Analysis: The Eagles can beat the Vikings, but they'll have to earn it

Dave Uram
October 11, 2019 - 9:55 am
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) scrambles away from Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson (96) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.

Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What's it going to take for the Eagles to beat the Vikings on Sunday? Ray Didinger of 94WIP Sports Radio and NBC Sports Philadelphia, and the Voice of the Eagles, Merrill Reese, gave us their answers Friday morning.

Didinger says the Eagles-Vikings match-up "is a real big game for both of these teams," and he has a prediction fans will enjoy. 

"I'm going to go with the Eagles 23-21," he said.

"This week I kind of almost hour-to-hour changed my mind on this. But I'm going to go with the Eagles in this game, and largely because I do think their run defense is good, and I do think they kind of control -- not shut down, but control -- Dalvin Cook and not let him dominate the game," Didinger said. "And I've seen Kirk Cousins be up and down so much in his career that I don't neccesarily trust him in a big game, and this is a big game -- even though it's on the road, and Minnesota is really good at home, I'm going to stay with the Eagles in a close game."

"The big (matchup) -- and I do think it's that one that's going to decide this game -- is going to be (the Eagles run defense versus the Vikings run offense). The Vikings are going to come in -- no secrets, no disguises, no trickery. They're going to be very fundamental and very basic on offense. They're going to come in with one game plan, and that's 'We're going to run the ball.'

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"They don't care week to week if they're playing against the No. 1 ranked rush defense or the No. 32 ranked rush defense. They're going to come out and they're going to play their game. It's up to that other team to stop them.

"(The Eagles offense) has to execute almost perfectly. The Vikings aren't going to help you out. You're going to have to earn everything you get there, so it means you're going to have to play smart. You're going to have to run the football. And when receivers have an opportunity to make a catch, they have to make the catch. Sounds simple, but it's hard to do, especially when you're playing quality opponents."

Reese agrees about slowing down Vikings running back Cook.

"Cook has already scored five touchdowns. He averages just under 6 yards per carry. The former Florida State star also has 21 receptions for 200 yards," Reese said.

He has two other points of advice for the Eagles if they want to beat Minnesota. 

"Protect Carson Wentz," he said. "The Vikings already have 15 sacks. Carson must get rid of the ball quickly. The running game and quick slants may be the way to go.

An finally, he said, "maintain your poise. The noise in that dome will be ear piercing," he said, referring to the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. "The Eagles have worked on the silent count. Execute it with perfection.

"It's a tough game. There's no doubt about it. These are two very good football teams. Minnesota has the home field, and that dome is going to be rocking. But I believe that this is a game that's probably going to go down to very, very late in the fourth quarter."