that it is tough to have a good feel for how things are likely to play out in a game like this. But the more I think about it, the better I feel about the Eagles chances. They can’t lose to good QBs forever. I’m guessing the defense fixes some issues from the opener and the offense plays well enough to out-score the Vikings.

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