Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
Mall of America Field – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sunday, December 15, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Philadelphia -3 1/2 (-120)
Current Line: Philadelphia -4 1/2
Opening Total: 50 1/2
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Eagles -200 / Vikings +170
Current Money Line: Eagles -220 / Vikings +180
The 8-5 Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC East by a game over the Dallas Cowboys. Philadelphia would currently be the #3 seed in the NFC and host the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card playoffs. The Eagles travel to the 3-9-1 Minnesota Vikings Sunday. Minnesota is last in the NFC North. Since 2009, Philadelphia leads the series against Minnesota 5-1. The Vikings won the last meeting 24-14 in 2010 in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is coached by Chip Kelly. The Eagles have road wins at the Washington Redskins 33-27, New York Giants 36-21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20 Oakland Raiders 49-20 and at the Green Bay Packers 27-13. Philadelphia has home wins over the Redskins 24-16, Arizona Cardinals 24-21 and last week against the Detroit Lions 34-20. The Eagles have won five straight games. Philadelphia has home losses to the San Diego Chargers 33-30, the Kansas City Chiefs 26-16, Dallas Cowboys 17-3, and against the New York Giants 15-7, along with a road loss at the Denver Broncos 52-20. Philadelphia is 7-6 ATS and the total is 7-6 this season. The Eagles were 2.5 point favorites against the Lions and the total was 51.
The Detroit-Philadelphia game was played in a somewhat unexpected blizzard. The weather forecast called for snow by the second half, but it came earlier and in much heavier volume than predicted. Detroit running back Reggie Bush slipped during pregame warm-ups and re-aggravated the quad injury that had him listed as questionable going into the game. The field was so loaded with snow that the two kickers only attempted one extra point and no field goals. Lions’ kicker David Akers had his one extra point attempt blocked. It was the first game in the NFL to have no scoring by a kicker (either on a field goal or extra point) since 1957.
Detroit scored the only 8 points in the first half on a two yard touchdown run, and converted for two. The Lions expanded the lead to 14-0 midway through the third on a 58 yard punt return, but missed the 2 point conversion. The Eagles would pull to within 14-6 by the end of the third, but also missed the two point conversion. Philadelphia tied it up early in the fourth at 14. The Lions would run back the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked making the score 20-14 Detroit. The Eagles would close the game on a 20-0 run to win 34-20. Detroit had 228 total yards including 148 passing yards. Philadelphia had 478 total yards including 299 rushing yards. The Lions had three turnovers and the Eagles had one. Detroit had 9 penalties for 48 yards.
Philadelphia is outscoring teams 26-23 this season. The Eagles are #10 in scoring and #13 in points allowed in the NFL. Philadelphia is averaging 409.4 yards per game on offense including 250.5 passing and 158.8 rushing yards. The Eagles are #3 in total offense, #1 in rushing and #13 in passing. On defense, Philadelphia is allowing 398.1 yards per game including 285.3 passing and 112.8 rushing yards. The Eagles are #30 in total defense and #31 against the pass. The run defense is #15 in the league. Philadelphia is +9 in turnovers. The Eagles are 72/188 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 82/208. Philadelphia has forced 29 sacks and allowed 35 this season. The Eagles have 2 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 6 this season. Philadelphia is averaging 57 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 64.
The Eagles have used three quarterbacks season, along with the Bills, Browns, Texans, Packers, Raiders and Vikings. Michael Vick started the season but has been replaced by Nick Foles. Matt Barkley has also taken some snaps. Vick is healthy after battling a quad injury but Foles will remain the starter for the rest of the year. Foles has completed 61.9% of his passes for 1,970 yards with 20 touchdowns and 1 pick, along with 168 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. He has been sacked 17 times this season. Vick has completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,215 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 34 carries for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 15 times this season. Barkley has thrown for 300 yards with 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 3 times this season.
Running back LeSean McCoy has 261 carries for 1,305 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 40 catches for 439 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Brown will also get some carries and catches. Chris Polk has 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver DeSean Jackson has 65 catches for 1,080 yards and 8 touchdowns. Riley Cooper has 37 catches, 714 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Brent Celek has 25 catches for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz has 26 catches for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jason Avant has 29 catches for 336 yards and a touchdown. Three defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Eagles.
