Why are the Philadelphia Eagles so good at running the ball? Well, it may come down to committing. That’s what head coach Nick Sirianni did midway through his first season on the job. And it’s what got him some consideration for Coach of the Year. It also got the Eagles into the playoffs.
And BetOnline customers have to ponder how their philosophy will work against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. This is different than most Monday nights, as this is the second game that is being played. The Eagles-Vikings contest begins at 8:30 PM ET (at Lincoln Financial Field), while the Buffalo Bills host the Tennessee Titans at 7:15 PM ET.
There is optimism in Minnesota after the 23-7 win over the Green Bay Packers in the season opener. That’s because they put the clamps on Aaron Rodgers, who was having problems working with a new group of receivers, with Davante Adams and Marquez Valdez-Scantling having departed and Allen Lazard hurt. Kirk Cousins also played a mistake-free game, with 277 yards through the air, 184 of those going to Justin Jefferson, which will be a headache for the Philadelphia secondary.
The Eagles have some headaches of their own to deliver. That’s because they have what might be the best offensive line in the NFL, anchored by Pro Bowl performers Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. And Minnesota’s defensive front may still be a work in progress. They couldn’t stuff Green Bay at the line of scrimmage; in fact, they did so with less frequency (percentage-wise) than any other team in the league last week.
At BetOnline, the Eagles are laying points at home in the Monday Night Football betting odds:-
Philadelphia Eagles -2.5 (-114)
Minnesota Vikings +2.5 (-106)
Over 50 Points -110
Under 50 Points -110
There was no team in the NFL that ran the ball 50% of the time last season. But the Eagles come closest, at 49.9%. It didn’t start out that way. Sirianni, who had come to the job after being the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, decided that he couldn’t thrive with an offense that depended on Jalen Hurts dropping back and throwing. So he utilized the running talents of Hurts and the top-flight offensive line he had and decided to go run-heavy. In defeating Detroit last week, they called 54.2% rushing plays.
Maybe this game depends on how successful Minnesota is at snuffing out the run. It does not look like an encouraging picture. Teams with the better defensive lines have known what Philadelphia was going to do and failed to slow things down to any considerable extent. So how they’re going to keep the Eagles from doing what they want to do is anybody’s guess.
That may be the key fundamental to look at, although we allow for the possibility that there could be a success story for another assistant from the Mike Shanahan-Kyle Shanahan-Sean McVay coaching tree. Kevin O’Connell was the offensive coordinator for the Rams last season as they won the Super Bowl. And Jefferson, he’s got a receiver who has more explosiveness than either Cooper Kupp or Odell Beckham, who were in his offense last season.
But questions are going to linger about Kirk Cousins, who had come to Minnesota as the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. The story with him is that he can post nice numbers but can’t get Minnesota over the hump. His record in these kinds of games has not been stellar; he is 2-9 on Monday Night Football and 8-17 in prime-time games overall. This has affected NFL betting odds in the past.
All things considered, we’d look for the Philly ground game to work, with the Eagles prevailing.
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