Minneapolis, MN (WCCO)- The Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles meet in Minnesota this weekend in a matchup of NFC playoff contenders.
The game looks to be a matchup of strength on strength. The Vikings running game is one of the league’s best behind Dalvin Cook, while the Eagles defense is stuffing opponents on the ground so far this season, allowing 63 yards per game. The biggest area of advantage for the Vikings, it would seem, is in the passing game. The Eagles secondary has been ravaged by injuries this season and is still a few weeks away from returning to full strength.
The Vikings, with wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, seem uniquely suited to expose this weakness. However, their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, has a sketchy history when it comes to playing against teams above .500 in his career.
“Everybody is talking about Kirk Cousins and how he cannot play well against a quality team. 5-27 against winning teams in his career which is almost unfathomable,” said SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein. “I should note that they did beat the Raiders when they were not a winning team when they played, so that’s on the negative side for Minnesota.”
That record is… not ideal. Cousins’ struggles against good teams has been a career-long debate with the quarterback. On the plus side for the Vikings, according to Hartstein, head coach Mike Zimmer has a great track record when his teams are playing as the favorites against teams from outside the division, going “18-2-2 against the number.”
Another point in the Vikings favor heading into the game is Cousins’ record against the Eagles for his career.
“He is 5-3 in his career with a 66 percent completion percentage, a 102 passer rating, and 18 touchdowns versus five interceptions,” said Hartstein. “I think he is set up to have a really nice game at home.”
Calling this a “prove it” game for the Vikings, Hartstein is rolling with Minnesota and laying the three points (NFL odds have the Eagle as three-point underdogs). Kickoff between the Eagles and Vikings is set for 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.