Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles and their Week 15 matchup against the Vikings. Plus a what-if scenario to ponder about the 2013 draft.
ESPN.com’s John Clayton notes that the Birds could open up a two-game lead in the NFC East if things fall their way Sunday:
The Eagles seized control of the NFC East last week with their snowy victory over Detroit combined with the Cowboys’ loss in Chicago. They could open a bigger lead if the chips fall in the right place. As much as everyone is talking about Chip Kelly’s offense and how Foles has been able to avoid making turnovers, the less-discussed story has been Philly’s improved defense. Over their past nine games, the Eagles have allowed 18.1 points a game after surrendering 34.5 during the first four.
Steve Muench of ESPN.com re-drafts the top-five from last April. He thinks that if the teams were selecting again now Lane Johnson would have gone first overall. He gives the Eagles safety Kenny Vaccaro at No. 4:
What if the Eagles don’t take a tackle because Fisher and Johnson are off the board and they know that Joeckel will get hurt? Richardson would be in play, but New Orleans free safety Kenny Vaccaro would be an interesting option considering they need help at safety and he’s another rookie playing a high level.
Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com previews Eagles-Vikings:
Quietly, the Eagles have put together a very solid defense—one that’s becoming increasingly more adept at blitzing. The Vikings’ problems with blitz pickup have gradually been ironing out, but the amoeba looks with Trent Cole and Connor Barwin standing up behind explosive down-linemen Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham will be a real challenge. If the Vikings can protect Matt Cassel, they’ll have a chance. Cassel is very average in almost all facets. But unlike Christian Ponder, he reads the entire field and is more willing to attempt anticipation throws. This has galvanized the receivers.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles in a 30-27 victory:
The Eagles are riding high on offense and sit atop the NFC East. And they get a Minnesota defense that isn’t very good. But I think the Vikings will show up here and play the Eagles tough, even if they don’t have Adrian Peterson. It’s tight.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles, 30-22:
Jared Allen gets a safety while Blair Walsh hits from 55 and 58 yards out — and the Vikings still fall. There was so much promise after Minnesota enjoyed two consecutive weeks of not losing, including a close victory over Chicago in Week 13. Then came Baltimore. Ugh. Now Adrian Peterson is hurt. Frankly, we don’t feel the Vikes have the horses to keep up with the Eagles. We’re thinking LeSean McCoy, who just went off for 217 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the snow, has another monster game — but more of the “75 yards rushing, 70 yards receiving” variety. Nick Foles will take some shots at the Minnesota secondary, which hasn’t played as poorly as advertised but can still relinquish big plays. (Alshon Jeffery is on record as being a fan.) Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson keeps this game close with another kick return to the house. Mark it down.
Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com predicts a 34-17 win for the Eagles:
Josh Freeman’s not expected to take any snaps on Sunday. He’s being paid $2 million by the Vikings this year, and he’s played in one game for the team. Someday, they’ll make a documentary on his 2013 season called “The Best Gig Ever.” As for Philadelphia, the Eagles are rolling. This one won’t be easy in the Metrodome, but I can’t see Minnesota’s D stopping Chippah’s offense.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles, 27-20:
The three-win Vikings have three opportunities to play spoiler. Spoiling the next-to-last game at the Metrodome will be an Eagles team that has won five in a row and is 5-1 on the road.