The Eagles (1-0) will host the Vikings (0-1) in the 2023 home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday Night Football.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (1-0)
It’s hard not to have concerns about the Eagles after the opener. What’s the back seven going to look like with all the injuries and lack of depth? Will Brian Johnson find a way to get Jalen Hurts into a rhythm? Can Hurts handle the constant blitzes he’ll see? Can the Eagles’ move the ball consistently against a Vikings defense that allowed only 242 yards in its season-opening loss to the Buccaneers? Can the Eagles generate more consistent pressure Thursday night on Kirk Cousins than they did Sunday on Mac Jones? Can the Eagles hold up physically on a short week? Can special teams go a week without a major breakdown? A lot of concerns, a lot of questions. But the bottom line is that despite the injuries and question marks, the Eagles are just a better team than the Vikings, and I’m confident they’ll shake off their rust and play much better Thursday than they did in the opener.
Eagles 33, Vikings 23
Dave Zangaro (1-0)
The Eagles didn’t suffer any season-ending injuries in Week 1 but they certainly got banged up. Nakobe Dean is on IR and they’ll also be without James Bradberry, Reed Blankenship and Kenny Gainwell in this game. Missing four starters isn’t ideal and those three on defense will hurt. The Vikings have a pretty good passing attack with Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and more. But Kirk Cousins never seems to perform all that well in primetime and he’s missing his center. This Vikings’ offensive line isn’t great and the Eagles’ defensive tackle rotation has a chance to disrupt this game from the first snap. If they don’t, then things could get a little dicey with the Eagles’ patchwork defense at a couple positions. But my guess is the pass rush does get home and makes things pretty difficult for Cousins.
And on offense, the Eagles looked out of rhythm in Week 1. Don’t think that’s going to happen in Week 2, even without Gainwell. D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny should be able to shoulder the load at the running back position and I don’t think the Vikings have the personnel to make it as tough a game as we saw against the Patriots. The Eagles again have a decided advantage with their receivers and I would guess we’ll see an early pass or two to Dallas Goedert after his goose-egg game on Sunday. This could be a glimpse of the offense we all expect to see in 2023.
Eagles 31, Vikings 24
Barrett Brooks (1-0)
The Viking are better than fans are giving them credit for. Offensively, there is a lot of talent on the field. For instance, TE T.J. Hockenson will take advantage of the injuries in the middle of the defense. Reed Blankenship and Nakobe Dean are out and there will be a lot of routes in the middle of the field. Slants, drag routes and deep in routes by the hashes will be a staple in their offense. Standout Justin Jefferson will be a handful, especially since James Bradberry is out for the game.
Offensively, the Birds need Jalen Hurts to continue his constant progression of getting better every opportunity he gets on the field. I understand that coaching also has to continue to get better and cater to the strengths of the talent on the team. I do think that the run game will be a major contributing factor in this game. Rashad Penny keeps the chains moving for a 100-yard rushing game!
Eagles 32, Vikings 24
Mike Mulhern (1-0)
Playing against a high-powered offense minus three defense starters seems less than ideal. But with a short week, the Eagles don’t have much choice but to hope they can piece-meal together a back seven with the likes of Christian Elliss, Josh Jobe, and Terrell Edmunds/Sydney Brown. A season ago, Darius Slay shut down Justin Jefferson, but expect the Vikings to move him all around the formation to get their All-Pro away from “Big Play.” Jefferson needs just 25 more receiving yards to become the fastest player in NFL history surpass 5,000 yards. He might do that by the end of the first drive. The Vikings have also tried to primetime-proof Kirk Cousins since their last meeting with the Birds by upgrading the pass catching corps with T.J. Hockenson and rookie Jordan Addison. They’re legit weapons that might feast if the Eagles focus too much attention on Jefferson.
That said, it’s going to come down to the Eagles offense carrying them in a shootout. Jalen Hurts had his coming out party back in that same Vikings matchup in 2022 and should have another monster night.
I’m sure new defensive coordinator Brian Flores will attempt to replicate the blueprint that the Patriots used to fluster Hurts. But unlike his mentor Bill Belichick, Flores only had four days to fully implement his gameplan. Plus, he doesn’t have the same horses on defense that the Patriots do. The Vikings will be desperate coming off a season-opening loss, but pulling off the upset will prove too tough.
Eagles 34, Vikings 30