Philadelphia Eagles down Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night

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In a weak NFC, the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles soundly defeated their Week 1 opponents. They linked up in Philadelphia for a primetime matchup final night time.

They had been the featured attraction for the primary ABC/ESPN Monday night time doubleheader of the 2022 season. The Eagles entered the season as one of many favorites to advance out of the NFC to the Tremendous Bowl after the enhancements that their entrance workplace made to the roster. Within the midwest, a wholesome Vikings squad is powerful sufficient to problem the weakened Inexperienced Bay Packers offense for the highest spot within the NFC North. The one downside for the Eagles and Vikings — their beginning quarterbacks are Jalen Hurts and Kirk Cousins, respectively.

The Eagles traded for A.J. Brown, including him to a large receiver corps that was already sturdy with Devonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Smith is barely in his second season, however he most actually has the expertise to turn out to be among the finest extensive receivers within the NFL. Brown is already in that group. The Eagles additionally added Hasson Reddick and James Bradberry to assist make the protection rock.

Well being on protection was one of many causes that the Vikings weren’t in a position to get into the playoffs final season. They misplaced go rusher Danielle Hunter in early November for the remainder of the season to a bodily damage and one other go rusher — Everson Griffen — to a frightening incident, and he has since admitted that he’s bipolar. Hunter is wholesome this yr, and the Vikings introduced in Za’Darius Smith from the Inexperienced Bay Packers to maintain a robust one-two pass-rushing punch. Their offense additionally nonetheless has Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook dinner, and Adam Thielen.

So two sturdy rosters, with two query marks at quarterback.

After two profitable franchise-tag seasons in Washington, Cousins signed a totally assured $84 million contract with the Vikings in 2018. Cousins was supposed to enhance upon the Minneapolis Miracle season during which the Vikings got here again to beat the New Orleans Saints within the Divisional Spherical, after which misplaced to the eventual Tremendous Bowl champion Eagles within the NFC Championship Sport.

Since that conference title game, neither team has sniffed the Super Bowl. Cousins made the playoffs once in 2019 and lost in the Divisional Round. The Eagles’ best regular-season record since their championship 2017 season has been 9-7. Last season was Hurts’ first as a full-time starter. He helped the Eagles sneak into the playoffs at 9-8, and they were rewarded with a trouncing, courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that game, the Eagles’ offense was completely ineffective.

On Monday night, the Eagles got a big home win against the Vikings and the best and worst of both quarterbacks were on display. Hurts scored on a spectacular touchdown run — the second of his two scores on the ground — and he also connected on some major downfield passing plays. Cousins threw three picks — something he hadn’t done since 2020 — and his final pick could have happened on several different plays during that drive. By the end of the game, it appeared that Cousins had lost any sense of where an NFL quarterback should put a football. And the Twittersphere had a laugh.

He began the second half with an interception in the end zone as the Vikings had a chance to score. The defense was able to hold steady the following possession, and the Vikings blocked an Eagles’ field-goal attempt. Then with great starting field position at the Eagles’ 30-yard line, Cousins threw another pick. His passer rating for the night? 51.1.

All of Cousins’ interceptions were in the second half, with the Vikings already down 17 points. After Sunday’s comebacks by the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, the Vikings knew that deficit was removed from insurmountable. Nevertheless, their quarterback couldn’t ship.

Once more although, that was Cousins’ worst sport in two seasons, and the Vikings nonetheless had a number of probabilities to get again within the sport. If Irv Smith, Jr. catches a wonderfully positioned rainbow from Cousins late within the second quarter, he scores a landing and the Vikings would have solely been down by seven.

Whereas Hurts had solely 5 incomplete passes all night time — a kind of being an interception — and threw for 333 yards and a landing, it wasn’t like he was threading needles with all his passes. On his finest performs, his go catchers had been extensive open — a far cry from the seems that he obtained in that playoff loss to the Buccaneers.

Additionally, the rating by no means modified within the second half. The Eagles had been fortunate that the gifted Vikings’ offense fell aside. That 24-7 lead would find yourself being the ultimate rating of the sport, because the Eagles gained greater than 35 yards on just one drive within the second half.

There shall be many opinions given after this main nationally televised contest — Monday Evening Soccer again on ABC — however nobody ought to change their thoughts on Cousins or Hurts.

They play the sport in a different way, however each have an effect on their groups in related methods. Cousins and Hurts are the weak spots on championship-level offenses, and it’ll present like a jelly stain on a white shirt as soon as crucial video games happen come winter.



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