Minnesota is coached by Leslie Frazier. The Vikings have wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in London, along with home wins over the Washington Redskins 34-27, and Chicago Bears 23-20 in overtime. Minnesota has a 26-26 overtime tie at the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings have road losses at the Lions 34-24, Bears 31-30, New York Giants 23-7, Dallas Cowboys 27-23, Seattle Seahawks 41-20, and last week at the Baltimore Ravens 29-26, along with home losses to the Cleveland Browns 31-27, Carolina Panthers 35-10, and the Packers 44-31. Minnesota is 7-6 ATS and the total is 10-3 this season. The Vikings were 6 point underdogs at the Ravens last week and the total was 41.5.
Minnesota and Baltimore also played in a snow storm last week. The snow wasn’t as heavy in Baltimore as it was in Philadelphia, but it was still pretty nasty. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson injured his foot in the second half of that game and is doubtful against Philadelphia. The Vikings took a 12-7 lead early in the fourth but missed a two point conversion.
The game looked like it would go way under the total, but the teams scored 36 points in the last 2:05 of the game. Baltimore took a 15-12 lead with 2:05 left, and converted for two. Minnesota scored on a 41 yard run with 1:27 left to make it 19-15. The Ravens ran back the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to make it 22-19. Minnesota scored with 45 seconds left on a 79 yard touchdown pass to make it 26-22. Baltimore scored the game winning touchdown with 4 seconds left on a 9 yard touchdown pass to make the final 29-26. Minnesota had 379 total yards including 265 passing yards. Baltimore had 325 total yards including 228 passing yards. The Vikings had 6 penalties for 90 yards and the Ravens had 5 for 45 yards. Minnesota had one turnover and Baltimore had three.
Minnesota is being outscored 30-24 this season. The Vikings are #31 in points allowed and #14 in scoring. Minnesota is averaging 346.1 total yards including 214.8 passing and 131.3 rushing yards. The Vikings are #14 in total offense, #22 in passing and #7 in rushing. On defense, Minnesota is allowing 401.8 yards per game including 283.1 passing and 118.8 rushing yards. The Vikings are #31 in total defense, #30 against the pass and #22 in rush defense. Minnesota is -7 in turnovers. The Vikings are 77/198 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/203. Minnesota has forced 30 sacks and allowed 34 this season. The Vikings have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 5 this season. Minnesota averages 47 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 62.
The Vikings have also used three quarterbacks this season. Christian Ponder started the season as the quarterback but then injured his ribs. Matt Cassel started a couple of games. Minnesota signed Josh Freeman after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released him. Freeman started against the Giants but was completely ineffective. He suffered a concussion in that game and hasn’t started since. Ponder started for a few more games but has missed some games with a concussion. He is questionable Sunday. Cassell has started the last two games. Ponder has completed 63.6% of his passes for 1,648 yards with 7 touchdowns and 9 interceptions along with 31 carries for 154 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ponder has been sacked 27 times this season. Cassel has completed 59.1% of his passes for 1,122 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions along with 17 rushing yards. He has been sacked 6 times. Freeman was 20/53 for 190 yards with a pick against the Giants in his only action for the Vikings. He did start 3 games for the Buccs before they released him.
Adrian Peterson has 268 carries for 1,221 yards and 10 touchdowns along with 28 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. Toby Gerhart has 36 carries for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 88 yards. He is also questionable with a hamstring injury. If neither Peterson or Gerhart can go Sunday, Matt Asiata would be the primary ball carrier, but he doesn’t have a rushing attempt this season.
Receiver Jerome Simpson has 43 catches for 670 yards and a touchdown. Greg Jennings has 48 catches for 570 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cordarrelle Patterson has 35 catches for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus two kick off returns for touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 30 catches for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns but is out for the season with a foot injury. Tight end John Carlson has 32 catches for 344 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a concussion. Jarius Wright has 19 catches for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns. Three defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Vikings.
Philadelphia is 4-0 ATS in road games, 7-1 in Week 15, 4-1 against teams with losing records, and overall, 7-3 after rushing for 150 yards or more, and 1-4 in December. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 in this series. The Eagles are 5-1 ATS in the last six against the Vikings.
Minnesota is 6-0 ATS in December, 5-1 overall, 4-1 against NFC teams, and on fieldturf, 3-12-1 in week 15, 1-5-1 after passing for 250 yards or more. Four of the last five games in this series have gone under the total.
Asiata has only 3 career carries for 9 yards. He could get a lot more Sunday against the Eagles if neither Peterson nor Gerhart can go. The Vikings were able to move the ball through the air last week after Peterson left against the Ravens. This should be a high scoring game with two suspect defenses. Philadelphia needs to win this game with tough games against the Bears and Cowboys left. The Eagles get the job done on the road.