Guess I can't go without one pick on a Monday night DH, although I'll be sleeping. Minnesota looked excellent in Week 1 but didn't actually defend the Green Bay ground game all that well, and that plays into Philly's hands. Also think Darius Slay can help neutralize Justin Jefferson. And then we have the whole Kirk Cousins can't win on Monday night except against the Bears scenario.
Just like last year when the Packers were blasted in Week 1 (Saints 38-3), I expect a regression to reality (New Orleans fell 26-7 on the road) in Week 2 for the Vikings. This Minnesota team is better than that New Orleans squad, but I have zero trust for Kirk Cousins in big games. The Eagles’ receivers should have a field day, and Jalen Hurts’ willingness to run is going to keep the Vikings defense on its toes all game. Philadelphia disappointed allowing Detroit back in the game last week, and Nick Sirianni likely stressed avoiding similar failures at home. Plus, Minnesota is on an 0-7 ATS streak as an underdog on Monday Night Football. This line is up to -3 (+100) in many places, and it's still worth a play at that number given the even odds and harmlessness of a push.
Early in the week when I submitted my Office Pool picks, I liked the Vikings. I was enamored with Kevin O'Connell's aggressive gameplan and believed the Vikings could win a shootout in a spot where all the pressure is on Philly. But after looking at this matchup further, I'm switching sides and betting the Eagles to cover less than a field goal. Philly's biggest strength -- rushing offense -- plays perfectly versus a Minnesota team that gave up 6.4 yards per carry last week on non-Aaron Rodgers rushes. Moreover, Vikings center Garrett Bradbury and guard Ed Ingram combined to give up nine pressures to the Packers. That number could be in the double digits tonight versus a ferocious Eagles front. With Kirk Cousins' well-known history of struggling in primetime games -- I don't expect a faceplant, just a little less efficiency than normal -- let's back the Eagles to cover.
Minnesota came to play in Week 1, with the Vikings defense giving up just one drive of more than 13 yards in the first half and stopping the Packers on the goal line on the one long drive. The Eagles defense also played pretty well in the first half of their win over Detroit, giving up two 75-yard TD drives and holding Detroit to zero net yards on their five other drives. Of course, the Eagles D fell apart in the second half, but I believe in the talent on that unit overall and think they'll be motivated to show that was a fluke. Throw in Kirk Cousins in primetime, where the Vikes are 9-6 to the Under since he joined the team, and the fact that the Under is 20-9-1 so far in 2022, and it feels like that's the percentage play to make on Monday night.
Locking this in before it potentially hits -3, but Philadelphia should have the edge in this matchup of NFC upstarts. Kirk Cousins has rarely played well in these spots and the Eagles' varied offense and home-field edge should be the difference.
The Vikings looked great against the Packers in Week 1, but what happens when they face a team that has some good receivers? On the road? In front of a rowdy Philly crowd in its home opener? With Kirk Cousins playing in primetime (career record: 8-17)? The line implies that these teams are even, but I think overall the Eagles are a bit more talented, and that edge will be magnified on 'MNF.' Lay the points.
Minnesota is in the middle of a division sandwich. The Vikings are coming off an emotional win and play another division game next week. The Eagles should be able to dominate the Vikings' undersized interior offensive line. Minnesota and QB Kirk Cousins haven't played great in primetime games. The Vikings also have a rookie head coach making his road debut. They are 0-4 ATS in their last four games after allowing fewer than 15 points. Light play on the home chalk.
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